The foundation of Western massage therapy. Swedish Massage has history as long and complex as its techniques. While some say that Swedish Massage is the most “basic”, it’s actually far from it. Swedish Massage requires a range of techniques that must be mastered to achieve full body relaxation.
What makes Swedish Massage different from any other massage? Where did it come from? What techniques does it use? What are the benefits?
While most people suspect that Swedish massage is Swedish, it’s a misnomer. The massage was invented by a Dutch man named Johann Georg Mezger, who was inspired by Per Henrik Ling’s (A Swede) Medical Gymnastics. Because Per Henrik Ling was a major influence, he was credited for the creation of Swedish Massage instead of Johann Mezger.
This misnomer exists only in the U.S. Other countries including all those in Europe refer to Swedish as “Classic Massage” but even that is a misnomer. Both Johann Mezger and Per Henrik Ling were heavily influenced by Eastern style medicine, gymnastics, and massage, which far predate the Swedish massage.
Swedish massage arose from Mezger’s and Ling’s study of Asian practice and has since evolved into the classic style we see today. It uses a variety of techniques
A Swedish Massage uses a wide variety of techniques which work together to create a full-body experience.
- Effleurage: long strokes across certain areas. They follow your veins to push toxins out of your system and reinforce healthy blood flow.
- Petrissage: Sometimes you need to reach deeper muscles. This technique involves kneading with the thumbs and knuckles to relax the top layers of muscle and penetrate the intermediate and deep muscles.
- Tapotement: Also known as Rhythmic Tapping. Instead of moving the toxins out of your body through blood flow, tapotement is designed to find knots and relieve tension by applying pressure on area.
- Friction: Through rubbing the palms of your hands on your muscles, the masseuse creates enough heat from the friction to relax the muscles. This is often done as a warm-up or as a means to prepare for deep-tissue massage.
- Shaking: The goal of this technique is to shake the muscles until they are no longer stiff. This technique uses back and forth action with the fingertips.
The goal of a Swedish Massage is full-body relaxation. It improves circulation over the whole body by focusing on the fascia. Our muscles work hard given the circumstances we put them through and tense up over time. By finding those knots, relieving pressure on the muscles, and then encouraging blood flow to wash toxins out of your body and bring in pain-relieving biochemicals, a Swedish Massage is the best choice for a relaxing experience.
If you search online for what essential oils are safe to use on children, you will find a lot of contradictory information. The truth is that not enough research has been done with essential oils to determine a single universally agreed-on list for children. While some studies have been done, and you can find different iterations of such a list online, we will provide something slightly different.
Your children’s safety is a top priority and we want to make sure you are making the best choices for your children. Please do not be allured by stories of essential oils’ effectiveness on children. No two children are the same and the risk for negative reactions could do significant harm to your children.
See a Doctor
Here is our first piece of advice. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor. Do not use essential oils on your kids until you ask a doctor.
We cannot emphasize this point enough. Your child’s safety is much too important to depend on the trust of any blog on the internet. Essential oils are not covered by the FDA unless they are part of another drug, and each one has different ingredients, each one can impact your child’s health in different ways.
Like allergens, essential oils can have unusual and specific effects you don’t see on other children. Just because your child may not have a peanut allergy doesn’t mean you can safely give peanuts to every child. The same kind of caution on exposing your kids to potential allergens should be used for exposure to essential oils.
And while essential oils are natural, we have one important point to remind you.
Just Because it’s Natural Doesn’t Mean It’s Always Safe
Poison Ivy is completely natural, but no one will tell you that’s a good enough reason to rub it on your skin! In fact there are a lot of harmful substances that are entirely natural. And while essential oils are safe for adults, children’s skin are not as developed, and their immune systems are not nearly strong enough. A child’s growth requires critical supervision and care in what you expose them to.
Some argue that diluting the oil to .25% and rubbing it on your child’s skin is safe, but unless you have an okay from your doctor (which you should have no matter what), we recommend staying safe and using only a diffuser. Risks of a reaction are greatly increased when the oil itself directly interacts with the skin, so we suggest diluting the oil and then diffusing it.
