What is a Swedish Massage?

Invented by an ailing fencer, Swedish massage has come a long way and helped millions. Swedish massage is perhaps one of the most recognisable massage therapies aside from Thai ...

4 min read

Invented by an ailing fencer, Swedish massage has come a long way and helped millions.

Swedish massage is perhaps one of the most recognisable massage therapies aside from Thai massage. As its name suggests, Swedish massage originated in Sweden. However, unlike maalish and other forms of ayurvedic massages whose roots can be traced back to millennia, Swedish massage is relatively ‘new’.

The origins of Swedish massage can be credited to a fencing instructor who is said to have cured his elbow injuries using a series of percussion strokes. This was in the 1830s. Over time other therapists began to apply the same techniques to different parts of the body and behold, Swedish massage was born.

Today, Swedish massage is the cornerstone of the wellness industry. It promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension, and enhances mental and physical harmony.

What does a Swedish Massage involve?

Even though it was developed as a response to an injury to a specific body part, this type of massage usually implies a full body massage. It involves a combination of kneading, tapping, gentle stretching, and long, gliding strokes.

What are the health benefits of Swedish massage?

Some of the key benefits of a full body Swedish massage include:

1. Helps reduce stress

This massage involves gentle, rhythmic strokes that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, reduces the levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol) in your body) and thereby help you feel less stressed.

2. Helps reduce muscle tension

While this is true of all types of massages, the techniques employed in this massage massage don’t just release muscle knots but also help improve flexibility and range of motion.

3. Helps with pain management

Certain deep tissue massages can aggravate pain, but Swedish massage involves gentle strokes that actually help reduce inflammation and alleviate chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain, arthritis, and even migraines.

4. Helps improve blood circulation

Again, this is true of most massage techniques. However, the targeted strokes in this massage enhance blood flow and ensure that oxygen and nutrients are efficiently transported to the body’s tissues and organs.

5. Boosts immune system

Better blood circulation and reduced stress can help build a healthier immune system so your body can fend off illnesses more effectively.

6. Helps you sleep better

If you’ve found yourself falling asleep during a full-body session, know that it’s a good thing. All the health benefits of Swedish massage mentioned earlier also help with sleep quality and reduce insomnia.

What is the difference between a Swedish massage and a regular massage?

Regular massage is a fairly broad term and could include different types of massages. Among these would be Thai massage, shiatsu, deep tissue massage, Kerala massage and others. Each of these massages have different goals and techniques. Some involve deeper muscle manipulation whereas others involve energy balancing.

Swedish massage delivers long, flowing strokes, and gentle kneading. It wouldn’t focus on, say, aligning your chakras or promote intense pressure. Its techniques also don’t involve using tools like some of the other massages do. The primary focus of this type of massage is quite simple: relaxation and tension relief.

Does Swedish massage include a head massage as well?

Typically, Swedish massage includes chest, arms, legs, feet, and hands but does not include a head massage. However, you could opt for a separate head-neck-shoulder massage from our offerings.

Can a pregnant woman get a Swedish massage?

Yes. Swedish massage is suitable for pregnant women. To be sure, not all massages are suitable for pregnant women. Deep tissue massage, for example, is one such. However, because it involves long strokes and kneading to relax the muscles, it is a gentler massage. 

Do you wear clothes for a Swedish massage?

Different types of massages involve different attires. Some types of massages require you to wear a loose shirt and a pair of comfy pyjamas. Others may require you to strip down to a loin cloth. 

In this case, you can undress to the extent you are comfortable. While massage therapists will offer you disposable underwear or gown, you can choose to wear your own or a pair of shorts you own.

If you are uncomfortable exposing your entire body before a therapist, you can also drape a sheet around yourself revealing only the area of the body being worked on by the therapist. This ensures that you feel secure and modest while also allowing the therapist to access the muscles effectively.

Is Swedish massage full body?

Yes, Swedish massage is often performed as a full-body treatment. This includes massaging your feet, legs, back, arms, shoulders, and neck. You can request your therapist for a focused session too. So, if, for instance, you’re experiencing a bad backache or your calf muscles are sore, you can ask them to target those specific areas over and above the full body.

What to avoid after a Swedish massage?

A full body massage can leave you feeling relaxed and blissful. Here are some things to avoid after your session to keep feeling you that way all day.

1. Drink a lot of water

Any massage helps release toxins and relaxes your muscles. So, it is advisable to drink plenty of water after a massage session. In any case, there is a good possibility you will feel very thirsty after a full body massage session. So have yourself a glass of water or three.

2. Avoid any strenuous activities

Remember, your muscles are likely sore after a full body massage. This might make you feel more flexible and therefore inspire you to indulge in strenuous physical activities such as going to the gym or for a run. Avoid intense physical activities immediately after the massage to allow your muscles to fully relax and recuperate.

3. Avoid a hot bath or sauna

The Swedes may be known for their saunas but getting into one after a Swedish massage session is not recommended. This is also true of hot baths as they can cause dizziness. It is best to let the oils soak into your muscles for an hour or two before you go for a warm (and not hot) shower.

4. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and overeating 

Alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your body’s ability to fully benefit from the relaxation effects of a full body Swedish massage. This also holds true when you overeat, as a full stomach may be detrimental to the relaxing process.

Swedish massage isn’t just a luxurious treat. It is essential to enhancing both physical and mental well-being. Its techniques help relieve stress and address a range of health concerns. And, under the hands of our trained therapists, you are bound to emerge feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

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