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swedish massage

massage is good preventative health care  +-

Rub a little more, in that direction, yes, just right there….Aaaahhhh….

Swedish Massage treatment
courtesy abmp
Swedish Massage is the most common type of massage and bodywork specialty in the Western world. It is the form most commonly referred to as relaxation massage, and what people think of when they hear the word “massage”.
Swedish Massage is a system of therapeutic massage and exercise for the muscles and joints, developed in Sweden in the 19th Century and is used with the intent to improve circulation and tissue elasticity and promotes relaxation by creating a parasympathetic neurological response.

documented health benefits of swedish massage  +-
More research has been done on the benefits of Swedish Massage than any other type, mostly because it is the most ubiquitous. But as more research is being done, the more we know that the benefits listed below are applicable across the board to any type of Bodywork.
(from ABMP)

• Reduces the flow of stress hormones
• Improves sleep
• Improves energy levels and reduces fatigue
• Improves concentration
• Increases circulation
• Improves self-esteem
• Reduces frequency of headaches
• Releases endorphins
• Reduces low-back pain and improves range of motion
• Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shortens maternity hospital stays
• Eases medication dependence
• Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system
• Exercises and stretches weak, tight, or atrophied muscles
• Helps athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
• Improves the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin
• Increases joint flexibility
• Lessens depression and anxiety
• Promotes tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
• Pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
• Reduces post surgery adhesions and swelling
• Reduces spasms and cramping
• Relaxes and softens injured, tired, and overused muscles
• Releases endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller
• Relieves migraine pain

Research Shows:
• Massage can reduce sports-related soreness and improve circulation — good to know when you may be exercising more to reduce stress.
• Deep-tissue massage is effective in treating back pain, and arthritis.
• Fibromyalgia patients receiving massage have less pain, depression, anxiety, stiffness, fatigue and problematic sleep.
• Massage reduces symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Oncology patients show less pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, and depression following massage therapy.
• Stroke patients show less anxiety and lower blood pressure with massage therapy.
• Alzheimer’s patients exhibit reduced pacing, irritability, and restlessness after neck and shoulder massage.
• Massage during labor appears to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles, and help block pain. Massage may also reduce tearing, shorten labor, reduce the need for medication, and shorten hospital stays.
• Preterm babies receiving massage therapy gain more weight and have shorter hospital stays than infants not receiving massage.
• Massage is beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis, asthma, burns, high blood pressure, and premenstrual syndrome.

what to expect in a swedish massage therapy session  +-
Massage Therapy is a highly regulated professional service in most of the United States. Requirements generally include having a license to practice, an adherence to a professional code of conduct and hygienic standards, and conformance to the HIPAA health privacy law. Many states also require a massage therapist to conduct a health intake interview before starting any bodywork and to have a criminal records history background check.

Your practitioner is your best source of information. If you are a new client they will likely ask you some basic questions when you contact them, to get a sense of what you are looking for and to make sure your needs and goals correspond well with their training and expertise. Often they will send you forms to fill out and more information about their policies and procedures ahead of the session time.

When you arrive, your practitioner will go over your health history with you, clarify information on your forms as necessary, and set goals for the session with you. They will familiarize you with their workspace and any other particulars you should know.

Depending on the type of massage therapy you are receiving, you may undress fully, partly or not at all before the massage. To help your therapist make sure you receive the highest benefit from your massage session, be sure and ask questions if you need to, or give your practitioner feedback about your preferences. You may talk during the session or not, as you wish. Most therapists consider it an honor when you fall asleep during your session, as it validates your comfort level and relaxation state.

After the session, your massage therapist will usually leave the room to allow you time and space to awaken, re-orient and get dressed. They will then review the session with you, letting you know what they found and set a course of action to reach your goals. This may be a formal treatment plan, outlining how often and when you should have a massage, as well as suggestions of stretches or other self-care techniques you can do at home. Then it’s time to say goodbye until next time.

frequently asked questions about swedish massage therapy  +-
Do I have to get completely undressed?

No, client comfort is paramount in any bodywork session. If you don’t want to get undressed at all, speak to your practitioner about it. Many massage techniques can be performed with clothes on, and the session is still highly beneficial to the client. A professional practitioner should always ask you to undress just to your comfort level, whatever that is, and they will work around it. In addition, some types of massage therapy, like Thai massage, are performed with your clothes on.

