What is Swedish massage?
The term ‘Swedish massage’ is generally a term applied to a variety of techniques designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them, rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
There is debate concerning the origins of the term, some suggesting that Swedish massage was developed in the 1700s by a Swedish gymnast named Per Henrik Ling. Another school of thought is that Swedish massage did not originate in Sweden, nor was it created by a Swede, but evolved over time and it should correctly be referred to as ‘classic’ massage.
Many of the terms used to denote the basic strokes used in Swedish massage are in fact French, and these are thought to have been adopted by a Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger who is generally credited as setting the system we know today as Swedish massage!
Swedish massage techniques include: long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration, effleurage, and shaking motions.
The usual sequence of techniques are:
Effleurage: gentle stroking with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
Petrissage: kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingers
Friction: circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingers
Vibration: oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body
Hacking: light slaps or karate-style chops
A typical full-body session usually last up to an hour.
What is the purpose of Swedish massage?
The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Massage helps flush the tissues of harmful deposits such as lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes – improving recovery time from muscular strain.
Swedish massage also stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable, and stimulates the skin and sooth the nervous system at the same time.
What are the benefits of Swedish massage?
Swedish massage not only feels exceptionally good, but is relaxing and invigorating. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, circulation, and promotes our general health and wellbeing. As a treatment it helps reduce stress, both emotional and physical, and is often suggested in a program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses.