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The Benefits of Swedish Massage for the best massage packages in Perth
Ahhh… the soothing sounds of a gentle soundtrack as you blissfully lay beneath a soft sheet, cocooned in relaxing smells and dim light. You find your nerves unbundling and your troubles slipping away as seasoned hands massage your back and shoulders. If you’ve ever been to a spa to enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage, you are familiar with this pattern. If you haven’t, or feel that a massage might not really benefit you, think again. Massage therapy, particularly Swedish massage, has very particular health benefits beyond the bliss you might encounter after a day of pampering at the spa.
What Is Swedish Massage?
Swedish massage is a great introductory massage for many reasons, number one being that it involves firm, yet gentle strokes. You are placed on a flat elevated massage table with a cutout for your face. Beginning on your stomach, the massage therapist will begin long, firm brush-like strokes along your back and eventually over your shoulders, arms, then down to lower back and legs. Halfway through the appointment you will be asked to turn over, finishing the second half face up for the treatment of your upper shoulders, arms and fronts of legs. Massage therapists usually use either the flat palm or heel of their hand or a grouping of fingertips to deliver pressure to tight spots and also help loosen and lengthen muscles. Unlike strictly pressure-point styles of massage like Shiatsu or stretching techniques such as Thai massage where a masseuse manipulates you while on the floor, Swedish massage is designed specifically to enhance circulation and blood flow to the large muscle groups, says Kathleen Jensen, director of operations for Massage Envy Spa in the San Diego Region.
Why It’s a Popular Form of Massage Therapy
The popularity of massage as a therapeutic or holistic health tool, Fans of Swedish massage swear by its overall health benefits and, in fact, several studies have looked at the technique’s benefits for issues other than just stiffness or muscle aches and pains. Over the past few decades, a variety of studies have linked Swedish massage to a number of benefits, such as reduction in knee arthritis, easing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, lowering blood pressure, boosting immune system function, reducing headaches and helping to mitigate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Swedish Massage for Relaxation and Increased Circulation
Swedish massage’s main benefit is the overall relaxation that it provides. A standard Swedish session lasts for 30 or 60 minutes, and addresses most major muscle groups of the body. The session is usually performed on a soft massage table, in an environment that is meant to relax the recipient. The strokes of the massage relax individual muscles, while the overall experience eliminates mental stress, but they also replicate the movements of the circulatory system. By performing the strokes toward the heart, Swedish massage drains metabolic waste from the limbs of the body. Some of the strokes used in Swedish therapy increase blood flow, which further quickens the removal of bodily waste.
Swedish Massage for Pain Relief
Swedish massage is also used as an integral part of pain management protocols for sports injuries and chronic pain. Sessions can target specific areas of pain like a sprained ankle, or they can be used to help manage the chronic pain that comes with conditions like arthritis. By using strokes that improve circulation and increase body-wide relaxation, the massage therapist can help make many painful conditions more bearable. I personally relied heavily on Swedish and therapeutic sports massage for more than 15 years as I battled an ongoing deterioration of my right hip due to congenital dysplasia. Born with a misaligned hip socket, each year the muscle tightness in my leg and low back worsened due to overcompensation from the stressed large muscles of my leg. Only the regular strokes of a professional massage therapist released the tightness that even deep stretching could not affect. Regular Swedish massage effectively managed the pain before my eventual hip replacement to correct the malformation.
Massage for Fatigue, Depression and Anxiety
One of the latest studies examines the correlation between Swedish massage and reduction in fatigue for cancer patients. In March of 2015, Emory University announced a continuation of its clinical trials relating to the biological benefits of massage therapy. “Previous research… has already shown that massage therapy can boost the immune system and decrease anxiety for people who do not have cancer… We believe that there are many positive effects to be gained by therapeutic massage and we hope to prove that, among other biological advantages, massage may diminish the incapacitation that cancer-related fatigue can cause for our patients.” Massage therapy is also being investigated as an aide to patients with more neuromuscular disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2014, the University of Miami Medical School conducted a study of 24 individuals with MS who participated in a five-week massage experiment. Half of the participants received 45-minute massages twice a week while the other half were assigned to standard medical treatment. Compared with the controls, patients in the massage group experienced less depression, lowered anxiety, enhanced social function, better self-esteem and improved body image. This ties into the idea that massage reduces cortisol, or the “stress” hormone, which leaves you in a ‘feeling good’ bliss.”
