Swedish massage is a very modern technique, relatively speaking. Essentially, it’s the Western world’s answer to massage therapy that’s based more on scientific healing than the philosophical underpinnings of Eastern techniques such as Shiatsu. The techniques used in Swedish massage were largely refined in the 19th century and have changed surprisingly little since that time.
This article explores the benefits of Swedish massage for the individual as well as the techniques used in the process. There are certainly some common aspects to different types of massage, but there are also some distinctive techniques used in the Swedish method and we’ll identify those here.
Swedish massage can have obvious immediate and long-term physical benefits for the client that’s receiving the massage. It’s designed to relieve muscular tension, stiffness, and overall pain. There are also scientific studies that suggest it can help to increase your blood circulation and improve your respiratory function. These benefits won’t happen right away though, so you will have to make massage therapy part of your life moving forward to reap most of the benefits.
Swedish massage isn’t just about the physical benefits though, it can have real positive effects on your mental well-being as well. Removing pain can also relieve stress, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Again, you have to commit to ongoing therapy if you’re going to reap most of these benefits. If you’ve ever had a Swedish massage you’re probably well aware of how much it can relax you, and it’s when you’re relaxed that all of those mental anxieties can often seem to melt away.
I was surprised to find out that Swedish massage can actually help to improve your posture. The reason that it helps with posture is because it relieves muscle pain that comes from our tendency to slump in our chairs; our bodies are having trouble maintaining a proper posture position. When you participate in regular massage therapy those niggling aches and pains tend to go away, making it easier for you to maintain proper posture.
When the body is in constant pain you can’t perform at your best in physical activities such as exercise or labor-intensive occupations. Swedish massage performed on a regular basis can remove the pains that are preventing you from performing at your best. This means you’ll likely be able to exercise longer and more strenuously, which will also help to improve your physical well-being and remove the stress of worrying about that.
Understanding the Techniques
What makes Swedish massage unique from other techniques such as Shiatsu is that the therapist tends to concentrate on smooth gliding strokes rather than direct pressure to specific points on your body. It’s characterized by squeezing, rolling, kneading, and tapping techniques. In Swedish massage your whole body is targeted; not just individual points as with Shiatsu massage.
Swedish massage really does have some real and measurable benefits for the human body and mind. In fact, scientific studies have been performed which actually show that it can reduce the stress hormone cortisol. I guess it stands to reason that when you’re feeling physically comfortable there will be mental benefits as well. You can get some of these benefits from a massage chair, but if you can actually take the time to visit a real massage therapist on a regular basis it’s definitely something I’d recommend.
Considering Life Changes
As any massage therapist that uses Swedish techniques will tell you, your therapy sessions will only be of limited effect if you don’t change some aspects of your life. When used properly, Swedish massage should be part of an overall approach to wellness. It’s a great starting point, but you have to remove those stressful aspects of your life that are holding you back if you’re going to get everything out of the method you can.
Swedish Massage Can Change Your Life
Whether you choose to visit a massage therapist or you decide to purchase a feature-rich massage chair that you can use in your own home, there is no doubting the benefits it can introduce into your life. As you’ve probably gathered from our discussion in this article, in order to get the most out of a technique such as Swedish massage you have to make it part of your life on an ongoing basis. If you can commit to that you’re bound to see some positive changes.