What is A Swedish Massage? 

Swedish massage is probably one of the best-known forms of massage. It’s the one you go for in a Spa to relax and destress. The techniques used focus on releasing the natural tensions built up in the body from the stresses of daily life, both physically and mentally. The primary goal of a Swedish massage is to relax the entire body. Think calm and serene massage room, candles, and gentle music in the background. 

Where Did Swedish Massage Come From? 

The origins of massage go way back in history, way before the terminology we understand today had come to fruition. Hippocrates, often thought of as the father of medicine, was an advocate of massage as early as the 4th century. The ancient Greeks were a big fan too, and made a lot of changes to the application of massage that we still use today. 
It wasn’t until the late 18th century / early 19th century that Swedish Massage was developed by Per Henrik Ling to help fencers and gymnasts prepare and recover from competitions. From this, Sports Massage was born, and progressed specifically through the gruelling cycling tours where rapid recovery was essential to performance. Today we use sports massage to help sports people and non-sports people alike. 

What Techniques Are Used in Swedish Massage? 

The Swedish Massage approach uses smooth flowing strokes while applying pressure that’s more soothing and relaxing, rather than deep and intense. The motions are rhythmical and not too deep, so no discomfort should be felt. 
This is slightly different from Sports Massage, where depth is applied to break down adhesions in the tissues and restore alignment. Some of the basic techniques used are the same, such as effleurage and petrissage, but the pressure changes. 
Swedish techniques cause two main physiological changes to occur in your body. Firstly, you will experience physical effects (the mechanical response) due to the pressure applied by the therapist to the soft tissues. Secondly, your nervous system will respond (the relaxation response) due to the technique and touch used in the massage. These two effects combine to create physical and emotional relaxation. 

What Are The Benefits of Swedish Massage? 

Swedish Massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility, while easing tension. This type of massage is extremely beneficial for all areas of the body where tension builds up in the muscles. 
Typically, these areas include: 
• Neck and shoulders 
• Lower back 
• Arms and legs 
It can also have a very beneficial effect on mental health, encouraging the parasympathetic nerve system to relax, relaxing the mind along with it, and giving someone a little time and space for self-care. 
Having a 60-minute relaxing massage gives you the following benefits: 
• A reduction of tension within the muscles 
• Improved blood circulation 
• Lowering of blood pressure 
• The release of tension headaches 
• A boost to your immune system 

Swedish and Sports Massage 

You can’t learn sports massage without learning the basic techniques of Swedish. We must recognise where our discipline comes from and respect that there’s room for all types of massage, as everyone’s needs are different. 
My journey started with a Level 3 Diploma in Swedish Massage which led me to Sports Massage - for which I couldn’t be more grateful. 
If you would like to learn more about massage and in particular sports massage, please do get in touch for a conversation. 
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