Other Benefits of Swedish Massage
Massage therapy can be helpful with a number of other physical challenges, such as reduction in scar tissue by physically manipulating the fibers of the tissue, allowing the scar tissue to be successfully reabsorbed into the skin. Additionally, it can aid with lymphatic drainage, where the long strokes of the therapist help move fluids successfully out of clogged areas. Interestingly, many patients and therapists swear by massage as a way to reduce constipation or digestive upset, since the increased circulatory benefits and relaxation of the abdominal and lower back muscles can help relieve symptoms. In fact, a 2015 piece by Chelsea Clark of the Natural Health Advisory Institute highlights a number of the ways abdominal massage encouraging muscle contraction, nudging the gut to move things along.
Understanding the Difference Between Clinical and Spa Massage
As most of us in the massage profession recognize of late, we are splitting into two fairly divergent, yet equally important industries. The most prominent and popular industry is the personal services massage industry.
Many refer to this as “spa” or “relaxation” massage (for the purposes of this article I will refer to this as spa massage). The second and more recently emerging industry is “clinical” (or medical) massage therapy. These and other terms get thrown around a lot, and can cause a tremendous amount of confusion for massage therapists, but more importantly, for consumers. I hear many massage therapists and consumers denigrate spa massage as lesser than clinical massage, and each time it makes me cringe; all professional massage has therapeutic value! However, I also hear an equal number of therapists misrepresent clinical massage. I would like to provide clear and reasonable distinctions to these two types of massage, and hopefully help move both industries forward in a productive way.
Modalities best massage packages Perth
It is important to understand that the type of modality that is practiced, from Swedish to Myofacial Release, from Cranio Sacral to Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or from Trigger Point Therapy to Lymphatic Drainage, in no way puts a massage therapist in one category versus another. A spa massage therapist and a clinical massage therapist can, and do, practice all types of modalities in both industries. The ultimate difference is the focus. In spa massage, the therapist is ultimately focused on the satisfaction of the client. The session is often intuitive and compassionate. The environment is private and often includes luxuries that put the client at ease. essions are defined and charged by a set number of minutes the hands are on the body, and tipping is expected. Attention to details such as music, table warmers, aromatherapy and high-end linens is common, and often required to stand out to consumers to get them to return.
In clinical massage, the ultimate focus is on functional outcomes. There is an evidence-based reason why a therapist applies one modality over another and most importantly, results must be measurable. Client satisfaction is often not assessed until the completion of a limited number of treatments, referred to as “treat and release,” or the achievement of a specific therapeutic outcome. Finally, the length of the session is often shorter and the number of minutes that are spent with the hands on the body is not a focus point for the session (no more clock watchers!). Prices are defined more often by third party payers (insurance companies), in 15-20 minute increments, and tipping is rarely involved.
Ethics for the best massage packages in Perth
Most importantly, various details of ethics must be observed and practiced with care. This includes knowing not just your scope of practice as a massage therapist, but also the scopes of practice of your fellow allied health professionals. Clinical massage is often practiced in team-based settings that include colleagues such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, psychologists and orthopedic physicians. Referrals are important. Knowing when to refer your client out and how to communicate that effectively is an important part of clinical massage. Likewise, communicating to allied health colleagues about their patients, and when your skill set may be a more suitable therapy, takes time and patience to develop.
This is certainly not to say that a spa massage therapist does not require proper ethics training to ensure public trust and safety. Basic massage education will include training on maintaining proper records of informed consent, contraindications and limited SOAP note documentation. However, for spa massage, documentation of time and place of a session is often ethically sufficient. When the focus is on measurable outcomes, documentation is just as important as the session itself.
The Bottom Line for the best massage packages in Perth
I come in contact with numerous massage students and recent graduates at my integrative health clinic. Almost universally, these students and professionals will tell me that they have no interest in working at a spa and want to practice massage that actually “does something.” Spa massage does accomplish something! The ability to provide essential relaxation and stress relief is a powerful therapeutic tool. In fact, stress and tension is often the root of physical pain, and needs to be addressed concurrently with any clinical or spa massage.
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