Swedish Massage in Glasgow
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What is a Swedish Massage?
Known in Sweden as simply the ‘classic’, Swedish massage is the most well-known and most popular type of massage for many people.
It forms the basis for almost all Western techniques as it was developed using anatomical and physiological research and principles. This means that the technique is slightly scientific in how it works on the body, rather than some Eastern techniques that rely on the transfer of energy and other more abstract ideas.
With its roots in biology and science, the Swedish massage is guaranteed to be good for you and your body. It is much gentler than other types such as Deep Tissue or Sports Massage, so it is often recommended for beginners: choose Swedish if this is your first time!
A little history…
The exact origin of Swedish massage is the subject of some debate…
In the 19th century, a fencing master at the University of Stockholm, Per Henrik Ling, developed a massage technique to help athletes with their flexibility and posture. His technique was popularised by visiting athletes and physicians who thought he called it his ‘Swedish Movement System’. Ling has often been credited as the creator of the Swedish massage.
But that’s not the whole truth!
Two research physicians, Emil Kleen and Richard Hael, found that a Dutch masseuse named Johan Georg Mezger, was in fact responsible for the Swedish massage techniques that we know and practice today. He developed and named the five key massage movements that are essential in Swedish massage.
Kleen and Hael believe Mezger to be the real creator, but even so, the term Swedish massage is still widely used in the UK and in some parts of Europe.
Read on to learn about Mezger’s movements and what makes them so good!
What does Swedish massage involve?
Mezger developed and named five movements that are used in Swedish massage: effleurage, pettrisage, friction, vibration and tapotement.
During your treatment these movements will vary in pressure and length depending upon your needs.
Each technique plays an important part in the massage and has been carefully designed to relax your body, release your tension and reduce your stress.
Effleurage (or stroking)
This is the introductory phase of your massage and the most basic movement; however, it is also the most important part.
Effleurage is the warm-up to get you ready for your treatment; it warms your muscles and soothes your mind.
Using either the flat of the hand or a soft brush, long and slow strokes are made all over the body. The pressure level is light and the speed is steady throughout. These strokes are repeated several times before moving onto the next phase.
The movement follows the direction of blood flow to the heart; this is to improve your circulation and increase the levels of oxygen and nutrients in your blood. This will help relax your muscles and flush out any toxins.
Effleurage also helps you to feel comfortable and ready for your massage. This part of the massage helps to calm and reassure your mind and prepare your body for the experience ahead.
Pettrisage is the second phase of your massage and the main event you’ve been waiting for! This is where the real indulgence begins…
This is when your knots - tight and tense areas of the muscle tissue - are found and your therapist gets right to work on them.
Usually starting with the shoulders and working down, your therapist works the soft tissue between their fingers, thumbs and base of their palms; firmly ‘kneading’ the muscles in a circular, rhythmic motion gradually breaks up the tension and as you drift away into peaceful bliss, your knots will have drifted away too.
The pressure is increased during this phase to really get those knots worked out. This is why effleurage is so important! The muscles need to be relaxed before too much pressure is applied to avoid any discomfort.
You can always let your therapist know if the pressure is too much or too little; everybody’s needs are different and together you will find the pressure that is right for you.
Remember: this massage is for you! You deserve this!
Tapotement (percussion / tapping)
Time for more indulgence! Friction is a firm movement designed to create heat on the skin and the muscles. Heat therapy is used to help your muscles stay relaxed after their knots have been worked.
By applying pressure to either precise areas or along the whole body, gentle friction is created by the force of the movement. Your therapist may even use heated oils at this point, which feels wonderful and helps your whole body relax and enjoy the experience.
There are two types of friction movement that your therapist will use.
One is called Circular Friction. Applying a firm amount of pressure to a precise area of tension and using the fingers or thumbs, steady, circular rotations are made on the area and generates heat straight to the muscle.
The second is called Transverse Friction. This involves a sliding motion down the whole body. Your therapist will use larger surface areas for more pressure, like their palms, knuckles or even their elbows, to create heat across all your muscles.
