The Many Benefits of Swedish Massage

I feel enormously grateful to have a profession that I love and am passionate about.  My training in Complementary Therapies started in September of 2014 at Mid Cheshire College in Hartford, Cheshire.  The course was a total revelation to me and I eagerly looked forward to each new day of learning. My only regret is that it was a fast track course and only lasted 9 months where in fact, I wish I’d had the time and resources to be on a 3 year degree course so that I could immerse myself further and deepen my understanding and knowledge. 

I ensure that I expand my knowledge by studying a new treatment at least once a year but this isn’t enough for me and doesn’t dampen my curiosity so I spend time whenever I can studying independently at home.

Recently I have been studying massage which is used in some way in every one of the treatments that I offer with the exception of Reiki.  The benefits of having a massage are many and I want to share them with you.

My aim when giving a client a treatment is always to meet their expectations but preferably to exceed them.  Occasionally I have a client who has certain medical issues and I strive to relieve them of their symptoms by using my therapies.  However, I am aware of my limitations as I am not medically trained, but recently, I have asked a few of my clients if I can offer them the full range of my therapies to see if I can find one that would best suit their particular ailment and bring about some relief.  The results of these case studies I will share with you soon.

I chose to become a Complementary Therapist because ultimately I want to be able to help people with whatever symptoms are troubling them.  I get enormous job satisfaction from making a difference to someone’s well being. Part of my job is to discuss with a client what problems they are currently struggling with and find a way or a method to best deal with these problems.  I sincerely hope that no one ever leaves my salon without some benefit from the treatment that I have given them.

So, if you ever wondered what all the fuss is about and why do people have massages – then here are some reasons that I hope may encourage you to give it go for yourself.  My next massage can’t come soon enough!

 Psychological effects

  • Relief of tension helps with mental relaxation
  • Improved motivation helps clients stick to a healthy eating plan
  • Helps clients to unwind and talk about problems
  • Feelings of being pampered
  • Relief from insomnia
  • Aids mental clarity and concentration
  • Creates feelings of well-being and health
  • Promotes feelings of vigour and increases energy
  • Creates postural awareness
  • Promotes feelings of being cared for and cosseted which in turn promote relaxation contentment and satisfaction

Impact of increased blood flow

  • Increases the amount of blood flow into the area being massaged and causes dilation of superficial capillaries – erythema
  • Reduces viscosity of blood which temporarily reduces blood pressure
  • Improves the flow of blood through the veins and stimulates the removal of waste via the venous flow
  • Improves the supply of oxygen and nutrients via arterial circulation which nourishes tissues and can encourage healing by cell growth and repair
  • Massage speeds up the flow of blood through the veins.  This venous blood carries away metabolic waste products more quickly.  Therefore, massage will relieve pain and stiffness by flushing out metabolic waste and relieving the pressure on the capillaries which restores free flow of blood within the tissue.

Effects on waste removal

  • Constipation may be prevented or eased by using gentle movements in a clockwise direction over the intestines.
  • Stimulation of the renal system increases the excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus and salt.
  • Stimulates the flow of lymph.
  • Reduces generalised swelling in the tissues.
  • Stimulates the absorption of waste products.
  • Massage prevents or reduces oedema by facilitating the transfer of fluid across vessel walls.
  • Regular massage on areas of cellulite can help increase blood and lymphatic circulation and so aid the removal of toxins that often build up in these areas due to poor circulation.

Effects on the immune system

  • The calming and de-stressing effects of massage are thought to help boost a depressed immune system.
  • Petrissage stimulates the lymphatic flow and removal of waste products.
  • Effleurage and stroking may reduce oedema
  • Slow gentle massage towards lymph nodes encourages drainage and filtration.

Effects of massage on the skin

  • Warming the skin produces an erythema.
  • Improved circulation helps with the removal of waste products from the skin.
  • Desquamation improves tone and appearance.
  • Stimulation of sebaceous and sweat glands forms the acid mantle for a cleansing effect.
  • Due to the increase to the cells of oxygen and nutrients the skin will look and feel softer.

Massage improves the condition of the skin because the increased blood supply increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen and speeds up the removal of metabolic waste.  Metabolism is increased. More cells move upwards towards the surface, improving the condition of the skin as old cells are replaced. The colour of the skin is improved. Sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce and release more sebum.  This lubricates the skin and keeps it soft and supple. The oil used as a medium also lubricates and softens the skin. Sweat glands are stimulated to produce more sweat which aids the cleansing and elimination of waste.

Effects on the nervous system

  • Effleurage: soothing and calming effects on the nerve endings and relaxation either locally or the whole body.
  • Petrissage: When applied firm and slow they are relaxing and a release of tension.  When applied superficially and quick they are stimulating and refreshing.
  • Tapotement: Stimulates sensory nerves to invigorate.
  • Pressures: Over nerves can produce a deadening effect which will temporarily relieve pain.
  • Slow, rhythmical massage produces a soothing, sedative effect on sensory nerve endings, promoting general relaxation.  Vigorous brisk massage will have a stimulation effect, producing feelings of vigour and glow.

Effects on the metabolism

  • Massage increases the body’s production of gastric juices and saliva which assist in the breakdown of food for digestion and absorption which results in an increased metabolic rate.
  • Massage is thought to help the dispersal of fat because the deeper movements stimulate blood flow to the area, this softens the area and speeds up removal via the circulating blood.
  • Abdominal massage stimulates the movement of digested food through the colon and is helpful for relieving constipation and flatulence.
  • Massage increases the body’s production of gastric juices and saliva which assist in the breakdown of food for digestion and absorption resulting in increased metabolism.

Effects on the muscles

  • Relieves muscular tension (effleurage and petrissage).
  • Increases flexibility (petrissage)
  • Improves muscle tone (tapotement).
  • Relaxes the nerve fibres (vibrations, effleurage, petrissage).
  • Relieves aches and pains (effleurage, petrissage, and deep frictions).

Massage on muscle tissue increases the blood supply to muscles and fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients are brought to the muscles.  The metabolic rate is increased and the condition of the muscle will improve. Massage will reduce pain, stiffness and muscle fatigue produced by the accumulation of waste following anaerobic contraction.  Massage will break down adhesions and fibrostic nodules which may have developed within the muscles as a result of tension, poor posture or injury.

Headaches

  • Contraction of the neck and head muscles
  • Contracted muscles put pressure on the nerves
  • Restrictive blood flow
  • Focus on effleurage and gentle kneading and then onto frictions where there is greater tension and spasm.
  • Scalp massage should concentrate on the temporalis muscle.
  • Facial massage should concentrate on the frontalis and masseters.