What is a Swedish Massage?

swedish massageSwedish Massage uses oil to apply long, soft strokes on the upmost layer of muscles. It is the most practiced and received massage therapy and its main intention is to relax the body and mind. Swedish massage works on the parasympathetic nervous system (opposite of “Fight or Flight”) which brings calm so the body can rest and restore. Typically, Swedish massage does not include a treatment plan, however, many people receive this massage on a regular basis as a “tune-up” to manage stress and increase circulation throughout the body.

The most common form of Swedish massage is the Full Body Relaxation massage. The full body relaxation massage addresses the head, neck, chest, back, arms, stomach, front and back of hips, legs, hands, and feet. The client is fully empowered to omit any area he or she does not want addressed.

Swedish massage vs deep tissue

Deep tissue massage is different from Swedish massage in that it’s main intention is to reduce pain, with relaxation as a possible side-effect. Deep tissue massage will often focus more time in one or two areas which allows time to warm through multiple layers of tissue and create change. As noted above, Swedish massage generally includes addressing the whole body, which does not allow time to warm through many layers of tissue. Opposite of Swedish massage, Deep Tissue massage also often uses a treatment plan to achieve the client’s goals, such as pain reduction or improved range of motion.

People often associate Deep Tissue massage with deeper pressure. While this is often true, it is not necessary. A therapist can be very effective creating change in the body by simply targeting the correct muscle and/or tension spot at the right angle. This approach can sometimes be intensely felt simply because of its accuracy and will still achieve the goal of pain reduction.

It is interesting to note that some people find Deep Tissue massage relaxing, while others prefer to stick with a Swedish massage because they relax better when they don’t have to worry about feeling possible discomfort when tension spots are found. Either way, you should be able to breath easily and relax your body while receiving a massage.

Swedish massage benefits

The benefits of Swedish Massage include but are not limited to:

  • increased blood circulation and lymphatic flow (which enhances immunity)
  • decreased depression and/or anxiety
  • enhanced sleep quality/greater energy
  • improved concentration
  • lower diastolic blood pressure and stress hormones
  • eases medication dependence
  • releases endorphins- amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller
  • increase body awareness and appreciation

Swedish massage side effects

Swedish massage can cause a person to feel light headed or a little “out of it” which is very normal. It is important to sit down a bit, plant feet on the ground, and drink water. Drinking water is not only helpful to ground a person, but also helps replenish the body after a massage.