Store your essential oil like it’s your medicine. Keep it locked away completely out of reach of your children. You want to avoid your child ingesting the essential oil at all costs. This means keeping it in a container, cleaning up any and all spills, and locking it away. If your child ingests the oil, call 911.
As your child gets older, and their skin and immune systems mature, more and more essential oils will be considered safe for them to use and can be wonderful with the proper medical supervision.
The school year is about to start and the entire household’s a mess. With so much to prepare for, equipment to buy, schedules to work out, activities, clubs, sports, fees, books, it can get overwhelming on the parents. While we specialize in massage, we know a thing or two about essential oils and know which ones will be helpful in relieving stress in the home.
This blog is geared towards parents, for now we strongly recommend you do not use essential oils on your children unless you know and understand all the risks and requirements. Be on the lookout for a blog post in the future about how to use essential oils safely on your kids. We will say right now that you should treat your EO like medicine, meaning it’s stored out of children’s reach and children should avoid ingesting it at all costs. If your child ingests any essential oil, call a doctor. And if you see signs of poisoning, call 911. Bring the essential oil bottle to the emergency room.
That said, essential oils can be valuable for the home and as long as they are stored properly, you should be fine.
Essential oils come in all sorts of varieties each with their unique medicinal properties. You can use all of these essential oils in a diffuser and you can also add some of them to your bath! Here are our recommendations on essential oils for back to school stress!
- Lavender – Lavender’s one of the most popular essential oils out there. It is proven to be one of the most effective scents in reducing anxiety. Lavender has been used in medicine for centuries across cultures all over the world and has been lauded for its healing powers.
- Jasmine – Jasmine is a lot like Lavender. If you’re worried about getting too accustomed to one, switching off between jasmine and lavender can be effective for sustaining anxiety relief.
- Basil – While the other two are good for anxiety, this one is great for stress. Perfect for ending a full day of errands.
- Frankincense – This one promotes positive, good-will thoughts. Perfect for parents worried about being separated from their children for the day who need something to remind them that everything okay.
- Sandalwood – Like frankincense, sandalwood promotes positively and optimism, and can help you open to new possibilities.
Other essential oils that would work well would be rose, chamomile, lemon, orange, and lemongrass.
The trick is to look for essential oils that can treat anxiety, fatigue, and stress. Use them with a diffuser, and you should have an easier time getting through the day and preparing your children for the school year!
The perfect massage is one that comes at the perfect moment. The amount of time since your last massage, the workouts you do before and after your massage, and the time you schedule your massage are all crucial to the massage experience. Here’s our advice on getting a perfectly timed massage.
Before Work or After?
There’s no perfect time to get a massage. Some people feel invigorated after a massage and want to use their new energy to start the day. Others see it as a way to unwind after a long day. What’s most important is for you to find out what you prefer and let your massage therapist know that. If someone likes their massage at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean you won’t prefer a different time.
Schedule a Massage After an Athletic Activity
If you have a major athletic event coming up, say a marathon, or a competition, you want to you have your massage after the event, not before. The reason why is that a tough workout will tighten your muscles again right away. They might give you more energy, but it will run out when you’re focused on your workout goal. You are much better off focusing on your workout and using a good massage to unwind and restart.
How Often Should I Schedule?
We recommend averaging at once a month, but it might be helpful to vary that a little. In times of stress, you may want to come in a little more often. You can make up for those extra times in your budget but leaving it open during the summer or times when you are not stressed. At the end of the day, we recommend going over all your concerns with a massage therapist so that you can get a customized schedule that is right for you.
The perfectly timed massage depends on the individual’s needs. Some people, especially those with back issues or chronic pain may find a regular massage extra helpful, along with tips on what you can do at home. Some may see it as a de-stressor and relaxant, while others use massage as an energizer. It’s important for you to listen to your body and figure out what’s right.
If you have any questions about your specific situation, give us a call, and we will curate the perfectly timed massage for you!
