Research continues to prove the emotional and physical benefits of massage therapy. More and more people are indulging themselves to massage therapy in their quest for a better relaxation and relief of stress. In a particular one, swedish massage benefits. Massage comes in different techniques and forms. And one of the most widely popular of these techniques is the Swedish massage.
What is a Swedish massage?
Swedish massage is most popularly known in the West. It is based on the principle of Western anatomy and physiology which was established by a Swedish physiologist Per Henrik Ling in the early 19th century.
This form of massage therapy involves firm and gentle strokes which is an ideal treatment to start if it’s your first time at the spa.
During the session, you are asked to lie down on a flat raised massage bed which comes with a cutout of your face on one end. Most spa centers employ the use of calming music and dim lighting to create a more relaxing atmosphere and perfect ambience to melt away stress and worries. The massage therapist will start from your stomach by making firm and long brush-like strokes onward your back and over your shoulders and arms, then eventually down to lower back and legs. You are asked to turn over halfway through the session. The therapist will finish the second half face up massaging your upper shoulders, arms and front of legs. The massage promotes overall relaxation of both body and mind by carefully kneading and rubbing the layers of the body’s outer tissue.
Most massage therapists commonly use either the heel of their hand, the flat palm, or a grouping of fingertips to apply pressure to tensed points to lengthen and loosen cramped muscles. In contrast to some massage styles that apply rigorous pressure such as Japanese Shiatsu or Thai massage that uses stretching techniques where the massage therapist maneuvers you, Swedish massage is intended to precisely improve blood flow and circulation to extensive groups of muscles.
Why Swedish massage is a popular form of massage therapy…
The practice of massage therapy as a therapeutic mechanism has been broadly acclaimed beyond its relaxing benefit. People who have experienced Swedish massage assert its overall benefits supported by many studies which are conducted to signify its effectiveness in addressing conditions other than muscle aches and stiffness. Through the years, a variety of research had associated Swedish massage to many other benefits such as lowering blood pressure, alleviating carpal tunnel syndrome, reducing knee arthritis, easing headaches, lessening fibromyalgia symptoms, and boosting immune system function.
Swedish massage for stress relief
Relieving stress is one of the most important benefits of most massage techniques. An hour session of massage can significantly lower heart rate and reduce levels of cortisol and insulin; these are hormones responsible for triggering stress in the body.
Muscle tension and soreness are caused by built up lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid is removed from the muscles by gently squeezing and pulling affected areas. This technique does not only eliminate lactic acid but also gets rid of metabolic waste from the muscles and internal organs resulting to improved functioning of body systems. It also lengthens the muscles and improves flexibility. By facilitating blood flow, the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body is supported resulting to the alleviation of pain, stiffness and inflammation.
Lower level of stress hormones can also reduce the risk of kidney failure and heart attack.
Swedish massage for relaxation and improved circulation
Swedish massage is chiefly known to provide overall relaxation to the body. Typical session is done in 30 to 60 minutes and focuses mainly on most primary muscle groups of the body. To induce deeper relaxation, a soft and comfortable massage bed is used. The technique employs massage strokes designed to relax specific muscles. You can feel an overall soothing experience that relieves mental stress but there’s more to that. The strokes also imitate the movements of the circulatory system. Swedish massage aids in the removal of bodily waste from the body by applying stokes toward the heart. By mimicking the movement of blood flow, it improves and stimulates circulation to expedite elimination of metabolic waste.
Swedish massage for pain relief
Some people, particularly athletes, with sports-inflicted injuries and chronic pain resort to Swedish massage as their indispensable measure for pain management. In these cases, the session targets affected areas like a sprained ankle and uses gentle strokes to ease chronic pain caused by other health conditions like arthritis. The massage therapist uses strokes that implements overall relaxation and stimulates circulation to help alleviate unbearable pain. Most athletes rely heavily on Swedish massage to correct misalignment and tightness in muscles. Regular strokes of Swedish massage relax and straighten tight muscles that even stretching could not achieve. Regular sessions effectively relieve bodily pain while correcting malformed muscles.
Massage for anxiety, depression, and fatigue
Recent studies have looked into the relationship of Swedish massage to the reduction in fatigue in cancer patients. Known for its positive effects on the immune system, it is also deemed to reduce cancer-related fatigue. It is also closely correlated to the treatment of neuromuscular diseases such as multiple sclerosis. People undertaking regular Swedish massage sessions manifest decreased anxiety, less depression, improved body image, enhanced social function, and boosted self-esteem. These effects are credited to the therapy’s ability to repress the production of cortisol (stress hormone) while it promotes the production of serotonin (anti-stress hormone). You can instantly feel relaxed right after the massage.
The feeling of rejuvenation after a massage is associated with the release of dopamine and serotonin during the massage. The activity on the left lobe is increased when people are happy. Massage applies pressure on this area of the brain to release the feeling of rejuvenation.
Swedish massage can be beneficial to various physical conditions such as decrease in scar tissue. It allows the scar tissue to be re-absorbed completely into the skin by physically wielding the tissue fibers. Furthermore, it supports lymphatic drainage by applying long strokes that direct the movement of fluids out of congested areas.
Many people also claim that Swedish massage helps them reduce digestive upset or constipation. This is due to the improvement of circulation which results to the relaxation of the lower back and abdominal muscles. Massage on the abdomen encourages muscle contraction, tapping the tummy to move things along.
Aside from increasing the level of serotonin, regular Swedish massage also increases oxytocin (trust hormone) levels and white blood cell counts. It also contributes to the reduction of arginine vasopressin levels, these hormones are linked with the increased production of cortisol.
Stress hormones increase and build up to unhealthy amounts as response to stressful events such as relationship conflicts, traffic jams, work deadlines, and much more. The adverse effects of these stress hormones include sleep disturbances, headaches, and digestive disorders. Lowering the amount of stress hormones by releasing them from your body can be achieved through massage therapy. After the session, you feel entirely rested and relaxed. The strokes used in Swedish massage stimulate the brain’s chemistry which leads to a lighter, happier mood.