Swedish technique is the most basic of Western massage modalities and what most massage clients experience in a spa. Swedish is a relaxing, full-body massage in which your therapist uses their hands and forearms to provide long, soothing effleurage (French word meaning “to glide”) strokes to relax and warm the superficial layers of your muscles and fascia.
The client is generally nude during a Swedish massage and the therapist only uncovers the part of the body being worked on at that time, a technique called draping. Your comfort is the most important part of the massage, so you are welcome to wear undergarments or even shorts if you prefer not to be nude.
A common misconception is that Swedish has to be a light touch and that it will not help relieve tension or knots, but a surprisingly deep pressure can be applied during these gliding strokes for those preferring deeper work.
While Swedish tends to be the starting point for deeper massage work such as Trigger-Point therapy and Deep-Tissue Massage, a full session of Swedish massage is an amazing way to relax your body as well as your mind.
Thank you for allowing me to share your journey towards total wellness.
Enzo (about Enzo)
Many of us are looking for a quick and easy way to get lean, which explains the constant deluge of fad diets/schemes and the increase in liposuction surgeries. Let me start by stating what I believe you already know or suspect, but may refuse to believe:
Diets never work!
Diets are over-complicated, restrictive and frustrating. Basic logic argues if any particular diet actually worked, everyone would be doing it and we would all be lean and healthy. They just don’t work in a long-term plan towards total wellness … it’s that simple.
Shedding fat is extremely simple: Burn more calories than you ingest and make the calories you eat count, and I recommend a healthy combination of exercising more and eating better. Plenty of people take it to the extreme with very restrictive, perfectly scheduled meals throughout the day and while that is fine for the few severely-disciplined people out there, moderation and simplicity works best for most of us. The key to nutritional wellness is to create a meal plan consisting of clean, “less-processed” food you enjoy eating and is easy to prepare. Continue reading
While most people get a massage to lower stress or reduce muscle aches, therapeutic massage can also:
- Decrease anxiety and fatigue
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Enhance the immune system by stimulating lymph flow
- Improve range of motion
- Ease medication dependence
- Help athletes prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts
- Nourish and improve the skin
- Improve circulation
- Release endorphins that work as the body’s natural painkiller
- Lower blood pressue
- Reduce scar tissue and stretch marks
- Ease spasms and cramping
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling
- Relieve migraine pain
I’ve witnessed variations of each of the above-listed benefits first-hand during my 16 years working as a therapeutic massage therapist. However, the most profound benefit — in my opinion — is the simplist of all: Massage makes my clients happier. The science geek in me understands this is a partially the result of increased oxytocin and decreased Adrenocorticotropin hormones and suggests you read an amazing research paper by on the subject (click here for the research paper), yet the holistic healer in me suggests you simply get a massage and see for yourself: It really works.
I wrote a research paper on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) for massage school and am posting an abbreviated version of my findings.
CTS is a progressive peripheral entrapment of the median nerve by the transverse carpal ligament, causing sharp, shocking pain and/or numbing. Common symptoms include:
- Tingling or numbness in the thumb, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and occasionally the 4th finger.
- Pain radiating or extending from the wrist up the arm to the shoulder or down into the palm or fingers, especially after forceful or repetitive use.
- A sense of weakness in the hands and a tendency to drop objects.
- It is often difficult to identify a single cause of CTS. The Mayo Clinic (2011) reported that a combination of risk factors generally appear to contribute to the development of the condition. While these factors alone do not cause carpal tunnel syndrome, they may increase the chances of developing or aggravating the condition. These factors include:
- Anatomic factors. Wrist fracture or dislocation can alter the space within the carpal tunnel and create pressure on the median nerve. Also, it is more common in women, possibly because the carpal tunnel area is relatively smaller than in men.
- Nerve-damaging conditions. Certain chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and alcoholism, increase the risk of nerve damage, including damage to the median nerve.
- Inflammatory conditions. Illnesses that are characterized by inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or an infection, can affect the tendons in the wrist and create pressure on the median nerve.
- Alterations in the balance of body fluids. Certain conditions such as pregnancy, menopause, obesity, thyroid disorders and kidney failure can affect the level of fluids in the body. Fluid retention may increase pressure within the carpal tunnel, irritating the median nerve.
- Workplace factors. Working with vibrating tools or in an assembly-line type of setting which requires prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist may create harmful pressure on the median nerve, or worsen existing nerve damage. The Department of Rehabilitation Staff from The Brigham & Women’s Hospital (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, 2007) points out that scientific evidence is conflicting and that workplace factors haven’t been established as direct causes of CTS. There is little evidence to support extensive computer use as a risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome, although it may cause a different form of hand pain.
I’ve been a massage therapist for more than fifteen years and have found my clients often ask for guidance with workout routines or advice on the latest diet scams. Realizing my clients need more than just a massage therapist, I have gone back to school to expand my knowledge of human anatomy at CNI College and am also training to be a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine so that I can take my massage business to the next level: BodyFIXX Total Wellness.
The BodyFIXX Mission:
We empower our clients to better themselves through the healing practices of massage therapy, personal training, nutritional guidance and goal-setting in order to help them achieve a state of total wellness.
BodyFIXX Total Wellness will officially open for business on October 1, 2014, yet the massage portion of the business has soft-launched already. This blog is designed as a resource for anyone seeking to improve their state of wellness and will include massage therapy updates, nutritional information, fitness assistance and simple recipes.