What Is Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is the most common type of massage performed today in the Western Culture. It is undoubtedly the most popular because of the relaxation and relief from tension and pain that it provides. Swedish Massage was developed by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the University of Stockholm. He originated a system in the early 1800s called “Medical Gymnastics”. The massage movements became known as “Swedish Movements” in Europe and the “Swedish Movement Cure” when it was exported to the U.S. in 1858. Today, we simply call it Swedish Massage.

In Colorado, massage therapy is performed by a state licensed massage therapist. The hands-on method varies. Massage strokes can be slow and gentle, superficial or deep, and vigorous at times. All combinations stimulate blood flow and therefore brings oxygen to the tissues which is most important, as well as moving fluids and therefore toxins. Keep in mind, pain is caused by lack of oxygen to the tissues. All of these different strokes are key, depending on what the therapist needs to achieve for the maximum benefit to the recipient and the physical condition of the client/recipient. A massage therapist who knows their craft, knows that they cannot push the body of their client faster than that body can assimilate the work. It is a delicate, finely-tuned dance.

Anatomy and physiology based on Western concepts defines Swedish Massage Therapy rather than the meridians or energy lines of the Asian massage systems. However, the My Cottage Spa therapist is familiar with acupressure points and energy lines, and incorporates these methods into the therapy session. The time to do a massage is from 30 – 45 minutes, but can take longer if there is a particular problem area that the therapist uncovers.
cmt website pics 002 resize 150×150 What Is Swedish Massage?My Cottage Spa highly recommends to precede all massage sessions with time first spent on the Mechanical Massage machines in My Cottage Spa’s sun room. This greatly helps to initially loosen and relax the muscles making the Swedish Massage session much more effective for the client/recipient.

In performing Swedish Massage, emollient cream is applied to the body by the therapist. The therapist then uses various massage techniques to loosen up the muscle tissue. This releases tension in the muscle and breaks up adhesions, often called muscle “knots.” This method increases blood flow and therefore oxygen feeding the tissue. This greatly promotes relaxation, pain relief and other health benefits to the body. Elderly clients especially enjoy the relief that Swedish Massage brings to their “aching muscles and joints.”

Before beginning, the therapist should be notified of any injuries, tender areas, allergies, and medical conditions such as pregnancy. This alerts and supplies the therapist with additional information as to applying light or firm pressure to certain areas during the massage. If you don’t want your feet massaged (which might not be the best idea), this is the time to speak up. Remember, all parts of the body are connected to all other parts of the body. It is a package.

After consultation, and relaxing in the sun room using the mechanical massage machines, you will be shown to the private massage room. There you can lie on the heated massage table, usually face down, with your face in the gentle cushioned “face cradle”, between the table’s sheets. The therapist will have left the room while you disrobe and settle onto the table, covering yourself with a sheet or towel. She will knock before entering to make sure that you are ready.

During the massage, only the part of the body that is being massaged is uncovered by a technique called draping. If complete nudity makes you uncomfortable, you may keep on your underwear. If you are really, really uncomfortable, you may wear loose clothing or sweats. However, the effectiveness of the massage could be changed.

In the beginning, the client lays face down with the face snuggled into the u-shaped, adjustable face cradle. This allows the spine to be straight and neutral and the client to breathe. The massage therapist works on the back/dorsal side of the body (back, neck & shoulders, and extremities) with massage strokes including effleurage, friction, kneading, tapping and stretching the muscles.
When done with the dorsal side, the sheet is held up in the middle making a tent, so the client can turn over onto their back, becoming face up, while remaining completely covered all the time. At this point, the front of the body is massaged in the same basic manner, after which the session is complete.

All therapists have their own styles and techniques. Some start with the feet and legs, others with the back. Here is a link to a series of videos that will enable you to see a therapist performing a massage. Keep in mind that this is one therapist’s example, and as mentioned, there are as many slight variations of styles and techniques, as there are licensed massage therapists. However, your My Cottage Spa therapist is flexible and has your very best interests at heart. If you want more time spent on a certain problem area, or if you want the pressure increased or lessened, just let the therapist know. Communication is everything, and vital. The important thing is, My Cottage Spa desires to lessen your aches and pains and bring relief to you so you can more deeply and thoroughly enjoy your time on our beautiful planet.

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