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Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.

A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.

Swedish Massage Techniques

Additional Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.

Benefits

Unlike drug therapy, which is often associated with many systemic and long-term side effects, massage therapy is relatively safe and has few contraindications. It also provides many benefits.

Physical benefits

There are numerous physical benefits associated with the use of Swedish massage:

  • loosening tight muscles and stretching connective tissues
  • relieving cramps and muscle spasms and decreasing muscle fatigue
  • loosening joints and improving range of motion
  • increasing muscle strength
  • calming the nervous system
  • stimulating blood circulation
  • firming up muscle and skin tone
  • relieving symptoms of such disorders as asthma , arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome , chronic and acute pain syndromes, myofacial pain, headache , temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and athletic injuries
  • speeding up healing from injury and illness
  • improving lymphatic drainage of metabolic wastes

Mental and emotional benefits

Mental benefits associated with massage therapy include the following:

  • mental relaxation
  • improvement in length and quality of sleep
  • relief of stress, depression, anxiety and irritation
  • increased ability to concentrate
  • improved sense of well-being

Precautions

Swedish massage should not be given to patients with the following physical disorders or conditions:

  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • fever
  • broken bones, fractures , dislocations, or severe sprains
  • contagious diseases
  • open or unhealed sores or wounds
  • body areas that are inflamed, swollen or bruised
  • varicose veins
  • recent surgery
  • severe pain
  • jaundice
  • frostbite
  • kidney disease
  • large hernias
  • hemorrhaging
  • torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles
  • high blood pressure or heart problems
  • certain kinds of cancer
  • history of phlebitis or thrombosis (These patients may have blood clots that may become dislodged and travel to the lungs, with potentially fatal results.)
  • drug treatment with blood thinners (These medications increase the risk of bleeding under the skin.)

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