When you think about massage therapy, Swedish massage is the modality that most often comes to mind. Swedish massage therapy is the most well known type of bodywork performed anywhere and one of the principle goals of Swedish massage is relaxation of the entire body. Accomplished by gently rubbing the muscle tissue with long sweeping strokes following the direction of blood as it returns to the heart. However, Swedish massage goes far beyond just relaxation. Swedish massage therapy is unparalleled in it’s ability to improve circulation, increase the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, decrease toxins in the muscle tissue and increasing flexibility while easing tension.
A study recently conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine was published in The New York Times. It found that test subjects who underwent a 45 minute Swedish massage reported significantly decreased levels of stress hormones (cortisol), along with a hormone that can lead to an increases in cortisol production (arginine vasopressin). Test subjects also showed a boost in the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) which are a crucial part of the immune system. An increase in these immune cells has been shown to help fight colds and the flu.
Swedish Massage Therapy Techniques
Additional Swedish massage therapy techniques include firm kneading, circular pressure applied with the hands, percussive tapping, stretching and bending. Before and throughout your massage session, please communicate with your therapist so that they can customize the session to your specific wants and needs.