You may be surprised to learn that a Swedish massage is really just a standard full-body massage that doesn’t necessarily apply any fancy massage therapy techniques. However, although it’s a standard type of massage, it’s still a highly valuable massage that can help reduce stress, tension, and pain and increase overall health and well-being.
Read on to learn more about what type of massage a Swedish massage is, what it’s used for, and how it can greatly benefit you.
What is a Swedish full-body massage?
A Swedish massage is a classic, full-body therapeutic massage performed by a licensed massage therapist who uses different techniques with their hands to manipulate the body’s soft tissues. Its techniques are rooted in Western anatomy and physiology with benefits that range from reducing physical pain and discomfort to alleviating stress and anxiety.
The Swedish massage was invented in Sweden in the mid-eighteen hundreds by a Fencing instructor who reportedly used specific massage techniques to cure his elbow injury and is still a highly popular massage offered in massage therapy offices around the world today. In fact, it now sets the standards for Western massage therapy and is the most common type of massage performed.
There are multiple techniques a licensed massage therapist will use in combination while performing a Swedish massage, including effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration. Each technique serves a different purpose and your masseuse will decide which techniques to use, when, and where based on your individual needs.
Receiving a Swedish body massage is like experiencing a whole body reset. Your massage therapist will massage your entire body – arms, hands, neck, shoulders, back, legs, feet, chest, and even head. And if you’re feeling extra tension anywhere, they will pay special attention to those areas, applying more or less pressure where needed to work out any knots (adhesions) in the muscles.
Come to King Spa today and experience truly relaxing Swedish massage therapy in a state-of-the-art Korean spa facility.
What happens during a Swedish massage session?
A Swedish massage is a full-body classic massage that typically lasts 60-90 minutes. During your massage session, your massage therapist will use their hands to target both your superficial and deep layers of muscles and soft tissue, while also manipulating your joints to release any tension stored in the body.
During a Swedish massage, your masseuse will first leave the room and you’ll be asked to remove your clothing (except for your underwear) and lay down on the massage table under the sheet with your face down. Your masseuse will enter the room when you are ready and comfortable and may begin by asking if you have any areas you’d like them to focus on, how much pressure you’d like, and if you’d like them to know anything else before beginning. This time is your opportunity to let your massage therapist know what areas are bothering you, if you have any injuries they should be aware of, and to ask any questions you might have.
Then the massage begins! You can fully rest while your masseuse gets to work on removing any tension from your body. It’s typical for a Swedish massage to include the use of warm oils to make the massage even more relaxing, and for the masseuse to be able to work more efficiently on your skin. It’s also possible that your masseuse will use different essential oils, known as aromatherapy which will make you feel even more relaxed.
You will notice that your masseuse uses different techniques throughout the massage. They may use long, deep strokes at some points, kneading at other times, and even tapping and squeezing. Every technique serves its own purpose but they work in combination to produce a complete healing experience.
Halfway through the massage, you will be asked to turn over onto your back so your massage therapist can target the front side of your arms and legs, your chest, and your face.
Once the massage is complete, your masseuse will let you know that the massage is complete and they will leave the room so you can rest for a few minutes and get dressed privately.
It’s a good idea to get plenty of water after your massage to assist with the detoxing that occurs as a result of stimulating the lymphatic system.
At King Spa, you can receive a Swedish massage and then continue the relaxing experience by visiting a sauna or soaking in the hot tubs or pools. We also have plenty of options to keep you hydrated and nourished in our cafeteria.
What is Swedish massage used for and what are its benefits?
Evidence shows that receiving a massage once a week is good for our health. Many people choose to receive a classic Swedish massage to release tension and find relief from mild body aches and pains. But there is more than one reason why someone would choose to have a Swedish massage.
Swedish massage has been shown to have the following benefits:
Swedish massage has been shown to help people suffering from lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and any other body pain and discomfort. This is because the massage techniques used remove tension and encourage blood flow into the soft tissues and joints, helping to heal any damage and bring oxygen and nutrients into the areas.
Lowers stress and anxiety
If you struggle with stress and anxiety from daily life (like most of us) then a Swedish massage might be a good way to melt away the tension built up in the body and mind. Swedish massage techniques have been shown to promote deep relaxation by calming the autonomic nervous system and regulating hormones.
If your headaches are related to stress or tension, receiving a weekly Swedish massage can help by lowering the tension in your neck and shoulders and reducing your stress levels, all of which can be the cause of your headaches.
Sometimes poor sleep is related to stress, pain, or poorly regulated hormones. Because Swedish massage is proven to reduce stress and pain and may help to regulate hormones, it can also help to bring better quality sleep.
