Why Do We Love Swedish Massage More Than All the Others?

by Melisse Gelula | October 4, 2010

Why Do We Love Swedish Massage More Than All the Others?
Ritz Carlton Central Park resize / Ritz-Carlton Central Park

If you ask spas in the U.S. what their most popular spa treatment is, nine times out of ten they’ll say a Swedish massage. (Runner up: a deep tissue or sports massage.)

Why, when spa menus offer a half dozen or so amazing massage styles like Thai and Shiatsu, do spa-goers reach for the same thing over and over again?

Is it because Swedish is familiar, a household word?

Is it because we think we know what we’re getting (medium pressure, no bells or whistles)?

Is it that when you spend $125 or so for a massage, you don’t want to take a gamble?

Or the assumption that your average spa therapist is going to be better at Swedish than Shiatsu?

I've heard all of these reasons ad infinitum over the past 12 years I've been a spa writer, but Sandra Sadowski, spa director of the
in New York City added something really interesting to the conversation recently: Spa-goers like Swedish massage because they want to fall asleep, she says.

According to Sadowski, time is so precious that clients really just want to be soothed and de-stressed during their one free hour without work, children, and Blackberries. Too much muscling keeps people awake.

What’s your reason for booking a Swedish massage? What would inspire you to book another type of massage treatment? Let us know in the comments.

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