Swedish Massage FAQs
What is a Swedish massage?
It’s the most popular type of massage in most western countries and is designed to relax your muscles, release muscular tension and boost lymph function.
Beneficial Swedish massage after effects can include easing tension in specific areas such as, for example, the neck or shoulder region - common in those who work for protracted periods at a desk using a computer.
Amongst many positive Swedish massage reviews from those who have tried it include reports of a general feeling of well being through a ‘dopamine hit’ and the release of endorphins and other ‘feel good’ hormones.
Why the term ‘Swedish massage'?
In Swedish massage history terms this method of massaging to relax muscles and remove muscular tension was originally developed by a Swede, Per Henrik Ling.
So in everyday terms the specific Swedish massage meaning is in effect the ‘classic’ massage which is the most popular type and what other forms of massage - such as deep tissue for example - are based on.
What are the main Swedish massage benefits?
When searching for ‘Swedish massage near me’ or similar you may have a particular benefit in mind such as easing some neck pain, feeling generally more relaxed, easing muscular tension or even improving sleep.
Sessions with an experienced and skilled practitioner with bona fide Swedish massage training credentials will help you get the best from your massage sessions.
Lymph function - a definite Swedish massage health benefit: muscular movement helps your lymph system move nutrient-filled fluids round your body and flush out toxins.
More relaxed muscles though Swedish massage therapy improves lymph function so helping you feel better through nutrients more efficiently hitting their targets and toxins being more effectively removed.
Joint pain - whilst not claiming Swedish massage can ‘cure’ joint pain, it can certainly help ease discomfort through improving elasticity and flexibility in muscle tissue.
Tension relief - any Swedish massage information usually includes ‘tension relief’ with good reason: Swedish massage or deep tissue massaging can ease muscular tension built up through either physical causes such as hunching over a desk, or mental such as worry or stress.
Relaxation - the overall experience at the hands of a skilled Swedish massage therapist can help relax both mind and body; the focusing of the massage onto those specific areas of tension whether neck, shoulder or elsewhere; relaxing in a temperate environment; the basic touch of the masseuse, and the process of generally allowing the mind to ‘switch off’ all contributes to being relaxed along with the practical side of having muscle and tissue massaged.
Can Swedish massage help aches and pains?
A Swedish massage description may often claim ‘cures aches and pains’ - a common question often runs along the lines of “is Swedish massage good for back pain?”
It’s more accurate to say massage can help ease general aches and specific back pains rather than effect a cure: often particular ailments such as recurring back pain may require specific treatment from specialists such as a chiropractor, but Swedish massage can often help.
It’s important to advise your Swedish massage therapist what aches and pains you usually suffer from so your massage sessions can be conducted accordingly:
- Swedish massage for lower back pain - a massage may be able to help by easing muscular tension
- Swedish massage for neck pain - as above, but sporadic neck pain can often be caused through general tension caused by poor posture or being hunched over a desk, so a Swedish massage can often ease discomfort
- Swedish massage for pinched nerve - again, relaxing muscles through massage can help but specific treatment by a specialist should also be sought
- Swedish massage for fibromyalgia - may help ease discomfort but more likely that deep tissue massage (see below) would be tried for this complaint
Should I choose Swedish massage or aromatherapy for relaxation?
In effect a Swedish massage session can contain both: the type of Swedish massage oil and other scents in the treatment room can incorporate certain aromas; your therapist can help advise you on those you may like if you don’t have particular favourites.
Also, some aromatherapies include (or can include) a Swedish massage.
How do I choose a good Swedish massage therapist?
A basic online search along the lines of ‘Swedish massage near me’ or ‘Swedish massage Peterborough’ can help you find specialist practitioners in your area, but taking it a step further will help you find your ideal Swedish massage therapist:
Talking to massage therapists - contacting by email or even phoning can help you ascertain if the masseuse would be a good fit for you; do they sound like they can tailor a massage to suit your needs? Do you feel comfortable taking to them?
Recommendation - do any friends or associates have a regular Swedish massage? Would they recommend their therapist?
How do I compare Swedish massage vs deep tissue massage?
While a basic Swedish massage definition would describe a massage that focuses on muscular tension relief and relaxation as the ‘classic’ massage on which most others are based, the main Swedish massage and deep tissue difference is the latter is really for sports men and women making larger demands on their physiques such as athletes, runners and those with particular injuries.
Deep tissue massaging, whilst using similar techniques as Swedish massage, uses far more pressure to the point of discomfort to the recipient at times in order to reach the deep tissue.
What are the main Swedish massage techniques?
Your massage therapist will use five main massage techniques on your muscles; kneading; stroking and gliding; rubbing; tapping or pounding and vibration.
In general, these Swedish massage techniques consist of softer strokes on bonier areas of the body and more rigorous strokes on regions of thicker muscle.
The techniques will vary based on parts of the body and what you’ve agreed with your massage therapist to focus on: for example, long, gliding strokes may centre on general relaxation whereas firmer kneading and rubbing may be applied to neck areas to ease muscular tension.
Is there a code of Swedish massage etiquette?
Some worry about being near naked during a massage session and how this is handled: your massage expert is keen for you to feel relaxed and in the right frame of mind for your massage, so you’re given time to undress privately before lying down on the massage table.
You don’t have to lie there exposed: there will be plenty of drapes and towels for your use, and only the areas being massaged will be exposed at any one time.
Your therapist may play background music during the massage but you can control this or even ask for silence; the same goes for talking - you may prefer to chat with your therapist during the massage or you may not. The choice in this and all aspects of your sessions are totally under your control.
Would there be any issues with Swedish massage during early pregnancy?
You should certainly tell your therapist if you’re pregnant but having a massage is certainly not prohibited: indeed both in physical and mental terms it could be a positive to help your body relax, reduce muscular tension and aid mental relaxation and well-being at what is a potentially stressful time.
How much does a Swedish massage cost?
Fees will vary and it may be possible to discuss packages with some therapists such as reductions for multiple bookings made up front and so forth.
It’s perhaps better to view massage therapy as an investment in yourself bearing in mind the practical and mental benefits discussed above. You’re benefitting from personal use of a trained professional’s time who has taken a comprehensive Swedish massage course and other training, and tailors a personal service specifically based on your requirements.
To maximise your investment further, try and make the most of your sessions through preparing for them and following certain practices after (see question/answer below).
How can I prepare for and derive maximum benefit from my Swedish massage sessions?
Before your massage session:
Try to relax and get yourself into the right frame of mind and, if possible, relax your muscles. For example, rushing to your appointment direct from the office isn’t ideal preparation.
After your massage session:
- Drink plenty of water - this will help rehydrate your muscles and assist the lymph system to flush out toxins. Ideally avoid dehydrating drinks such as coffee and alcohol
- Relax - avoid strenuous activity especially running or gym work; your muscles have been given a certain treatment so give them a chance to recover
- Bathe - taking a warm bath will help soothe your mind further and improve circulation
- Eating - you may well feel hungry after your massage so do eat a snack after if you want one, although lighter meals for the rest of the day are ideal rather than one heavy one
- Manage emotions - you may feel invigorated and ‘up’ afterwards thanks to the common endorphin release and dopamine rush; recognise this and enjoy it!