There are hundreds of different massage techniques over the world.  The vast majority have taken their bases in the classic Swedish massage (Swedish massage).  It is also the one that is that is most widely used method of massage in the western world.

In Sweden, "Swedish massage" is simply known as "classic massage".  And that is exactly what it is - a classic treatment which represents the western standard for massage.  Swedish massage has been portrayed on TV in the past as a very hard massage performed by some sadistic therapist in a medical-style uniform, but this is just TV...

The five main techniques used in Swedish massage - stroking and gliding; kneading; rubbing; tapping or "pounding"; vibration - are probably what spring to mind when you think about a "typical" massage.  They're designed to improve your circulation, soothe your muscles and make you more relaxed.

What is Swedish massage good for?

Swedish massage uses softer strokes on the bonier and more delicate parts of the body, and stronger strokes where there is thicker muscle coverage.  This sensitivity to pressure makes it ideal for relaxation.

Besides the calming benefits, Swedish massage is thought to be good for:

easing muscular strain by flushing out toxins

improving circulation by increasing oxygen flow in the blood

helping to keep ligaments and tendons supple

stimulating the nervous system

reducing emotional and physical stress.

When you book

Check about what you should wear.  If the thought of removing all your clothes makes you blush, you will need to bring loose, comfortable clothing.  Be aware though that the oils and lotions used in massage can stain fabrics, so it's a good idea to opt for something old.


As with all treatments, inform your therapist of any medical conditions you may have and tell them if you are - or just think you might be - pregnant.  It's best to avoid heavy meals and alcohol in the hours leading up to your massage.

What to expect from a Swedish massage

Your massage will probably last around 60 minutes.  You'll be given time to undress privately and lie down on the massage table, which is padded for extra comfort, where you may cover yourself with towels.  You don't have to be completely exposed at any point; your therapist can uncover one little bit of you at a time depending on the area she is focusing on.  If you're worried about anything, don't hesitate to say so.

Your therapist might assess your complexion at the start of your treatment and choose essential oils or lotions to suit your skin type.  These will be massaged into your body with a series of strokes and techniques classic to Swedish massage.  The treatment is very sensitive to pressure and takes into account the delicate or tender areas of your body, so it should be comfortable and soothing.

Our therapist likes to play music during massage, as it can help you to unwind.  Don't be afraid to say if you'd prefer not to have it - or indeed if you're unhappy with anything else in the treatment room.  Being content in your surroundings is important for relaxation and will help you sink happily into your massage.

The same goes for talking.  Our therapist is very sensitive as to how much the client wants to communicate and will limit or encourage conversation accordingly.  Some people like to chat a bit; others don't.  It doesn't matter as long as you're comfortable, relaxed and receptive.


All massage can leave you feeling thirsty and needing to go to the toilet more than usual - this is because it's got your lymph circulation going and your body is flushing out toxins.  Drink plenty of water afterwards as you slowly drift back to planet Earth.


You'll probably feel quite relaxed and maybe even sleepy, so give yourself plenty of time to unwind.  Savour the feeling of having every muscle in your body gently stretched and smoothed out.

Swedish massage therapy is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage.  As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body.  This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart.  But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.

A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.

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