Swedish massage therapy techniques can bring relief to those who suffer from depression by reducing the amount of cortisol in the body and prompting the release of oxytocin – the feel good hormone. Getting a weekly massage may help keep the symptoms of depression at bay.
Swedish massage therapy places pressure on muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints which moves the blood out of them and encourages fresh blood to flow in when the pressure is released. This helps improve blood circulation which is necessary for the proper flow of oxygen and nutrients into our soft tissue. Proper blood circulation is also important for lowering blood pressure.
Poor circulation is related to cold hands and feet, high blood pressure, fatigue, and toxin buildup, leading to body aches and pains. Swedish massage has been shown to improve blood circulation.
Increases lymphatic drainage and boosts the immune system
The lymphatic system is made up of lymphatic fluid that transports white blood cells throughout the body. Because white blood cells are the foot soldiers of our immune system, keeping them healthy is vital to maintaining our immune system and keeping us healthy.
A Swedish massage stimulates the lymphatic system, and therefore the immune system, by encouraging the movement of lymphatic fluid. Because lymphatic fluid does not move on its own, a classic massage is a great way to keep your lymphatic system working properly. A professional massage therapist will know exactly how to drain your lymph nodes using Swedish massage techniques.
Stimulates nerve endings
Massages, including Swedish, stimulate nerve receptors that transmit sensory signals to the central nervous system. This nerve stimulation could be beneficial for those experiencing neuropathy, such as diabetics, or anyone with loss of feeling in their body.
Swedish massage vs. deep tissue massage
Some people may confuse Swedish massage with deep tissue massage. While they use similar techniques, they differ in their purpose. Swedish massage is much more gentle than deep tissue massage because the purpose of a Swedish massage is to relax, while the purpose of a deep tissue massage is to remove tension and pain from deep within the layers of muscles, tendons, and fascia.
The purpose of a Swedish massage is to relax deeply and receive subtle manipulation to the soft tissue, but it should never feel painful. A deep tissue massage can feel uncomfortable, and even painful at times because of the force used by the masseuse.
A deep tissue massage uses the same techniques as a Swedish massage, but the masseuse will use significantly more pressure during a deep tissue massage, especially in areas where there is tension and adhesions.
You might choose a deep tissue massage over a Swedish massage if you have a lot of painful knots in your muscles from engaging in activities like exercise, sports, manual labor, poor posture, or even sitting at a computer or desk for many hours a day. And you might choose a Swedish massage if you’re just looking to relax and feel rejuvenated.
At King Spa, we offer both Swedish massage and deep tissue, so you can try them both and decide for yourself which one you prefer.
What techniques are used during a Swedish massage?
A Swedish massage uses five main techniques, all meant to improve circulation, soothe your muscles, decrease stress and tension, and encourage deep relaxation. Each massage starts out slowly, with long, gliding strokes to get the muscles warmed up and relaxed on the surface. Once you’re warmed up and more relaxed, your massage therapist will begin to use other techniques to reach deeper into the muscle layers.
The five standard techniques used during a Swedish massage are Effleurage, Petrissage, Tapotement, Friction, and Vibration.
These are the long, sweeping strokes done using the palms and fingertips. Your masseuse will use this technique at the beginning of your massage to begin warming up your muscles and to find any areas that are holding tension and adhesions.
This massage technique involves kneading the muscles, tendons, and fascia to work deeper into them. This technique comes after the muscles are already warmed up and applies slightly more pressure to work out stored tension from the muscles. It is especially necessary to begin loosening the muscles for the next techniques to work better.
This is also known as rhythmic tapping and looks like karate chopping. Your masseuse will turn her hands with palms facing each other and will repetitively and rapidly tap your muscles in a pounding motion. This works to loosen up the muscles more and increases blood flow.
This massage technique works by gathering the skin in-between the hands and rubbing back and forth to create friction and warmth in the soft tissue. The purpose of this technique is to keep the muscles mobile by breaking up and preventing scar tissue.
This technique requires the masseuse to place the palm of their hand over the targeted area and gently shaking the skin over the target area area with their palms and fingers to produce a vibrating sensation. This helps with blood circulation, decreasing muscle tension, and promoting relaxation.
Should you get a Swedish massage?
Absolutely! A Swedish massage has many benefits that are helpful to most people. However, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice prior to receiving a massage if you believe you have a medical condition that could be a contraindication.
In general, Swedish massage is a safe, therapeutic massage and can improve your overall health and well-being by reducing stress and anxiety, increasing blood flow, reducing blood pressure, boosting your immune system, relieving pain, improving sleep, and enhancing your overall quality of life.
King Spa offers Swedish massage therapy from licensed massage therapists. Stop by our spa today and book a Swedish massage for the ultimate relaxation experience.