Swedish massage is one of the most common types of massage practiced today in the complementary healthcare field. One of the primary goals of the Swedish massage is relaxation of the entire body, relieving muscular tension and stress. This is accomplished primarily through long , gliding strokes that move in the direction of the heart/blood flow, though the direction may be away from the heart or in a “cross friction” fashion depending on the therapist and goals desired for the massage. However, the Swedish technique does more than just relax the client. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is the part of our nervous system responsible for healing, digestion, and rejuvenation. Stimulation of this branch of our nervous system helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. It has been shown in multiple studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol as well as increase the number of white blood cells which are an important component of a healthy immune system. It is often referred to as the “Rest and Digest” system and is an integral component for our bodies ability to heal as well as manage the stresses of our daily life. A well functioning parasympathetic nervous system is paramount to good health.
The four most common strokes used in Swedish massage are:
- Effleurage: a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue and ease muscular tension.
- Petrissage: squeezing, rolling, or kneading of the soft tissue on the superficial layers of the tissue.
- Friction: deep, circular or side to side movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, helping to increase blood flow, break down scar tissue and adhesions and promote healing
- Tapotement: a short, alternating tap done with cupped hands, fingers, sides of the fist, or the edge of the hand. This may be fast or slow and anywhere from light to firm pressure. This encourages blood flow and also helps to break up adhesions. It often comes after the previous strokes to bring energy to the area.
Additional Swedish massage techniques may include some bending at joints and stretching of limbs. Swedish massage can be adjusted to the level of pressure you most prefer. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.
The benefits of a Swedish style massage are numerous and overall, it is a very pleasurable treatment. Bodhi Therapeutics offers a traditional Swedish massage as well as a Lotus Wei Aromatherapy Swedish Massage, utilizing organic, handcrafted flower essence oils and aromatherapy spritzes to help send you to your moment of Zen on a flower scented cloud.
Schedule today and start your ultimate relaxation!