A Brief Introduction to
Swedish massage is what most people think of as “massage.” Swedish massage combines various hands-on techniques including gliding, kneading, and cross-fiber friction to break up muscle “knots” or adhesions.
This therapeutic massage modality is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to Eastern energy work. It can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on what the therapist wants to achieve and the client desires. Swedish massage is performed by a licensed massage therapist, and sessions generally run a minimum of an hour, but can extend up to 2 hours or more for full-body massages.
The father of Swedish massage is Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) of Smaaland, Sweden, a physiologist and fencing master. He also is credited with helping establish modern physical therapy treatments. In the early 1800s, Ling developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included the therapist moving the client's body. These became the known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when the treatment first came to the United States in 1858. Today, we call the treatment Swedish Massage.
In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up knots or adhered tissues. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits.
During a Swedish massage clients are nude and draped with a towel or sheet. The therapist uncovers only the part of the body being addressed. We recognized that nudity may be outside of your comfort zone, so please feel free to maintain your personal sense of modesty by wearing your underwear or a bathing suit. This is not at all uncommon, especially among new massage clients.
The treatment begins by laying face down with your head in a u-shaped face cradle so your spine stays neutral. The therapist generally starts by working on your back, using various massage strokes that include effleurage, kneading, friction, stretching and tapping.
When the therapist completes working on your back, the next section is the back of each leg. The next phase involves the client turning over, at which point the therapist will hold the sheet or towel up and look away while until the client is re-covered. The therapist then massages the front of each leg, both arms, and generally finishes with your neck and shoulders.
Some therapists work in a different order, and all have their own style and techniques. If you only have 50 minutes, you can also ask us to spend more time on a certain area. If the pressure is too light or too firm, please say something and let us know so that we can adjust. Remember, massage is about YOU, so let us know what works for you.
Swedish massage includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension, but if you truly want deeper, more intensive work and firmer pressure, please book a deep tissue massage.
General benefits of Swedish Massage Therapy include:
- Relief of Stress
- Encourages Relaxation
- Helps Manage Pain
- Improves Flexibility and Range of Motion
- Relaxes Muscles