Swedish massage therapy is the most well-known and widely practiced type of therapeutic massage—and for good reason. This type of massage focuses on muscle relaxation, targeting superficial muscles (rather than the connective tissues targeted in deep-tissue massage) and increasing blood circulation.
Pain management. If you have a condition like sciatica or osteoarthritis and are suffering from chronic pain as a result, Swedish massage can be an effective method for managing that pain in a natural way. Notify your massage therapist about your pain points, he or she can target those areas and use a stroking motion to improve local circulation and reduce muscle tension.
Your Swedish Massage Therapist should use effleurage – a long, stroking motion in the direction of blood flow towards the heart – in order to open up your blood vessels and increase your blood flow. Increased blood flow means that your muscles are getting more nutrients and oxygen and that your body is removing toxins more efficiently.
Your Therapist should also rely on kneading and friction to address any existing injuries, such as adhesions (which occur when muscle tissues fuse together). Many people say that this technique, which relaxes layers of muscle, makes it feel as if the Massage Therapist is “working out the kinks.”
When your muscles are more relaxed, you’re able to experience a wider range of motion. A combination of Swedish massage and regular stretching is a great way for anyone to stave off workout-related injuries and get the most out of their periods of exercise.
Swedish massages are meant to maximize relaxation—you’ll be on a massage table, in a peaceful environment, with a professional spending an extended time (between 60 – 120 minutes) giving you a massage. The combination of the hands-on attention and the environment should relax you, lowering the level of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Lowering your stress level offers a surprising number of additional benefits, including reducing or eliminating tension headaches, giving you more energy, and allowing you to get a better night’s sleep.
One other great benefit of reducing your stress with a Swedish massage is that the lower cortisol levels allow your immune system to grow stronger, meaning that you’re less likely to get sick and can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.