To know about BEMER, you must first know about the body. Blood is pumped by our heart through veins, arteries, and micro-vessels. Like a tree, the micro-vessels are the smallest branches, the ones the last step before producing new life (as in the leaves of a tree). While micro-vessels don’t grow leaves, they do feed the majority of cells in our body. They are the smallest and final stop before feeding our cells. Thousands of micro-vessels keep us alive, but the heart may struggle to pump it all.
Cardiovascular health varies among all people for different reasons. Some may find their heart’s strength decreasing because of old age, a bad diet, or lack of exercise. While staying fit is the best way to keep your heart healthy, you can help it grow even stronger.
That’s where BEMER comes in. BEMER uses electromagnetic fields to encourage a healthy blood flow in your micro-vessels. Healthy blood flow means that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and the effects of an aging heart are mitigated. Combined with a healthy workout plan, BEMER has the potential to greatly increase your health and reduce the effects of aging. Let’s break it down with three reasons you should add BEMER to your workout plan.
It Strengthens your Immune System
One of the benefits of healthy micro-circulation is improvement to your body’s natural healing process. As we grow older, we are more prone to injuries. And with our bodies slowing down, the tendency is for them to heal slower with age. BEMER counteracts that. What’s slowing your entire healing process is the availability of white blood cells due to poor circulation in your micro-vessels. Improve circulation, and your body will be more prepared to handle any small injuries. (This goes for anything that naturally heals on its own, please see a doctor or call 911 if you have a serious injury).
Healthy Microcirculation is key to Physical Performance
Not only does your health increase, but so does your physical performance. With improved Microcirculation from 15 minutes of BEMER therapy a day, you will be able to use the body in all ways it is meant to. Moving, walking, running, lifting. You can keep these abilities strong through regular BEMER therapy.
It Minimizes the Effect of Aging
Aging happens no matter what, but you don’t have to surrender to its side effects. You can slow the deterioration of your body down through improved micro circulation. Any effect of aging, whether it be fatigue, mobility, strength, mental function, they are all impacted by our blood circulation. When the blood is slowed down in your micro-vessels, all effects of aging are heightened. That’s why adding BEMER to a healthy workout is the best way to stay young and healthy.
Your body is the most important thing in the world. You want to take care of it as best you can. While BEMER and regular workouts will help your muscle system stay healthy, bring yourself one step closer to perfect balance with a regular massage. That way your body is in top shape and relaxed enough to keep any stress from harming you.
Massage is all about relaxation. A good massage should make you feel brand-new every single time! That doesn’t mean you can make yourself as tense as you like and get a massage to fix it. You need to take good care of yourself before, during, and after the massage to really feel the benefits. Here are 4 self-care tips before and after your massage.
Schedule Your Massage at the End of the Day
Think of your body as a music box: when you’re stressing over your daily life, that’s your body winding up. When you stop winding a music box, you enjoy the music, you don’t wind it up again right away. A good massage will start unwinding your body, but the unwinding process can last for hours after your massage. You should let it keep going so that you can enjoy the benefits of your massage. Otherwise, you’re winding the music box up again before the music even finishes.
That’s what working after a massage is like. You let the music play for a second, and then you wind it up again. Instead of having a massage during your lunch break, try squeezing one in at the end of the day. That way, you can relax and unwind in peace.
Having enough water in your system is vital for self-care and it makes your massage experience so much better! Water helps the toxins in your body flow out of your body and will prevent soreness after your massage. We recommend avoiding any coffee or alcohol for at least three hours after your massage because these drinks tend to cause dehydration. We also recommend drinking plenty of water beforehand so you’re most prepared.
Maximize your “Me” Time
The best self-care before and after a massage is doing whatever you need to do to relax. This means spending time away from anything or anyone that can cause you stress and giving yourself much-needed time to take care of yourself. We suggest lighting some scented candles, preparing a bubble bath, and turning on some smooth Jazz.
