Swedish massage is the most common massage therapy technique in the United States—and in most places outside the US is referred to as “classic massage.” A Swedish massage focuses on overall relaxation, circulation, and physical and mental wellness. Swedish massage includes gliding, kneading, tapping, stretching, and cross-friction strokes.
What are the Benefits of Swedish Massage?
Pain Management: Soft tissue manipulation increases blood flow to inflamed areas, promoting faster healing of aching muscles and joints. It also makes muscles and joints less prone to future tension and pain. Plus, massage triggers neurological and chemical shifts that ease pain by quieting pain signals to and from the brain and releasing “feel-good” hormones like dopamine and oxytocin.
Blood Pressure & Stress Management: Swedish massage is known to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension and prehypertension. Plus, massage reduces cortisol production, a stress-induced hormone that can encourage fat accumulation, interrupt sleep, and further raise blood pressure.
Sleep Improvement: Swedish massage has been proven to decrease cortisol levels while increasing serotonin and dopamine, helping transition the body to “rest and digest” mode. Serotonin production also spurs the release of melatonin, the hormone that tells the brain it’s time to power down.
Immune Function: Massage increases the flow of bug-fighting white blood cells. This immune strengthening increases resistance to viruses and other pathogens. Plus, simply reducing stress is known to improve overall immune function.
Relaxation: For many, there’s simply no greater benefit of massage than the calming relaxation it provides. And for pure “Ahhh,” Swedish massage takes the cake.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a popular and effective way to decrease pain and restore movement in cramped muscles and joints. A 2014 study found that it was as effective as anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen at reducing chronic low back pain. If you have chronic pain, muscle spasm, are recovering from an injury, or are dealing with repetitive use strain, deep tissue massage may be an ideal option.
What Makes Deep Tissue Massage “Deep”?
Deep tissue massage engages muscle and fascia at a greater intensity level than Swedish massage, focusing on solving a localized tension. Typically the therapist presses more deeply into the tissue to find the areas that are tense, knotted, or in spasm. They will then work to relax, soften, and gently stretch the tissue using techniques such as trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and petrissage (friction).
Should Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
Areas that are deeply knotted or tight tight can cause some pain or discomfort to release, but the key is communication with your therapist. If you are in pain, they can adjust their pressure and often still achieve the desired effect.
It’s not uncommon to feel a little sore after a deep tissue massage, particularly in an area of intensive focus. Icing and gentle stretching of the impacted muscles can be helpful for sustaining the benefits of the treatment. Ask your therapist at the end of the session for suggestions on post-massage care.
Sports massage is essential for athletes, but it isn’t only for them! Anyone with an active lifestyle can benefit from sports massage, which helps prepare the body for activity, decrease post-activity soreness, improve flexibility, and expand range-of-motion. Its unique combination of deep tissue work, assisted stretching, and other anti-inflammatory techniques assists in maintaining performance-readiness while reducing the risk of injury.
What are the Benefits of Sports Massage?
Increased Muscle Efficiency and Flexibility: Sports massage can help improve muscles’ ability to extend, contract, and expend and preserve metabolic energy by combining specialized fascia manipulation and stretch techniques.
Improved Physical Performance: Pre-event sports massage addresses muscular issues that could otherwise hamper performance, with the goal of galvanizing and loosening them.
Reduced DOMS: Sports massage helps immensely in reducing the delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that can kick in 24-48 hours after an intense workout. It also speeds up the healing process, so soreness ends sooner.
This is a Zeel specialty! Whether your goal is deeper, more restorative rest or relief from insomnia, our unique Sleep Massage modality can help. This treatment combines an array of relaxing techniques sequenced to promote a more restful, peaceful slumber.
What Makes Up a Sleep Massage?
Back and shoulder massage addresses major areas of tension that can inhibit restful sleep. In a Sleep Massage, this work is tailored to gently relax the muscles, melt away pain, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
Reflexology of the hands and feet targets pressure points that aid in the release of serotonin and melatonin, coaxing the body into powering down. This technique also helps reduce nagging pain that can interrupt sleep.
Scalp massage reduces stress and slows down a busy mind, promoting calm relaxation. As a bonus, scalp massage promotes circulation to hair follicles, contributing to a healthier mane.
Gentle face and neck massage releases tension many people don’t even realize is trapped above their shoulders. These techniques melt away stress, helping you let go of the day and rest.
Aromatherapy with lavender or chamomile oil (optional) enhances the sense of tranquility, helping transport the mind and body to a more rest-ready state.
Pregnancy involves a lot of physical changes, often resulting in discomfort, but research shows massage therapy can be an excellent way to alleviate it. Prenatal massage is designed specifically to address the aches and pains of pregnancy in a healthy, safe manner, such as low back and hip pain, neck and shoulder tension, anxiety, swelling/sore feet, and sleep disruption.
How is Prenatal Massage Beneficial?
Reduces joint strains: During pregnancy, extra stress is placed on the joints, and the mother’s center of gravity shifts. Prenatal massage helps ease the aches and pains caused by these ergonomic irregularities.
Improves blood circulation and oxygenation: A woman’s blood supply increases up to 60% during pregnancy, and prenatal massage helps improve the circulation of that oxygenated blood to the growing fetus.
Hormone stabilization: Hormone shifts—sometimes wild—come with pregnancy. Prenatal massage helps stabilize hormones and encourages the production of QOL-enhancing hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
Lymphatic drainage: Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) can help with common prenatal issues like edema and sluggish circulation, and support better sleep. This specialized technique circulates lymph fluid to reduce swelling in the legs, arms, hands and feet.
Which Massage Technique is Best for You?
Whether you want to beat back chronic pain, get a better night’s sleep, optimize athletic performance, or just plain relax, there’s a perfect massage for you. And remember to communicate with your massage therapist—they will always be the key to making sure every massage is the perfect massage for you.