When you think of a massage… you’re thinking of a Swedish massage. It is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West, and the foundation for sports massage, deep tissue massage, aromatherapy massage and other popular Western-style massages. It is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, as opposed to energy work on “meridians” or sen lines that are the focus in Asian massage systems.

Typically, the therapist is working to stimulate circulation, flush the circulatory system, release tight muscles, restore range of motion and to relieve pain.

If it’s your first time at the spa or you don’t get massage often, Swedish massage is the best place to start. Most people get a 50 or 60-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90-minutes gives the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve results. A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist’s personal style and what he or she is trying to achieve.

If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure to get relief from chronic muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage. If you have pain, it will likely take a series of massages to get results. Swedish massage and other types of therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed massage therapists.

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