Use Essential Oils to get in the Mood
You want to be in the right mood for your massage. And that might mean taking a moment before your massage to rest a bit too. Stress can cause our minds to clutter and be distracted. We recommend using calming essential oils to get some of that stress out of your system.
With these self-care tips, you’ll be feeling more relaxed and energized than ever. Give yourself the care you deserve by scheduling a massage today!
The cycle of work, life, children, friends, family, can run any person down. Feeling stressed is only part of the issue, however. Stress triggers cortisol which can build up in the body, causing a host of health issues. Diet and exercise can help relieve your body, however, using massage and essential oils are just as effective ways to detox your body and your mind.
Toxins are everywhere; in the food we eat, the people we’re around and even in the air we breathe. These toxins enter our body and our body fights to remove them. Yes, our livers are built to filter toxins out, but eventually, even our own bodies can’t handle the volume. Headaches, weight gain, muscle tension, illness-they are all side effects of these toxins. The worst part?
They feed off each other, making them even harder to get rid of.
Receiving at least one massage a month will keep your body maintained at a high level, keeping cortisol levels low.
As mentioned, toxins manifest in multiple ways and can be relieved in just as many ways as well. Think deeply about what’s in your body, what’s weighing you down, causing you stress, anxiety, fatigue, and all the negativity you face daily. It takes a village to make your body and mind as healthy as it can be. Meditation will help your mind, which will, in turn, help your body. A massage routine will also assist in the process.
A massage routine will gather all those stressful toxins in your body, guiding them out with various types of modalities, allowing you to feel refreshed, energized, and renewed. Receiving at least one massage a month will keep your body maintained at a high level, keeping cortisol levels low.
Massage works hand in hand with your meditation regimen or exercise regimen. Improving your mental health as you improve physically will naturally detox your body and brain! An addition to massage are essential oils-what you smell truly shapes how you feel.
What Essential Oils are Best for Me?
Essential oils like lavender, citrus, lemongrass have been used for centuries. The smell of lavender is perfect for calming the mind and making you feel less stressed or anxious. Or, try lemon for invigorating those white blood cells and strengthening your immune system! Ginger helps by improving digestion which tends to take a beating when you’re stressed! Look for a future blog on various essential oils and how they can improve your mental health.
We want to hear from you, what essential oils do you use? What other routines do you have to detox?
The demands of your work and personal life can really bring on high levels of stress, intensity, and tension. With all the pressure we face on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that the most common kind of headache is a tension headache. In order to get rid of these pesky problems, we must also understand what they are and what causes them.
Tension headaches are caused by stress building up in your muscles, particularly your back, shoulders, and neck. The increased muscle tension then extends up to your head causing discomfort, pain, or extreme pain. Whether you’re staring at a computer screen for many hours a day, driving long distances, or engaging in repetitive movements, all of these can contribute to a tension headache. Other causes include eye strain, emotional stress, excessive caffeine, smoking, and more. General stress can also manifest itself in tension in the neck, shoulders, and back as well.
Now that we know stress and muscle tension leads to tension headaches, we can learn how to get rid of them. Clearly, reducing stress and tension will make these annoying headaches go away! In the moment, you’ll need to address your symptoms right away. If left unaddressed, tension headaches can grow to an even bigger pain and possibly a migraine. When your head starts to ache, immediately practice self-massage. Gently massage the areas that hurt. If you are able, make an appointment at our office as soon as possible for a massage, which is the best stress reduction for muscles and you! Reduce the outside stimuli that are causing stress by turning lights and sounds off. Practice deep breathing. Essential oils like lavender or peppermint can diffuse stress and tension as you breathe in deeply.
After you’ve reduced the symptoms of your current tension headache, you’ll have to assess long-term factors contributing to your stress. Start by addressing areas of your life that are causing stress. Getting an ergonomic assessment at work can greatly reduce the factors contributing to your headaches. Healthy eating habits and even moderate, consistent exercise helps to get your muscles moving on a regular basis. A regular schedule of massage can set up a cycle of relaxation and stress relief that will greatly reduce the chances of tension headaches.
