We take massage seriously.
Massage is not only one of the best services to relieve stress and allow one to feel pampered, it is also an integral part or a true wellness regimen. Our therapists are some of the best and most respected in Wilmington
his book, The
American Holistic Health Associations Complete Guide to Alternative
Medicine, William Collinge, M.P.H., PhD. classifies Swedish
massage as a Traditional European massage type. Traditional European
massage includes methods based on conventional Western concepts
of anatomy and physiology and soft tissue manipulation.
European massage was brought to the United States by two doctors
from New York who were brothers— Charles and George Taylor—who
studied in Sweden and introduced Americans to Swedish techniques
in the 1850s. After the Civil War, the first Swedish clinics opened
in Boston and Washington, the latter frequented by U. S. Grant.
massage is the most predominant example of traditional European
massage and it is the most commonly used method in the United States.
It was developed by Per Henrik Ling in Sweden in the 1830s and uses
a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques
on the more superficial layers of muscles. It usually goes in the
direction of blood flow toward the heart because there is an emphasis
on stimulating the circulation of the blood through the soft tissues
of the body. Swedish can be a relatively vigorous form of massage,
sometimes with a great deal of joint movement included.
massage can :
- improve circulation without increasing heart load,
- increase range of motion,
- help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, a better
awareness of their body and the way they use and position it,
- relieve pain and discomfort associated with muscle tension,
fractures, sprains, sciatica, and stiff joints,
- shorten recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue
of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes,
- stretch the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple,
- stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time
relaxing the nerves themselves,
- help reduce emotional and physical stress. It is often recommended
as part of a regular program for stress management, and
- be used in clinical settings as medical or remedial therapy.
is usually used, first warmed in the therapist's hands, which facilitates
the stroking and kneading of the body, thereby stimulating metabolism
and circulation. Its active and passive movements of the joints
promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion,
and relieve muscle tension. Swedish massage is often given as a
complete, full body technique where all the major muscle groups
are covered, though sometimes only a part of the body is worked
to Steve Capellini in his book, The
Royal Treatment : How You Can Take Home the Pleasures of the Great
Luxury Spas, there are a number of soft tissue manipulation
techniques used in Swedish Massage:
Effleurage - These are long flowing or gliding strokes, usually
toward the heart, tracing the outer contours of the body - meant
to soothe. Palms are used separately or together to glide gently
over the skin. This spreads the massage oil, warms up the muscles,
and lets the recipient become accustomed to the therapist's touch.
- Petrissage - These are strokes that lift, roll, or knead the
tissue much like kneading dough. This brings circulation into
the area, helps unwind taut muscles and fascia, and is deeply
- Pinpoint pressure - This focuses on points that are painful
to the touch, bunched up, knotted, or especially hard. The thumb
or forefinger is used to apply pressure directly to the area -
just enough to release the muscle, but not hard enough to hurt.
This gives muscle spasms and tense spots relief by gradually helping
them to release chronic holding patterns.
- Deep Friction - These are small circular strokes ranging in
size from a quarter to a teacup which press just below the surface
of the skin onto the muscles below. Sometimes short (a few inches
long) straight lines are used at this level of pressure. This
soothes deeper areas in muscles made tight by exercise and everyday
- Skin Rolling - This is often easier without oil. A fold of skin
is pinched between the fingers and the fingers are walked forward,
maintaining the roll while moving. This lifts skin away from underlying
tissues, aiding in superficial circulation and improving skin
- Tapotement (percussion or tapping) - The hands of the therapists
are cupped or in a "karate chop" position while the wrists are
loose. The therapist gently and rhythmically taps on the recipient's
body. This wakes up the body, brings a tingling feeling, and a
feeling of increased vitality.
- Fingertip brushing - This is usually done at the close of a
full-body massage session. The therapist uses just the tips of
the fingers to gently graze the surface of the skin with very
light pressure. This calms and soothes the nervous system and
relaxes extrastimulated muscles after deeper massage.
recipient of a Swedish massage may be completely undressed or remain
in underwear. The therapist leaves most of the body draped by a
sheet or light cover, exposing only the area to be massaged. Sessions
last from 30 - 60 minutes and usually cost between $30 - $100.
massage is not recommended for anyone who is experiencing fever,
diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, varicose veins, bleeding,
acute phlebitis, or thrombosis. In the case of high blood pressure
or heart problems, avoid massage to the abdomen. Anyone with fractures
or bruises should not receive massage on areas of injury. Pregnant
women should check with their doctors first.
used to research this article:
The Medium is the Massage, Lee Reilly, Natural Remedies Magazine,
Healthy Living's Complete Guide to Massage, Debra Kent, Country
Living's Healthy Living Magazine, Fall 1997
Thank you and enjoy!