What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish Massage treatment provided by a male massage therapist

Swedish massage is based on techniques developed by Henrik Ling in his search for a comprehensive therapeutic massage methodology.  Contrary to the name, Swedish massage didn't originate in Sweden.  Henrik Ling was carying out research and massage treatments in the United States of America. Henrik was from Sweden but his massage techniques did not originate there.  He developed and taught his technique in America and it was quickly adopted as the foundation for body massage in the west.

Henrik identified five principle movements that form the basis of the massage treatment:

  • Effleurage; Long swweping strokes with more pressure applied in the direction of the heart.
  • Petrissage; kneading or lifting of the skin and muscle.
  • Frictions; Rubbing small areas to create heat (thumb circles)
  • Vibrations; usually applied with the thumbs helps relax and tone muscle
  • Tapotement; rhythmic tapping applied by the hand or finger tips

Swedish Massage is often described as a medium pressure massage technique even though it forms the basis for Aromatherapy Massage and Deep Tissue Massage.  The techniques at the top are sedatory and become more stimulating toward the end of the list.  

 

What are the benefits of Swedish Massage Treatments?

Swedish massage treatments heat the skin and open blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure ane drives nutrients into the skin and peripheri. Opening the blood vessels also assists in the elimination of toxins.  Massage can keep ligaments and tendons supple by promoting greater movement in the mucles, expecially the high tension areas such as back and shoulders. Reducing tension can releive back pain and assist in chronic pain management. 

Massage treatments can also have a beneficial effect on the psyche. Some chronic pain disorders can be the result of trauma and stress disorders. Therapeutic touch releases endorphins which reduce stress hormones and sedate nerve pathways for pain.

 

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