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Swedish Massage

Here is my question for you: After reading this page, is Swedish Massage still just a luxury that feels good, or do you see how it can be an important component to your own overall personal wellness?

Swedish Massage is the first type of massage most massage students learn, and in Virginia Beach (and the US) today it is the massage that most people will request and receive. Why is this the most popular style of massage, why is everyone taught it, and what actually are the benefits of it? Let’s find out.


The system of Swedish Massage comes from Pehr Henrik Ling, a Swedish physiologist and gymnastics instructor. It was later that a Dutch physician, Johann Mezger, applied and was given credit to the still used French terminology used (e.g. effleurage, petrissage, etc.). Swedish Massage was brought over to the US where it was taught and studied. The person who most responsible for popularizing Swedish Massage and bringing it to the general public was John Harvey Kellogg (yes, that Kellogg). 


Despite Swedish Massage being the ‘Relaxation Massage’, and it’s probably what you’re getting when you go into the Virginia Beach spa for that fluffy massage, it has an overwhelming number of benefits, all backed by research. Let’s break down the effects:


(Following taken from Massage Therapy, Principles and Practice, by Susan G. Salvo, pp. 87-93)

Inner Element Massage Therapy Virginia Beach

Cardiovascular System


  • Dilates blood vessels

  • Improves blood circulation

  • Decreases blood pressure

  • Creates hyperemia

  • Stimulates release of acetylcholine and histamine for sustained vasodilation

  • Replenishes nutritive materials

  • Promotes rapid removal of waste products

  • Reduces ischemia

  • Reduces heart rate and pulse rate

  • Increases stroke volume

  • Increases red and white blood cell count

  • Increases oxygen saturation in blood

  • Enhances the adhesion of migrating WBCs

  • Increases platelet count


Lymphatic/Immune Systems


  • Promotes lymph circulation

  • Reduces lymphedema

  • Decreases the circumference of an area affected with lymphedema

  • Decreases weight in patients with lymphedema

  • Increases lymphocyte count

  • Increases the number and function of natural killer cells


Skin and Related Structures


  • Increases skin temperature

  • Improves skin condition

  • Stimulates sebaceous and sudoriferous glands

  • Improves skin pathologies

  • Reduces superficial keloid formation


Nervous and Endocrine Systems


  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Decreases beta wave activity

  • Increases delta wave activity

  • Increase in alpha waves

  • Increases dopamine and serotonin levels

  • Reduces cortisol levels

  • Reduces epinephrine and norepinephrine levels

  • Reduces feelings of depression

  • Decreases pain and analgesic use

  • Activates sensory receptors

  • Faster and more elaborate development of the hippocampal region of the brain

  • Increase vagal activity

  • Right frontal EEG activation shifted to left frontal EEG activation

  • Decreases H-amplitude levels during massage




  • Relieves muscular tension

  • Relaxes muscles

  • Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue

  • Reduces trigger point formation

  • Increases range of motion

  • Improves performance (balance and posture)

  • Improves motor skills

  • Lengthens muscles

  • Increases flexibility

  • Tones weak muscles

  • Reduces creatine kinase activity in the blood

  • Improves muscular nutrition

  • Decreases electromyography (EMG) readings

Inner Element Swedish Massage Virginia Beach

Connective Tissues


  • Reduces keloid formation

  • Reduces excessive scar formation

  • Decreases adhesion formation

  • Releases fascial restrictions

  • Increases mineral retention in bone

  • Promotes fracture healing

  • Improves connective tissue healing

  • Reduces surface dimpling of cellulite


Respiratory System


  • Reduces respiration rate

  • Strengthens respiratory muscles

  • Decreases the sensation of dyspnea

  • Decreases asthma attacks

  • Reduces laryngeal tension

  • Increases fluid discharge from the lungs

  • Improves pulmonary functions

  • Increased vital capacity and forced vital capacity

  • Increased forced expiratory volume and forced expiratory flow

  • Improved peak expiratory flow


Digestive System


  • Promotes evacuation of the colon

  • Relieves constipation

  • Relieves colic and intestinal gas

  • Stimulates digestion




  • Increases urine output

  • Promotes the excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and sodium chloride in urine

  • Reduces fatigue and increases vigor

  • Improves sleep patterns

  • Reduces job related post traumatic stress

  • Improves mood

  • Decreases feelings of anger

  • Improves body image

  • Improves self-esteem

  • Promotes communication and expression

  • Improves lifestyle habits

  • Increases physical well being

  • Reduces touch aversion and touch sensitivity

  • Increases academic performance

  • Increases mental alertness

  • Satisfies emotional needs

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