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Great article in the recent publication of Massage & Bodywork by Anne Williams on Swedish massage. I, too, have been guilty of considering Swedish massage application to be simply "wellness massage" and just for "stress reduction/relaxation". After reading Anne's article, my enthusiasm for Swedish massage application has been revived, and I am particularly intrigued by the difference between the bright-eyed look following a Swedish application and the stupored look following slow, deep friction techniques. Suspect it probably has to do with the difference in the release of neuropeptides and am very excited about the possibility of more research.
Thank you, Anne!!! :)
Jenni Malm

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I made a comment on the original post Is Swedish Dead and NO it is not!
Glad you enthusiasm as been revived.
I too loved Anne's article.

I view Swedish massage as the canvas on which I paint the session.
i remember one of our instructors saying this...

swedish is like the basic cookie receipe and then deep tissue, and cross tissue, and all the other modalities one can add was like the raisins, chocolate chips, etc. that we add to our cookie dough to make it our own. we used to laugh about how we were making our own cookies in class. :)
Sorry, Gloria, that I missed your original post. I am late to the discussion. I think Anne is correct... Most of us practice ecclectically, and to just stay with Swedish techniques application for the entire session is not usual once we become licensed and are practicing regularly. Also, in my local area, I find that people often want what they call "Deep Tissue" massage (although I personally find that term to be a misnomer because deep tissue applications can be with light pressure, like CST utilizing the dura, or deep frictions to address deep, dense fascia), and I never have had a client ask for Swedish massage. I think the general public just really doesn't know what it is or what the benefits are.
So, I guess the question is... If we continue to use Swedish as a canvas and add other approaches to it, are we possibly contributing to a Swedish application demise? Will schools stop teaching a foundation in Swedish massage?

Gloria Coppola said:
I made a comment on the original post Is Swedish Dead and NO it is not!
Glad you enthusiasm as been revived.
At my school we were not taught that Swedish massage uses all of the techniques in specific order for each client. I had no idea a traditional Swedish was eff., pet., friction, vibration, tapotment, and joint pumps. We were taught most of these techniques but eff and pet were what we concentrated on the most. I almost never used friction and only applied vibration to break up trigger points.

After reading the article I did my next client following the exact specs and she loved it! I really think there's this aura of people not liking friction and tapotment but whenever you've seen therapists in the media (movies, tv shows) what are they doing? Both of these modalities! I really don't think they're so strange to most people.

I've been doing most of my Swedish massages following this protocol (sometimes I forget joint pumps or tapotment on the arms) and it's been working great. It makes me want to find out more about traditional Swedish Massage.

I've heard of therapists going to Hawaii to learn Lomi Lomi, Thailand to learn Thai massage, and Japan to learn Shiatsu but I really haven't heard of anyone going to Sweden to get better or improve their knowledge of Swedish. I wonder how massage is done there and how it's taught. I haven't been able to find anything from Sweden regarding massage on you tube.
I haven't read this article yet, but when I was in massage school little over 10 years ago, I read and article that Leon Chaitow said to a group of graduating therapists, That they have just learned the greatest healing modality (swedish massage), in the world. When asked what he meant, he said the more complicated the case, the less you do.

Now to present day, I have been working with my neighbor for 3-4 months, she has a whole list of problems but the main problem is that she has Lupus. I first started off doing a couple myofascial release/unwinding and that seemed to help, but only for a couple days. Then I remembered what Dr. Chaitow said and told her that we will try a full body swedish massage. The first time lasted 2.5 weeks. So, I too say NO, Swedish Massage is not dead, just underused.
Hi Gang-My two cents. Several ways to look at this issue-is the Swedish industry doomed? is the modality being lost?
As for the industry: Based on the number of classes that failed to make and the decline in the numbers of massage therapists registered in Tx- think that its fair to say the the general public is cutting back so significantly on the luxury treatments such that many therapists are not renewing their licenses. My pain practice has suffered about a 25% decrease from last year and teaching part about 75%. (21 appts 1st wk of Dec)
Modality: Swedish is our foundation to learn and build on- there is a percentage of every massage that is Swedish- clients ask for a nice relaxing massage are asking for a Swedish massage by the name they know. Once you get your license to learn the whole world is waiting outside of the schools we attended. One book in my library lists some 380 different types of massage. Luxury is defined by the amount of disposable income one has- so those who have enough will continue to get spa treatments and the rest will cut back. Separates the have mores from the others. We'll always have Swedish just not as much.
I just graduated from Massage School- mid life career change - getting ready to start my own practice – I greatly appreciated the article “Is Swedish Massage Dead?” – Anne Williams

