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Swedish Massage or Acupressure

Aug 17, 2007
Swedish massage therapy is comprised by a number of different techniques. It is designed to relax and heal your muscles. Rubbing and pressure techniques are
applied to the muscles in order to achieve this. A Swedish doctor, Per Henrik Ling developed this technique in the 1700s. This massage does many things including increasing the oxygen to the blood and releasing toxins from the muscles.

Benefits: It is especially beneficial for use after strenuous exercise, as it gets rid of metabolic waste in the tissues. Circulation is improved, without putting undue strain on the heart. Tendons and ligaments are kept suppler by stretching them with this technique. The skin and nervous system are stimulated with this method and your nerves are soothed and relaxed.

Techniques: Swedish massage therapy is made up of several techniques. These are combined, in sequence, to make the treatment more effective. They are:

1. Effleurage: This is made up of smooth gliding strokes using thumbs, fingertips and palms. Massage oil is sometimes used for enhancing this experience. Specific body parts sometimes require different procedures. There are light and deep methods of this technique.

Light method is used as a calming treatment for different ailments but especially for use when beginning therapy for healing. It is also good for reliving tension and stress.

Deep therapy applies firmer pressure on the soft tissue, plus increases circulation and lymphatic flow. This technique is used for healing injuries, and is especially good for athletes.

2. Petrissage: this technique uses hands, thumbs and fingertips to knead the muscles. With gentle rolling the muscles are lifted away from the bones, then they are rolled and squeezed. This method increases the blood circulation and releases toxins from the muscles.

3. Friction: this massage uses palms, thumbs and fingers to make deep circular movements, especially near the joints and sides of the spine. This therapy will break down adhesions and promote flexibility in joints and muscles.

4. Vibration: this method will shake the body with oscillatory movements with the hands.

5. Percussion: This is when the muscles are tapped briskly

6. Passive and active movements: This technique is when the muscles and joints are gently stretched and bent.

All these techniques are used in sequential order.
Swedish massage has many uses, two of which are helping a patient recover from injuries, and aiding in strengthening muscles. It will also help to cut down stress and tension. All the above techniques help to improve your overall health and well being.

The second type of massage we will examine - Acupressure massage - can be used by a layperson and does not require a professional therapist. It is similar to acupuncture, in that it uses various points throughout the body to relate to different sources of energy in the body. Instead of using needles; pressure or reduction is applied to these points.

Pressure: Pressure should be applied with a blunt object; the fingers are often the best choice. Sometimes you can use a fingernail or even a pencil eraser (one that is on the other side of a pencil). You are actually bringing energy to a point by pressing it. When trying out pressure points you can press them for only a 1/2 second if desired, but if you really want to get the full effect, 1-2 minutes is preferred. However if you are already weakened physically from ailments or advanced age, a shorter period may be preferred.

Reduction: Turning your finger, counterclockwise over a pressure point, performs reduction; this in effect removes a blockage of energy. When you do this you will release pent up energy and alleviate pain or tension in the associated area. You continuously massage the point in an counter-clockwise fashion for about 1-2 minutes, to get maximum benefits from this massage therapy.

Do not overuse points and try not to use the same places everyday. Overuse of a particular point may result in loss of effectiveness. You should use the corresponding points on each side of the body. Carefully monitor which spots are effective, for your particular problem. Acupressure points are only 0.5 mm in diameter, so you will need to be quite precise when locating the right area to use acupressure massage on. You can also try adjacent points for better effects. Tension can work against you and render this technique ineffective. It is best to be relaxed when using this massage technique.

Ear acupressure can also be performed. Sometimes small seeds are taped to the ear to give pressure for a longer period. You can also tape small balls over pressure points in the body. There are 3 important pressure points at the bottom of the ear, where it attaches to your head. One is behind the lobe , another to the right (left ear) and the third at the top of the base of the ear.

Acupressure is something you can do without a skilled technician. However you should try to educate yourself about this massage procedure first. There are good books available and websites that will give you more information on this technique. You can also use your local library.
About the Author
Zach Thompson is a Glyconutrients Representative. His clients range from actresses to pro athletes. You can get a free Glyconutrients consultation by visiting Glyconutrients. Clinical studies have shown that glyconutrients can help balance your immune system.
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