Swedish Massage is a massage therapy technique that is very much widely spread. Also called the classic European massage by some, it has seen much development since the 17th century. In our age, more and more people are turning to Swedish Massage to find relief from stress as well as to keep their health. It is currently the most practiced massage style in the U.S. and with good reason too.
In this article, we look at how Swedish Massage is done and how best to enjoy it.
The Purpose of Swedish Massage
Why Swedish massage? Swedish massage is a type of massage that focuses on the entire body of a person. Unlike others that are focused on specific areas, it entails a full-body massage, as well as the use of oils and lotions. Further, Swedish Massage can be combined with aromatherapy, music therapy, and most other forms of therapy. Swedish Massage is aimed at relaxing the entire body of the person by stimulating the visual, nasal and body nerves. This is brought about by the various techniques used in it.
Swedish massage requires a lot of items if being done professionally. However, amateurs can easily improvise and may not need so many materials apart from the basics.
Professional Swedish Massage needs the following materials:
- Massage tables, mats, or chairs: These are some of the most important equipment a massage therapist needs. They must be very comfortable for use so that the client can feel completely relaxed during and after the session.
- Aromatherapy: Using essential oils, herbs, incense, candles, oil blends, and diffusers, the therapist can stimulate the nasal senses of clients and help them relax.
- Music: As an important part of Swedish massage, music is often used except when the client decides otherwise. Slow and relaxing songs are usually the best. But it is important to know what the client wants, as some people relax well with other music genres.
- Clothes: It is necessary to provide appropriate clothing for the client. These could be disposable shorts, boxers, brassieres, etc.
- Products for Hot and Cold therapy: Examples are moist heat products, hot stone massage products, cold or hot packs, hydrocollators, etc.
- Videos to serve as a visual aid for the therapist, possibly behind the scenes.
- Books to help clients get answers and choose techniques. Think of them as catalogs.
- Charts and anatomical supplies like (Anatomy charts, charts on joints, trigger points, the skeleton, and muscles, then decoders, posters, etc. to help the therapist
- Massage tools like thumpers, power putty, earls, warmers, marble stone, exercisers, carpal tunnel gloves, etc. They are very important.
- Oils, lotions, and creams: Massage oils, creams, gels, salt and sugar scrubs, hand sanitizers, skin protection, pain-relieving balms, and analgesics, etc. are necessary for Swedish Massage. Therapists should ask their clients about allergies before using any oil.
- Accessories like cover sheets, blankets, pillows, bolsters and other bod cushions, etc., towels, soaps and detergents, face cradle covers.
In the full-body Swedish massage, the client lies on the massage table and is draped with a towel or a sheet. Oils or lotions are applied. Music is turned on. Swedish Massage employs five basic techniques. All or some of the techniques described below are used, depending on the client’s choice.
- Effleurage: It is the most used stroke in Swedish Massage. Effleurage is a gliding, flowing movement tracing the contours of the body moving towards the heart. Effleurage is done using the palm of the hands and is used to warm up the muscles, calm the nerves, relax the body, improve blood and lymph circulation. Oil is usually applied in the first stage of Effleurage to prevent friction and allow free-gliding. A firm and constant pressure are applied.
- Friction: Friction strokes are used to target deeper muscle structures. It is done by applying pressure to the body. The therapist places the flat of the hand on the client and then places his or her weight on the back of the hand. The weight is slowly removed to gradually release pressure.
- Petrissage: Petrissage is commonly called kneading although they are not exactly the same. Petrissage involves working the flesh by lifting, rolling and squeezing it under the hand (or between). This technique is aimed at releasing tension and lesions. The effect is an improvement in blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.
- Tapotement: This is a percussive or tapping technique that involves the use of a quick “karate chop” movement to release tension and relax the flesh. This technique is done in three major ways: Pummeling, Hacking and Cupping. Pummeling uses loose fists, Hacking uses the sides of the hands, and Cupping uses the flat of the hands.
- Vibration: This technique involves the trembling of the flesh using the fingertips of the hand. The therapist shakes the flesh at a spot and then moves on to another. It releases tension in small muscle areas like along the spine.
Duration for a Swedish Massage Session
Swedish Massage does not have a specific laid-down time like a soccer match. Instead, the duration depends on the agreement between the client and the therapist. Typically, a Swedish massage session can is expected to last between thirty minutes to an hour.
How Long Does it take to professionally learn Swedish Massage?
Learning Swedish Massage professionally depends on the certificate being pursued and the institution or body offering it. But a minimum of 150-500 hours is needed to learn and get certified. Local certification bodies work under the guidance of the national association and follow laid down rules concerning professional certifications.
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