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Tips for Getting a Swedish Massage
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_____________ focuses on the superficial layers of the muscle, working out any “knots” that may be present.
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Tips for Getting a Swedish Massage
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Hi, I'm Missy Anderson, licensed massage therapist and owner of Barefoot Body Works in San Luis Obispo, California. I'm here today for About.com to give you some tips for getting a Swedish massage, using information from their Alternative Medicine website.

Swedish massage is the basis of all therapeutic massage in the United States and can be a very relaxing experience. Let's take a closer look.

What to Expect During the Swedish Massage

In general, massage therapy improves circulation within the body and helps to clear waste from the tissue. If you have joint stiffness, muscle tension, back pain, or even headaches, a Swedish massage can really help to alleviate these issues. With Swedish massage, you can expect long strokes, coupled with circular and kneading movements to relax muscle tension. You'll most likely begin face-down on the table, with your massage therapist working on your back first, then gradually moving down your legs. You'll eventually turn over to a face-up position, at which time your massage therapist will continue to work on your arms, neck, legs, and abdomen. Be aware that massage oil or lotion will be used to allow for gliding strokes and ease of movement.

Swedish massage focuses on the superficial layers of the muscle, working out any “knots” that may be present. You likely won't experience pain with this technique, but there may be moments of slight discomfort should your massage therapist be working on an area that is particularly sensitive to you. If at any time during the session your pain or discomfort exceeds your threshold, let your massage therapist know so she can adjust the pressure.

Your massage therapist will want to review your health history with you prior to getting started so she can adjust her technique based on your needs. When filling out the health intake form, be sure to disclose any injuries, problem areas, or relevant surgeries.

Before and After the Swedish Massage

At this point, your massage therapist will leave the room so you can undress and get situated on the table. It's best to fully disrobe for a Swedish massage, however, you can leave your underwear on if it makes you feel more comfortable. Keep in mind that you will be covered with draping throughout the massage, and specific areas will only be exposed as your massage therapist works on them.

An average session lasts 60 minutes, but there are shorter and longer options depending on your preference. You should leave your massage feeling very calm and relaxed -- perhaps even sleepy. There may be some residual soreness a day or two afterward, but this isn't the case in every instance, and it really depends on your physical health and the intensity of your massage.

You want to avoid eating heavy or large meals before your massage. Instead, choose something light and try and eat at least two hours before your appointment. Additionally, you'll want to adequately hydrate before and after to help flush out toxins, and reduce the likelihood of feeling achy afterwards, so be sure to drink plenty of water. And those are just a few tips for getting a Swedish massage. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at about.com.
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