Swedish massage is the foundation for all Western styles of table massage and is the most commonly practiced form of massage therapy in the West. The goal of Swedish massage is to induce the natural relaxation response in the body, while also improving circulation, decreasing muscle tension, and improving range of motion. By addressing the entirety of the body in long, smooth strokes it gives the client a sense of full body connectivity and ease, soothing the nervous system and undoing the effects of chronic and acute stress. In scientific studies, Swedish massage has been shown to increase oxygen levels in the blood, decrease muscle toxins, increase immune system function (through increased levels of lymphocytes) and decrease levels of the stress hormones (including cortisol, as well as arginine-vasopressin, which stimulates the release of cortisol).
What Does a Swedish Massage Feel Like?
Swedish massage targets the topmost layers of muscles in conjunction with light movement at the joints, utilizing soft, long, kneading strokes as well as light, rhythmic tapping strokes. All of these strokes are targeted towards the heart, increasing blood flow. As Swedish massage is the foundation of the development of Western massage therapy, most people are familiar with its methods of effleurage, petrissage, friction, vibration, and percussion (tapotement), which systematically relax the body and calm the mind. Using these various strokes, a Swedish massage therapist can craft a massage session to be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the needs of your body and the style of the massage therapist. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, elbows, and forearms to deliver pressure throughout the body. During a Swedish massage, the therapist traditionally applies oil to hydrate the body and offer smooth, continuous strokes.
History of Swedish Massage
The name “Swedish massage,” is actually a misnomer, as it was officially codified and taught by a Dutch massage practitioner, Johann Georg Mezger, who gave French names to the strokes found in this style. It is perhaps called “Swedish massage” because of its origins in at the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute in Sweden, where principal Pehr Henrik Ling developed the “Swedish Movement Cure,” which would become what we know today as Swedish massage. The strokes found in Swedish massage were developed using principles of physiology and anatomy. This differs from massage therapy techniques developed in the East, which are primarily based on energetic maps of the body.
Swedish massage was the first form of massage to come to the United States and arrived in the mid-1800s. Swedish massage techniques were used by nurses in hospitals to reduce pain and aid sleep, and the form gained increased popularity during the 1970s when athletes began using it as a regular part of their training schedule.
Who We Are
Colorado Body Wisdom is a healing arts and massage studio located in Boulder, Colorado. We are committed to providing the highest quality treatments delivered with compassion by only the most skilled therapists in the field. Our mission is to spread health and relieve suffering through the compassionate, skillful, and joyful practice of massage therapy, healing arts, and wellness education.
We strive to assist clients in living satisfied and authentic lives by: delivering the highest quality massage and therapeutic treatments; receiving clients with deep compassion while creating a safe space for emotional release and personal discovery; and orienting our treatments towards each client’s innate health–not their illness or pain.
At Colorado Body Wisdom, the well-being of our therapists is just as important as that of our clients. CBW owner, Rachel Scott, founded the company with the intention of creating a mutually supportive, inclusive, and harassment-free work environment for women in the healing arts. CBW is committed to providing a safe space for female practitioners to develop their skills and build a career in a profession they love.
We invite you to come in and experience the multitude of benefits of massage therapy for yourself!