During massage school we had seminars in NMT, Myofascial, and CST. Each instructor told the students how great their modality is and that we need to practice THEIR modality when we graduate.

I have had other LMT's tell me I need to do this or that modality or I will never get any clients - as I watch them struggling to get clients themselves.

I had one instructor in my Massage I class say only once to us – “learn to do a Swedish massage really well and you will never go wrong.”

The most compliments that I have received so far is when I go back to the basic Swedish massage routine we learned in Massage I and not try to do all the "other" techniques I learned.

Maybe I will change my mind later on but at this point in my "young" career Swedish is the way for me.
I decided early on to make Swedish massage along with anything that remotely resembles it, the very basis of ANY massage that I do. So when clients ask for deep tissue I say fine so long as you understand that I am going to combine relaxation with the deep tissue. It is very rare that a client has problem areas over their entire body so I perform deep tissue/therapy where needed and relaxation/Swedish (Lomi Lomi or whatever relaxing technique I am pulling from that day) everywhere else. I also use Swedish massage to prepare the areas that need deeper work. So for me, any relaxation technique, especially Swedish, is my foundation and I build on that because I just feel that our bodies work together and should be treated as a whole, and I believe that a relaxed body is more able to begin the process of healing itself, regardless of what other techniques are used. That article was great and Swedish is definitely not dead.
Yes I agree that other things contribute to deep relaxation and I suppose I use other things as well come to think of it. I work in a spa part-time and then have a spa-like studio as well. In my studio I have created a super relaxing environment all the way from the color of the room to the waterfall and candles. I also work on keeping my tone of voice soothing and controlling my own state - being sure that I am first relaxed as I work on my clients. I also involve them in a short breathing exercise at the beginning of the massage.

Rick Britton said:
very interesting comments and I agree entirely that deep relaxation is required for any real healing to begin and yes some nice effleurage, petrissage work can be very relaxing. However, there are any number of other factors that can be used to induce deep relaxation in the client.

One of the keys I find in my own work is to generate the state within myself that I wish my client to achieve and to use the model: pace, pace, lead. I also combine this with control of my own breathing in that I will synchronise my own breathing rate with the client for two or three minutes and then slow down my own rate... more often than not the client will slow down and breathe more deeply and rhythmically, especially if I give them instruction to do so.

In addition I concentrate on the tone and pace of my voice and on using words like 'relax', 'let go', 'release', 'sink' etc as I work. Normally within 5 to 10 minutes they are like putty using these approaches... which I might be using whilst doing subdermal MFR, cross hand stretches and so on which actually cause proper release in holding tissue.

Just pointing out that there are whole bunch of ways to get into that relaxed healing state other than stroking with lubrication (although of course that is valid too - just I mainly work without lubrication and I also want a deeply relaxed client in order to be effective)

Donna C. Agrinsonis, LMT said:
I decided early on to make Swedish massage along with anything that remotely resembles it, the very basis of ANY massage that I do. So when clients ask for deep tissue I say fine so long as you understand that I am going to combine relaxation with the deep tissue. It is very rare that a client has problem areas over their entire body so I perform deep tissue/therapy where needed and relaxation/Swedish (Lomi Lomi or whatever relaxing technique I am pulling from that day) everywhere else. I also use Swedish massage to prepare the areas that need deeper work. So for me, any relaxation technique, especially Swedish, is my foundation and I build on that because I just feel that our bodies work together and should be treated as a whole, and I believe that a relaxed body is more able to begin the process of healing itself, regardless of what other techniques are used. That article was great and Swedish is definitely not dead.

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