Why You Should Get a Swedish Massage

A Swedish massage is probably the type of massage that most of us think of when they think of a classic, relaxing massage. Pretty much every spa will offer a Swedish massage as standard; perfect for those without any specific needs they want to address and are just looking for something relaxing and enjoyable.

What is a Swedish massage?

Swedish massage is a type of therapeutic massage designed to relax the entire body. It is a gentle massage that uses long strokes, kneading, circular movements, and tapping to help relax and energize the body. Swedish massage is a popular choice for people who are new to massage, as it is gentle and relaxing.

Though there is some debate as to whether Swedish massage actually originated in Sweden – with some claiming it to be Dutch in origin – there’s no doubt that it quickly became entrenched in Swedish culture.

Per Henrik Ling is said to have invented Swedish massage. Having been a gymnastics teacher and a fencing instructor, this eclectic character was said to have been keen to help the Swedish king get his army’s troops in shape after a failed military operation. His method focused on the benefits of specific physical movements that would improve both physical and mental wellbeing.

The techniques differentiated Swedish massage from Chinese massage by focusing less on concepts like meridians, life force and balancing qi,with more focus on the physical than the spiritual.

The gentle circular pressure techniques that are typical of all Swedish massage include a few key moves you might recognise:

  • Effleurage – gentle stroking, often including long strokes
  • Petrissage – kneading the muscles
  • Vibration – light tapping or other techniques that cause vibrations
  • Hacking – the karate-chop style

Reasons to get a Swedish massage

There are many benefits to getting a Swedish massage. Here are just a few:

Relieves stress

Swedish massages are a great way to relax and unwind. Known for its long flowing strokes the massage helps to calm the mind and ease tension in the body. Stress can cause all sorts of problems for both your physical and mental health, causing problems such as insomnia, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. Getting a regular Swedish massage can really help to reduce stress and its negative impact on your body.

Improves circulation

Swedish massages are said to help improve circulation by increasing blood flow to the muscles and tissues, which can help to oxygenate the body and improve overall health. Good circulation is essential for maintaining overall health and wellness. It helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells, tissues, and organs, while also removing waste products and toxins. By improving circulation, Swedish massage can help to support the body’s natural healing processes and boost overall health.

Boosts immune system

While we’re on the topic, Swedish massages have been shown to boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, helping to protect the body against illness and disease. When the immune system is functioning optimally, we’re better able to fight off illness and maintain good health.

Reduces muscle tension

Whether you’ve got sore muscles from working out and training hard, or pain and discomfort from the simple act of sitting at a desk all day, the kneading and circular movements of Swedish massage are great to help to loosen tight muscles and reduce muscle tension.

Any number of things can give you uncomfortable muscle tension, anything from stress to poor posture, and overworked muscles. Tight and sore muscles can lead to discomfort and stiffness as well as reduced mobility, all of which can be alleviated by the techniques of a Swedish massage. 

Pregnancy

Swedish massage is also a great option for people who are pregnant. It can help to reduce pregnancy-related aches and pains, as well as improve circulation and reduce stress. As long as you let your massage therapist know you’re pregnant, they can adjust the massage techniques and pressure to ensure your comfort and safety.

Relaxation

When everything else is said and done, you can always just get a Swedish massage because you find them relaxing and enjoyable. If you have no specific physical concerns that need addressing, the simple desire to relax and unwind makes a Swedish massage 100% worthwhile.

The gentle touch and soothing techniques can help to calm the mind and promote feelings of relaxation and well-being, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, while also improving sleep and mood.

Overall, Swedish massage is a safe and effective way to relax and improve your overall health and well-being. It is a great choice for people of all ages, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual. Whether you are looking to reduce stress, improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, boost your immune system, or simply relax and de-stress, Swedish massage has something to offer. So why wait? Consider getting a Swedish massage today and discover the many benefits for yourself!

How much does a Swedish massage cost?

The cost of a Swedish massage will vary depending on how long your treatment is and where you get your massage. In the US, the average cost of a Swedish massage ranges from $30 all the way to $130 depending on where you go and how long you book for.

Massages tend to be a minimum of 30 minutes with most being 45 minutes to an hour, but if you really want to relax then you could book 90 minute sessions or longer, but you’ll obviously have to pay more.

What is the difference between a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage?

As the name implies, deep tissue massage focuses deeper into your body tissues, targeting the inner layers of your muscles, tendons and fascia, the dense connective tissue. To achieve this your therapist will use different techniques and a lot more pressure.

Typically in a deep tissue massage, your therapist will massage layer by layer, applying more and more pressure and using different techniques with fingers, fists – and when things get really serious – their elbows.

A deep tissue massage is suited to athletes, runners, or those with other physically challenging jobs or hobbies. It’s also ideal for people with injuries or chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia or lower back pain.

A deep tissue massage will target specific problems and work to improve your quality of life, however it will be intense and often quite painful. So if you’re looking for a more relaxing massage rather than something to tackle specific pain or injuries, you’re better off booking a Swedish massage vs a deep tissue massage.


Callahan is a fitness enthusiast who moonlights on the growth team at ClassPass. She's a certified fitness trainer, with years of fitness experience both inside and outside of the gym. When she's not working you can find her pursuing her passion projects as editor of Trek Montana, contributing writer to the Ultimate Nashville Bach Planning Site and Plan Your Bach.
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