Will I have to undress in front of the practitioner?

It is professionally unethical in the USA for a practitioner to be present when you undress. Other countries may have other social or ethical norms.

What do you do exactly?

This will depend to a certain extent on the modality being used, the practitioner and their training, and the treatment goals for the session that you will have discussed with your practitioner before beginning any table work. In general, Swedish Massage Therapists will use an oil or cream product and long strokes (effleurage), short strokes (petrissage), cross muscle fiber, compression and percussion (drumming) techniques with various levels of pressure and timing to achieve the desired results.

What will I feel?

Massage can elicit many different responses. You may feel heat or cold, body twitching, relaxation, spasms and muscular releases even where the practitioner is not working. Very often you will experience body noises, which are music to a practitioners ears. Most notably, your stomach will likely growl, gurgle or rumble; these are all signs the session is affecting the function of your autonomic nervous system (ANS). You may drift off to sleep or feel so relaxed you forget where you are.

What if I am uncomfortable, don’t like what the practitioner is doing, want to stop or need to go to the bathroom?

Again, the client’s comfort is paramount in any bodywork session. If you are uncomfortable in any way, you are not benefiting the most from your session, and you need to inform your practitioner immediately. We all want to do our best work for our clients, and ultimately, the client knows what that is. So your practitioner will thank you for the feedback.

Do I talk during the session?

Yes and or no.  This is your session, and you ultimately know what you need. Sometimes a client needs to talk to process through what their body is releasing. Sometimes they need to drift off. It is not rude not to talk to your practitioners; we know it is in your best interest. If we don’t initiate a conversation it’s not that we aren’t interested in you, it is because it is considered unprofessional for a practitioner to chat with you during your session. So we will look to you for guidance in what you need.

How often should I receive Massage Therapy?

Most practitioners will tell you “as often as you feel the need or as often as you can”. Your practitioner is the best resource to ask, because they will know why you are seeing them and can devise a treatment plan based on the uniqueness of your situation. To receive the most cumulative benefits, many practitioners recommend no less than once a month.

Can Massage Therapy bring on a healing crisis or make me physically ill?

Sometimes.  Bodywork, including massage, takes about 24-72 hours to work through the system. It can bring old emotions, and memories that have lain dormant in the system to the surface, as well as toxins or other physical items that are deeply stored in the body. In addition, it can change the physical holding patterns of the muscles. It is not unusual to feel these emotions again as they release, or to be tired and achy after a session. You can also get physical symptoms such as congestion, coughs, loose bowels or increased urinary amounts as the system clears itself and rebalances. If you have a more severe reaction and think it may be related to the session, it is best to check in with your practitioner, as they know your unique situation.

Can Massage Therapy do harm?

Only if you have certain medical conditions.  Certain massage techniques can be harmful in certain situations.

For this reason, it is important to communicate a thorough health history to your practitioner, who can assess the situation and adjust your session as necessary, or recommend an alternative therapy.

A professional practitioner will do a health history intake before your first session, and will ask for any updates every time they see you. Most states require LMT’s (licensed massage therapists) to abide by federal HIPAA laws, just like your doctor. If your practitioner belongs to a professional organization they are required to abide by a code of ethics that includes closely guarding patient confidentiality. Any questions or concerns should be addressed to your practitioner, who knows you best.

Can Massage Therapy heal illnesses like cancer?

The human body has an immense capacity to heal itself. All healing that is accomplished is done by the clients system, not by the practitioner. It is generally accepted that massage techniques alone cannot heal disease, but have been shown to help support and increase the immune system functioning and help clients manage the day to day affects of living with chronic illness by reducing stress and increasing endorphins.

Can animals benefit from Massage Therapy?

Yes.  Animals are people too, or at least their anatomy and physiology is similar. Animal massage, especially for horses, is an accepted practice. Some states require separate licensing of animal practitioners.

Will my body be covered during my session?

Yes, in the United States you will be professionally draped during your massage session, so that only the part of the body the practitioner is working on will be exposed. No private parts of the body are ever exposed.

sources of information  +-

To learn more about massage therapy and swedish massage therapy we recommend the following:

These links were used as sources of information in writing this page:

associated bodywork and massage professionals

the free dictionary

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