Swedish Massage Therapy

Swedish Massage is probably the most widely used system of massage therapy in western cultures today, although there is argument as to its foundations!

Swedish Massage is most commonly accredited to Peter Henry Ling (1776-1837), a Swedish gymnasiarch, but none of the movements, or names of the movements used in Swedish Massage are referred to in his writings titled The Swedish Gymnastic Movements to improve the flexibility and recovery of gymnasts. Research suggests that what we call Swedish Massage was actually a system devised and formalised by the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909), perhaps building on the work of Ling. It was Mezger who coined the terms effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (striking) from the French with frictions and vibration added by later practitioners.

Medical History & Lifestyle Assessment

When you come for your first appointment, a medical history and lifestyle assessment will be taken and made. Any pre-existing conditions, aches, pains and major problems must be disclosed. Some of the therapeutic oils commonly used in Swedish Massage can have contra-indications if someone has seizures or epilepsy for example. Some pre-existing conditions need adjustment of the massage in order to maintain the best outcome without exacerbating the problem. If you are being treated by a doctor, consultant or another complementary therapist, it is best to check with them that massage is agreeable to their plan of treatment for you.

The Lifestyle Assessment is an important cue for the therapist to gauge where areas of tension or problems may be concentrated. By gaining this insight about the client, the therapist is better able to care for the whole person, the whole problem, and give workable practical advise on how to help avoid recurrence of the issues.

It is the responsibility of the therapist to get a full picture of the overall health of the client at each visit, but equally, it is up to the individual to be honest and tell their therapist about any pre-existing conditions or particular problems.

The Massage

Access to all of the body is desirable for Swedish Massage Therapy. Modesty is ensured with appropriate draping of soft towels, and your therapist will always respect your body and you by not using intrusive or unnecessary touch. 

We use a blend of plant based oils to nourish and protect your skin from friction damage, either with or without the addition of essential oils, as your expressed preference and your medical conditions indicate during the initial assessment.

For a full body massage, you will be asked to lie on your front. You can put you face in the face hole in the table, on the crescent cushion, or have your head turned, as you feel most comfortable. Where ever your arms and legs feel comfortable is where they should be, although your therapist may ask you to move in a certain way to access deeper muscles. We can provide you with cushioned support for your legs if you get cramps in your feet and so on. The therapy begins on your back with a stroking movement to spread the oils and to introduce your skin to the therapist's hands, gradually focusing on problem areas, one at a time. The massage works down to your legs, then you will be asked to gently turn over and lie on your back, and you will be offered pillows and supports to make sure you are most comfortable. The massage will then work from your ankles up, including your stomach, arms and further work on the muscles of your shoulders and chest. If you have requested that your head, hands or feet be included they will be included while working the closest area. Your therapists’ hands, forearms and fingers may be used throughout the treatment in smooth flowing strokes.

If you have booked a half hour session to address just your back, naturally that is all that will be covered.

During the massage some or all of the classic moves to soothe and restore your natural health will be used unless they are omitted following the medical information and assessment. For example some clients find the tapotement moves are too energizing when they are seeking a relaxing and pampering therapy.

If there is any part of the massage that you would rather omit, or find less pleasant once it has begun, please be sure to talk to your therapist immediately, so that adjustments can be made and the area treated differently or omitted. If you find that having begun the massage, you would rather the therapist focus on one area, for example your back or your ham strings, let the therapist know so that you get the massage you feel you need. It may be possible to extend the session, or it may be that some parts of the therapy will be omitted. Your therapist will discuss your preference with you so you can make the best decision.

After Effects

After your massage your therapist will leave you, comfortably covered and warm, on the massage table for a few minutes to help “set” the relaxation of the therapy so that you are able to maintain the improved state of well being for longer, and also for you to just enjoy the sensation of relaxation before you get ready to leave your therapist’s care.

You may feel either highly energized, or a little laid-back and relaxed. Both are normal reactions and very common. You may have a rush of relaxing endorphins that will lighten your mood and give you a comfortable feeling of overall well-being.

When you are ready to get up and dress, please do so gently - some people may feel light-headed after massage. It is advisable that you drink plenty of water after any massage therapy, as toxins that have built up in your body over time, and have got caught within muscle fibers, are released into your system and need flushing.

Your therapist will then talk to you about any problem areas, and will offer suggestions that suit your lifestyle so that you can reduce the effects that life has on your body. A pint of water is always ready for you to drink as you get dressed, and feel free to ask for more if you are thirsty.