Swedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. It’s the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage, and aromatherapy massage, and is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, as opposed to energy work on “meridians” or sen lines in Asian massage systems.

If it’s your first time getting a massage or you don’t get massaged often, Swedish massage is the best place to start.Most people get a 60, 75 or 90-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90-minutes gives the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve results.

A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist’s and client goals for the session.

If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure to get relief from chronic muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage. If you have pain, it will likely take a series of massages to get results.

What Happens During A Swedish Massage

In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits.

Before the massage, the therapist will ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she should know about.

Things you would want tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell them up front if you have a preference for light or firm pressure. It’s best not to get a massage if you are ill.

After the consultation, the therapist instructs you how to lie on the table — face up or face down, and underneath the sheet or towel — and then leaves the room.

Swedish massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension, but if you truly want deeper, more intensive work and firmer pressure, book a deep tissue massage.

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