Swedish massage therapy has been used in the United States since the 1850’s when two doctors brought over the technique from Europe. It was originally developed by Dr. Ling in the 1830’s. A Swedish massage therapist will employ different strokes including tapping, kneading, gliding, and friction to help relieve muscle tension. These strokes have special names that you may hear associated with Swedish massage. Effleurage is the long stroke, often directed towards the heart to improve circulation and prepare knots in muscles to be broken up. Petrissage is the kneading stroke that addresses specific muscle tension. Tapotement is a rhythmic tapping that energizes muscles and breaks up more tension. Friction requires rubbing the palms on the skin to warm up the muscles. Vibration is the quick motion of the fingertips or palms to loosen the muscles. Swedish massage is typically applied with the hands, but sometimes the forearms and elbows are used as well. Oil is almost always used with the massage so that the masseur’s hands can glide gently across the skin without causing discomfort.
While you will feel pressure during a Swedish massage, you should not feel pain that would cause you to tense up or become uncomfortable. If you are feeling pain, or simply don’t like some of the strokes being employed, you should talk to your massage therapist to determine what might be a better approach to your massage. Massage therapy should help you feel better and should not cause stress or discomfort.
Physical Effects of Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is the most commonly requested type of massage in the United States and at our Breckenridge spa. It is now prescribed by some doctors to address some symptoms and medical conditions. It most broadly addresses issues of stress and muscle tension. While Swedish massage relieves muscle tension and minor pain due to muscle tension, it is proven to have other positive effects on the body as well. According to one study Swedish massage therapy lowers blood pressure. It can also improved circulation, which increases oxygen to the organs and results in an overall gain in wellness. According to LiveScience, studies have also found that Swedish massage can increase white blood cells. These are the cells that fight off infection and inflammation so Swedish massage gives the immune system a little boost.
Swedish massage can also improve your mood. In addition to relieving tension and helping your feel more relaxed, it can reduce cortisol levels in the brain, according to a report cited by the Huffington Post. Cortisol is a hormone that causes stress responses in the body.
Finding a Swedish Massage Therapist
In most states, Swedish massage therapists must be licensed to practice massage. Some receive a state license, while others can receive a license through a professional massage organization. There are two organizations that offer a licensure exam. It is ok to ask your massage therapist what their area of expertise is and what training they’ve had. Choose a massage therapist that you feel comfortable with and be sure to tell them about your specific needs, whether they are medical or emotional. Book a Swedish massage in Breckenridge today at our spa, to relieve stress, relax, and reenergize.