What is its history?
Swedish massage was developed in the 18th century in Sweden by a medical gymnast by the name of Per Henrik Ling. He had always had an interest in Chinese martial arts and “Tuina” medical techniques which is a Chinese hands-on body treatment. He combined these features together with his sports medicine experience to create a type of medical gymnastic system. It helped to relieve sore muscles, increase flexibility and help with general health.
What is its purpose?
Swedish massage is the most common form of massage performed today. The main aim is to relax the entire body and improve circulation and blood flow to all your large muscle groups as well as helping to ease your everyday tensions. If you’ve never had a massage before it is a great one to start with.
How is it performed?
You will be placed on a flat massage table. Your massage therapist will normally ask you to lay on your front to start with. They will begin working on your back, then move to your shoulders and arms before continuing along your lower back and legs. You will then be asked to turn over and the process will be repeated on your upper shoulders, arms and the fronts of your legs.
There are five basic massage techniques that will be used: –
Effleurage – these are long gliding strokes using the palms of the hands, thumbs and fingertips. The amount of pressure used will depend on the therapist and their client. This stroke will help to stretch the muscles and help with relaxation
Petrissage – this is a kneading, squeezing, rolling and lifting movement. It is designed to increase circulation and relax muscles. Again, it is performed using the hands, thumbs and fingers.
Tapotement – this is the tapping of muscles using the side of your hand, fingers or palms. This is generally used in sports massage to release tension and stop cramping.
The other two techniques are vibration and friction. These are used to relax and soothe muscles and to release muscle notes. These are only generally applied for a short amount of time.
During the massage your therapist may play relaxing music, light candles and dim the lighting so that are able to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy the session.
relax the mind and body
What are the health benefits?
There are many health benefits to regular Swedish massage. The most common being to give overall relaxation to the body and a general sense of wellbeing. However, there are other health benefits such as: –
Pain Relief – Swedish massage can be used to help many forms of pain relief. Particularly for chronic pain and sports injuries as well as illnesses such as arthritis. It can help the sufferer cope better with the pain by improving circulation to the affected area as well as relaxing your whole body.
Depression and anxiety – massage therapy can greatly improve your immune system and in doing so it can decrease levels of depression and anxiety.
Physical challenges – massage can also help with many physical challenges such as digestive problems, reducing scar tissue and lower back pain.