Always let your therapist know if the temperature or pressure is too high or too low.
Vibration, also called shaking, is an great way to stimulate and relax the muscles at the same time.
This phase uses a similar movement to pettrisage: the fingers, thumbs and palms knead the soft tissue again, but now with pressure so light it gently rocks or shakes the body.
This is particularly good for loosening tight areas and relaxing the whole body, whilst also energizing the muscles and helping to flush out the built-up toxins being released.
Like all the movements, this can easily be tailored to suit your personal needs.
This is another technique used to both relax and reenergize the muscles simultaneously.
A rhythmic ‘tapping’ is performed on fleshy parts of the body. This stimulates the skin and the improves muscle reflexivity.
Tapotement has many variations like chopping, pummelling and tapping, and differ mostly by the area of the hand used and the pressure applied. Don’t worry, only gentle tapping is necessary in Swedish massage.
This is usually the last phase of the Swedish massage as it helps to softly ease you to the end of the session.
What Are The Benefits Of Swedish Massage?
Here are just six of the benefits you can enjoy from a regular Swedish massage:
Swedish massage is by far the most requested type of massage for a reason: it is easy-going, gentle, but most of all, it is the perfect recipe for complete relaxation.
Swedish massage addresses all the major muscles groups and helps to reduce tension and stiffness and increase muscle strength.
We perform to the best of our abilities when we are relaxed; a regular Swedish massage can lead to feeling more relaxed more often, helping you feel happier for longer.
It is exceptionally beneficial if you are at the end of a busy month or week and in need of a reward. Take the break you deserve with an hour, or even just a half hour Swedish massage and feel brand new!
Better blood circulation
Swedish massage has been shown to increase oxygen levels in the blood. This helps keep your muscles healthy and energized by clearing away the flushed out toxins faster and more efficiently.
Better blood circulation means better body functions: the body relies on oxygen in the blood to be carried to all the muscles and a regular Swedish massage can help you achieve healthier circulation.
However, you should consult your GP if you have a history of circulatory problems before you get a massage.
Stronger immune system
Many people want a massage when they are feeling stressed and this is the smart thing to do. Everyone feels stress on different levels, but it is dangerous to feel stressed for too long.
The stress hormone, cortisol, can significantly decrease your immune system’s ability to fight off colds and infections.
Swedish massage therapy has shown levels of cortisol to dramatically reduce after regular treatments, as well as showing increased amounts of lymphocytes, white blood cells that stimulate the body’s natural resistance to infection and disease.
Of course, a balanced diet and regular exercise lead to healthy immune systems too, but reward yourself with a Swedish massage to keep it fresh and invigorated!
Better mental health
As mentioned above, Swedish massage has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This leads to increased levels of lymphocytes, but it also leads to a boost of healthy hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Massage works a lot like yoga: regular, gentle work on the muscles relieves anxiety and stress and helps prevent irritation. This can also help you cope with problems like depression and insomnia.
Swedish massage is also ideal for people suffering from chronic fatigue. You deserve to feel good, and the physical benefits of a massage extend to your mental health: you feel refreshed, recharged and reenergized.
Healing from injury and disease
The healing or recovery time from injuries or some diseases can be long and frustrating for many people because of the limits to their exercise routine.
It is important to allow the body plenty of time to heal after injury or operations; gentle treatments like Swedish massage are ideal for recovery patients who need to stimulate their muscles without excessive physical activity.
Please inform your therapist of any recent injuries upon your arrival and also consult with your doctor beforehand to see if you are ready for massage therapy.
Better skin tone
As Swedish massage improves circulation and helps keep blood flow healthy, this in turn promotes a glowing skin tone and complexion!
A regular Swedish massage can help keep your skin looking fresh and healthy. It is important to stay hydrated, both before and after your massage. This is to help flush out the toxins that have been worked out and released during your massage.
Remember to stay hydrated when you show off your fantastic new feeling after your session!
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