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What Is a Swedish Massage?

a women getting massaged by another person on a massage table

If you’ve never had a massage before, all the different types of massage may seem overwhelming. A Swedish massage is a perfect introduction to making massage therapy part of your self-care routine. Gentle, relaxing, and setting you up for a great rest of your day, a Swedish massage is designed to both calm and invigorates.

What Is a Swedish massage and what can it do for you? Keep reading as we go through the basics. 

What Is Swedish Massage?

The Swedish massage was developed by a 19th-century Dutch physician named Johan Georg Mezger. At the heart of Swedish massage is relaxation with firm but gentle pressure to ease sore muscles. Swedish massage benefits include improved blood and lymph fluid circulation, released muscle tension, and decreased anxiety and stress.

There are five different techniques a massage therapist will apply in a Swedish Massage.

  • Petrissage- measured kneading and rolling motion to stimulate nerves and blood flow
  • Friction- used to release tension in joints
  • Effleurage- long, sweeping stroke designed to push blood and lymphatic fluid towards your core
  • Vibration- slow to medium rocking to release muscle tension and stimulate blood flow
  • Tapotement- brisk tapping with fingers or cupped hands to stimulate the nervous system

These massage therapy techniques are used throughout except tapotement, which comes at the very end to help you wake back up.

How to Prepare for Your Massage

Getting a massage is best done on your day off so you can follow it up with a rejuvenating facial or return home and relax. Because therapists will use either oil or a specialty lotion, massages may leave you too well-moisturized. You may want to shower after, so try to keep time open when scheduling.

Feeling sore after a massage is normal, but if you drink plenty of water before and after it decreases the chances of muscle soreness.

What to Expect

Once you’re taken back to the treatment room, your therapist will ask you a few questions about if and where you might have any tension or problems. Be sure to let them know any health issues you might have, as massage can exacerbate certain conditions such as fever, inflammation, high blood pressure, skins conditions, or blood clots.

After your therapist has taken notes on the session, he or she will slip out to let you undress and get under the linens on the treatment table.

Undress your level of comfort. This can be completely naked if you like, just underwear, underwear and bra, or fully clothed (your therapist is ready for anything). Your therapist is an expert at fabric draping and tucking, so you don’t need to worry about being exposed.

After confirming you are ready, your therapist will return and begin the massage. Every massage therapist has a different routine for a Swedish massage. Most start at the head and then continue to the neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, and feet.

If you’re worried that your massage therapist will use too much pressure when working, speak up. It is not offensive or insulting to ask for less or more pressure. If you find you prefer firmer pressure, you can opt for a deep tissue massage next time.

Schedule That Massage!

Now that you know what a Swedish massage is all about, it’s time to get yours scheduled. If you live in Snowmass and want the best massage, contact us today. If it’s too much of a drive, google “best massage near me” to make sure you get the most relaxing experience.

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