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  • Writer's pictureJoanne

What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage is what you may think of as a 'traditional' or 'standard' massage style. It's origins lay in Sweden, however as with all styles of massage, Swedish Massage has developed and is practiced slightly differently by each individual massage therapist who will each have their own unique style.

Swedish massage works by following a few simple principles:

1. To begin, gentle rhythmic 'efflourage' strokes to warm up the muscles, relax the client and introduce the body gently to the massage.

2. Deeper warming techniques to allow the muscles to relax and let the therapist sink deeper into the muscles fibres, without shocking the muscles or causing them to tense.

3. Now we are able to work the muscles using deep 'petrissage' strokes. This may be referred to as deep tissue work but differs from a deep tissue massage. This is where the work is done to help alleviate tension, stress or knots from the muscles and may feel firmer than the previous strokes, however as always it is down to client preference and a lighter touch may be preffered.

4. Finish by using draining strokes that encourage the flow lymph and removal of waste/toxins from the system, that may have been released from the muscles during the massage.

What happens during a Swedish Massage appointment?

At Heaven on Earth Wellness Therapies the client is always respected and treated with dignity.

I begin by doing a consultation with you which discusses your health, medications, lifestyle any pain or tension you are experiencing and how you feel, so that I can get an idea of how you move your body and what areas may need extra attention during the massage. You will not need to read or write anything as I will note down what we have discussed, which I keep filed away for my use only.

I will then discuss with you my outline plan for the session, for example a full body massage, and ask for your consent. I may also check if there are any areas you may not wish to be touched, for example the feet, which can be very sensitive.

I leave the room to allow you to change and lay on the table under a sheet/towel, then I knock on the door before I come back into the room. I can stay in the room while you change if you require assistance and can use a sheet for a screen for your comfort.

Underpants are always kept on and the client is always covered using a towel or sheet, exposing only the area to be worked on ie the back or leg or arm. This also helps to keep you warm as your body temperature may drop as you lie still during the session.

The massage begins by gentle touch to apply the oil to your skin. Usually the oil of choice is a neutral oil however you may wish to select from aromatherapy blended oils if available.

Once your muscles have been warmed up, deeper work may begin if this is appropriate, to help ease any tensions, pain or knots you may have. After this work, more gentle sweeping movements will be used to help encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid in the area worked.

In my Swedish Massage practice, I like to work the body in a particular way, so for a full body Swedish massage I will begin with the back and backs of the legs. I will think ask you to turn over and massage the front of the legs, arms, neck, head and face - my aim by the end is that you have been able to reach a deeper level of relaxation. I check in with you during the massage to make sure the pressure is suitable for you, and also encourage you to speak up if you would like the pressure adjusting at any point - it's your massage after all!

When the massage has come to a close, I encourage you to take some deep breaths and notice how your body is feeling. I leave the room to allow you to change in private, unless you require assistance ie getting on/off the couch. I have water available for you after the massage and also provide practical after-care advice to help you feel the benefit of your massage for as long as possible.

I keep extra towels, sheets, blankets and pillows in the room so that at any point during the massage if you need more support or warmth, then everything is on hand. In the room are also tissues. Water and toilet facilities are also on hand. I also encourage you to speak up at any point during the massage if you need anything at all, as if you are laid there worrying about something you'll struggle to relax.

Ultimately, my aim for swedish massage is to help people feel more comfortable in their own skin.

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