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15 Health Benefits of Swedish Massage

15 Health Benefits of Swedish Massage

An hour of full body massage is said to be equivalent to 8 hours of sound sleep. Swedish or classic massage, the most popular type of massage, helps relieve physical and mental stress. Read this Buzzle article to know what is meant by Swedish massage, and what are its health benefits.
Leena Palande
Did You Know?
Touch, the first sense to develop in humans, stimulates the release of endorphins (the body's natural painkillers). Physical touch, for example, hugs, massages, holding hands, can relieve stress. A touch of any kind can calm down the nerves, reduce the heart rate, and lower blood pressure.
Archeological evidence shows that massage therapy was popular in many ancient civilizations. Physicians have been using customized massage to treat specific ailments and injuries since thousands of years. It is perhaps the oldest and the best alternative therapy. There exist hundreds of types, styles, and methods of massage, for example, acupressure, deep tissue, shiatsu, hot stone, sports, Thai massage, and reflexology. The most popular is the Swedish massage, a whole-body therapeutic massage that promotes relaxation of the muscles and joints.
The advantages of massage therapy mainly depend on the severity of the condition, frequency, and duration of massage sessions, the skill of the therapist in selecting the type of strokes, correct application of pressure, etc. The atmosphere in a spa should be clean, sterile, and refreshing.
What is a Swedish Massage
In 1878, Dutch masseur Johan Georg Mezger used the following five French terms for the five basic massage techniques. He used the phrase 'Swedish massage system' for the first time. The system involves the use of five styles of strokes that are still known by their French names.

✦ 1. Effleurage: It means 'to touch lightly on'.

✦ 2. Petrissage: It means to knead. It involves gently lifting, pressing, rolling, and squeezing parts of the body.

✦ 3. Friction: Firm, circular rubbing movement.

✦ 4. Tapotement: It involves brisk, rapid pounding movements on the body, with fingers, cupped hands, or with the sides of the hands.

✦ 5. Vibration: Shaking certain muscles rapidly. It involves quick movements. It can be performed with an electronic device.

The term 'Swedish massage' is, in fact, used only in English and Dutch speaking countries, and in Hungary. In all other countries, including Sweden, the style is known as 'classic massage.'
Swedish Massage Benefits
✦ 1. A full-body massage promotes relaxation of the entire body. It can prove to be rejuvenating, mood-enhancing, and energizing.

✦ 2. With regular massage, those diagnosed with osteoarthritis experience improvement in the function of affected joints, especially the knees, within a couple of months. The health benefits of Swedish massage therapy may vary from patient to patient, depending on the type and severity of the condition.

✦ 3. A massage helps get rid of accumulated toxins (for example, lactic acid) in the tissues, bones, and joints. Thus, it helps eliminate the root cause of various diseases.

✦ 4. It improves blood circulation significantly. As a result of this, cells receive more nutrients and oxygen. This helps improve the function of bodily systems and organs. As this boosts the immune system too, chances of ailments are significantly reduced.

✦ 5. It increases the flexibility (range) of joints by reducing stiffness, pain, and tension. This in turn improves the mobility of the person. Increased physical activity helps improve the overall health of the person in various ways.

✦ 6. As it improves blood circulation, it significantly decreases the healing time and promotes fast recovery.

✦ 7. It helps relieve mental stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Studies show that a massage helps reduce the levels of arginine vasopressin―a hormone that encourages the release of cortisol. Excess cortisol can affect the functioning of the immune system. Moreover, extra cortisol can lead to weight gain. Thus, massage helps maintain weight and health.

✦ 8. Regular massage with essential oils can offer glowing and young-looking skin. The light strokes used during effleuragepromote relaxation of soft tissues and encourage sleep. They are incorporated in the facial as well as body massage. Deep effleurageinvolves stretching and relaxing tense muscles with long gliding strokes. It helps improve blood circulation.

✦ 9. Effleurage helps warm up the muscles before deep tissue work is done using petrissage and other techniques.

✦ 10. A massage helps break down scar tissues.

✦ 11. Tapotement helps athletes to get ready for and recover from challenging workouts. It relaxes and softens the strained muscles.

✦ 12. Regular massage promotes mental and physical rejuvenation. The person can experience and enjoy peace of mind. This helps improve his/her performance.

✦ 13. As the massage improves blood circulation, it relieves stress-related headaches and migraines. Various studies have shown that massage can relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

✦ 14. A 2003 study found that a massage can reduce the need for painkillers, in case of persistent back pain, by 36%. Massage therapy can be very effective, particularly for back pain.

✦ 15. In case of cancer patients, a massage can help reduce the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Massage therapy can be used as a complementary therapy along with proper medication and treatment. One can opt for it after consultation with a physician, especially after an injury or illness, provided the masseur is properly trained, experienced, and licensed. A Swedish Massage not only promotes relaxation of the body, but it also boosts the immune system by decreasing muscle toxins, increasing blood oxygen level, improving blood circulation, and lowering stress.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a physician.