Chances are that if you’ve been for massage, the style of massage you received was what is commonly referred to as Swedish massage. This technique was developed about the beginning of the 19th century in Sweden and is typically attributed to a Swedish gymnast instructor named Per Henrik Ling who developed it to help his athletes, however some dispute this and attribute the massage style to Johann Metzger a Dutch born doctor.
No matter who first came up with it, the style which features long flowing strokes combined with gentle tapping is the predominant style practiced among Western massage therapy and differs greatly from the Asian styles.
Swedish massage relaxes muscles and improve circulation by releasing blood that is trapped in the tense muscles. It can limber up your joints as well. This is done by using five different movements that are traditional to this type of massage.
The long gliding stroke is called Effleurage and his typified by a gentle pressure with flat palms using long arm movements. Here, gentle pressure is used over a large area causing the long muscles to receive even attention.
In contrast to that, Petrissage kneads muscles in a specific area where there is a knot or muscle tension. Comparable to the Japanese method of shiatsu, it covers a larger surface and also uses compression strokes and is therefore less intense than its Japanese counterpart.
Friction is another Swedish massage method that is used to stimulate circulation by warming the surface of the body. It is applied with a gentle pressure which helps the muscles to relax and increase blood flow.
Tapotement is a light tapping or pounding that is used with this type of massage. It provides gentle stimulation which helps loosen the muscles.
A rapid small shaking movement or vibration is often used in conjunction with the techniques above. This can help relieve stress as well as limber joints and is different from the small rocking movements that other styles use.
It is traditional to use massage oil with the Swedish massage as this can help decrease the friction on the skin, plus the aroma of the oil can also have a relaxing and healthy effect. Many other types of massage, like deep tissue massage and sports massage use these Swedish techniques as their basis.
In a Swedish massage, the recipient lies on a table wearing a minimum of clothing and is covered by a sheet. Parts of the body are uncovered one section at a time as the massage therapist works through the different areas. Most people reported elevated mood and increased relaxation after receiving one of these