Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for therapist. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing techniques that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken.
Most Swedish massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed. The therapist will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.
You and the therapist will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders.
Swedish Massage Varieties
There are numerous types of Swedish massage; Effleurage (Gliding), Petrissage (Kneading), Vibration, Tapotement (Percussion), Friction, Posture/Movement re-education, Application of pressure to specific points, and more. Ask the therapist about the methods he or she uses.
Swedish Massage Sessions
The average full-body Swedish massage or bodywork session lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session.
Make yourself comfortable. The therapist will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask the therapist questions about massage in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.
Swedish Massage Benefits
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.
Other Swedish massage benefits include:
- Reduces stress
- Enhances blood circulation
- Decreases pain
- Improves sleep
- Reduces swelling
- Enhances relaxation
- Reduced level of anxiety
- Increases oxygen capacity of the blood
- Increases Hyperemia (dilation of blood vessels)
- Reduces Ischemia (decrease blood supply to organ or tissue)
- Blood pressure temporarily decreased
- Decreases heart rate
- Decreases respirations
- Increase immune system