Tension headaches can be caused by a multitude of stressful factors. With our helpful hints and a regular massage routine, you can easily get rid of tension headaches right away, and even before they pop up. Set up a consultation with MMS today for personalized tips and stress reducing massages.
Approximately 75 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. We know that the health benefits of massage are undeniable. Massage can reduce pain and muscle tension, while increasing relaxation and range of movement. A regular schedule of massage can overall increase your quality of life and studies have shown that it can also lower blood pressure. It’s important to know the details of high blood pressure and how massage can be used to lower it.
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pumping against the blood vessel walls. If the pressure of your blood pumping is consistently too high, then you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. This means that your heart and arteries are working too hard and inefficiently, leading to hardening of the arteries, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. The #1 leading cause of deaths in the United States is heart disease / failure, while strokes are the #5 leading cause of deaths. Clearly, high blood pressure is a serious issue.
High blood pressure does not have any visible symptoms, and can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Remember to receive your regular annual physical to assess any hidden or underlying symptoms. Hypertension can affect both men and women equally, and studies have shown that it can affect people of any age. Physicians most often recommend high blood pressure medication, but even more importantly, they recommend lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle of aerobic exercise, healthy eating habits (or losing weight), abstaining from smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol and sodium in your diet, and reducing stress can be very helpful to lower blood pressure. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through massage therapy.
Massage therapy relaxes the body and improves circulation, leading to a relaxed and healthier state. Studies have shown that those who receive massages weekly have lower depression, anxiety, lower stress hormone levels, and lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Swedish massage in particular, which is a gentle, relaxing massage, is particularly effective. A regular schedule of weekly or biweekly massages gives your body regular doses of relaxation and reduces blood pressure consistently over time.
High blood pressure is a serious problem for 30% of the American population. If you or someone you know is affected by hypertension, get started on reducing stress and taking care of your body through massage therapy. Consult with a physician and our trained experts at MMS before starting any massage therapy to determine whether it is the right course of treatment for you.
Daily aches and pains can come on suddenly. The best way to relieve your muscle tension and aches is to get a full massage from your massage therapist at MMS! Sometimes, you just can’t get in for an appointment. Vacations, busy schedules, and work can get in the way. If you can’t make it for a massage right away, try these simple self-massage techniques.
Self-massage includes techniques that you can perform on yourself to reduce pain and muscle tension. You can use your hands, a tennis ball, or a foam roller.
Head – Start at your temples. Make slow circular motions, moving your hands to meet in the middle of your forehead. You can also use this circular motion massage along your hair line going back to the base of your skull.
Neck – Apply firm pressure with your fingers at the base of your neck where it meets your shoulders. Release when tension has eased. Next, roll your shoulders back and forth slowly. Repeat this until your muscles relax.
Shoulders – Use either your right or left hand (depending on your ability to stretch) to bring your fingers to your right shoulder. Squeeze your shoulder muscle, then release, slowly moving from the outside of your shoulder in. Repeat with the left side.
Back – It would cause too much strain to your body to try to massage your own back with your hands. Here’s where a foam roller or a tennis ball comes in handy. Position the tennis ball or foam roller in between you and the wall. Move your body to get the ball in the right place to massage out the tension. Use stronger pressure on particularly tender spots to relieve more tension. If you do not have a tennis ball or a foam roller, lay on the floor on your back. Bring your knees up to your chest and hold them with your arms. Rock your body from side to side, using your weight and the floor to massage out problem areas.
Feet – Use a tennis ball placed on the floor. Place the arch of your foot on the tennis ball. Roll your foot around on the ball. Focus on areas that are tender by applying a bit more pressure. Repeat with the other foot.
The best part about all these techniques is that they are portable, all you need are your hands and a small massage tool. You can bring these techniques with you wherever you might be traveling, or if you’re stuck at work. These techniques work well to relieve immediate stress and strain but remember it’s best to see our professional massage therapists at MMS. We can accurately assess your individual needs and relieve your pain in the healthiest way.