During a Swedish massage, your therapist will first apply massage oil or lotion to your body and then employ long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. These purposeful movements help to warm your muscle tissue, release tension, and release those tight “knots” you may have been experiencing in your neck, shoulders, or back.
n addition, Swedish massage may also incorporate the use of other techniques: circular pressure that is applied by his/her hands and palms, a firm kneading of the muscles, a percussion-like tapping, and even stretching of the joints and muscles.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s study on massages found that people who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced some remarkable and quantifiable health benefits, including:
• significant decrease in the stress hormone cortisol
• boost in the number of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that are necessary to protect the immune system
• increase in the oxygen levels in the blood
• improvement in overall circulation
• release of chronic muscle tension
• increase in joint flexibility