Swedish massage therapy is the most well-known and widely practiced type of therapeutic massage and for good reason. This type of massage focuses on muscle relaxation, targeting superficial muscles (rather than the connective tissues targeted in deep-tissue massage), and increasing blood circulation.
- Pain management. If you have a condition like sciatica or osteoarthritis and are suffering from chronic pain. As a result, Swedish massage can be an effective method for naturally managing that pain. Notify your massage therapist about your pain points; he or she can target those areas and use a stroking motion to improve local circulation and reduce muscle tension.
- Increased blood flow. Your Swedish Massage Therapist should use effleurage – a long, stroking motion in the direction of blood flow towards the heart – to open up your blood vessels and increase your blood flow. Increased blood flow means that your muscles are getting more nutrients and oxygen and that your body is removing toxins more efficiently.
- Rehabilitation for muscle injuries. Your Therapist should also rely on kneading and friction to address any existing injuries, such as adhesions (which occur when muscle tissues fuse). Many say that this technique, which relaxes layers of muscle, makes it feel like the Massage Therapist is "working out the kinks."
- Increased flexibility. When your muscles are more relaxed, you are able to experience a broader range of motion. A combination of Swedish massage and regular stretching is an excellent way for anyone to stave off workout-related injuries and get the most out of their periods of exercise.
- Reduced stress. Swedish massages are meant to maximize relaxation. The combination of the hands-on attention and the environment should relax you, lowering the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Lowering your stress level offers a surprising number of additional benefits, including reducing or eliminating tension headaches, giving you more energy, and allowing you to get a better night's sleep.
- Improved immune system. One other great benefit of reducing stress with a Swedish massage is that the lower cortisol levels allow your immune system to grow stronger, meaning that you're less likely to get sick and spend more time doing the things you enjoy.
Swedish massage is a great way to treat yourself—but it is also a lot more than that. The physical and mental health benefits of a Swedish massage make it an excellent option for those new to massage or looking for a complete massage.