What is a Swedish Massage?

If you have ever had a massage, unless it was specifically a deep tissue massage, reflexology, etc., your massage was likely a Swedish massage. Swedish massage is the technical term for the most common technique of massage.

Often, Swedish massage is a great starting massage option for people who do not get massages often or who have never had a massage before. All massage therapists in the western world know how to do Swedish massage, so it is the easiest type of massage to get because you do not need a massage therapist with special training. Swedish massage sessions are typically about an hour long, although some places offer 30-minute, 90-minute, and even two-hour massage sessions.

The technique of Swedish massage uses mostly the hands, but can include the forearms and elbows, to manipulate the first layers of muscles in the body. The purpose of this technique is to cause relaxation through the working of the muscles. The therapist’s hand movements work the muscles in the same direction as the blood flows to the heart.

Swedish massage was developed in the 1700s by Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish physician and fencing instructor. Ling developed the techniques of Swedish massage by combining Chinese techniques with the sports medicine of the early 19th century. His aim was to create a way to relieve muscle soreness while increasing flexibility, as well as to promote general health and wellbeing.

Basic Swedish Massage Technique Information Video

Source: Vivid Photo Visual

What is Involved in a Swedish Massage

To carry out a Swedish massage, the massage therapist has the client disrobe to his or her level of comfort and lie between sheets on a massage table or bed. Then the therapist uses either massage oil or lotion as a lubricant for the massage.

The therapist works on one area of the body at a time; for example, a therapist may start with the back and move onto the arms and legs separately before having the client turn over and repeat on the other side.

Throughout the massage, the therapist uncovers only the area of the body that they are working on, such as the legs, and leaves the rest of the body covered with the sheets for privacy and to keep the client warm.

The recipient has some flexibility with the pressure of his or her massage. Therapists work on a range of pressure from light to medium to firm, which helps the therapist to get exactly what the client is looking for. Because of this flexibility, it is important for the recipient to communicate with the therapist about pressure at the beginning of the massage and throughout the process in order to get the most satisfaction.

For 24 hours after a Swedish massage, the recipient should refrain from really strenuous activity and should increase water intake while avoiding alcohol and caffeine.

There are a variety of techniques and movements that can be used in Swedish massage. Effleurage is one of the main movements, and is when the therapist applies gliding strokes uses the palms, thumbs, and fingertips. Petrissage is when the therapist uses the hands, thumbs, and fingers to apply kneading movements to the muscles.

Friction is a type of movement where the therapist uses his or her palms, thumbs, and fingers to create circular pressure. Vibration involves oscillatory or repetitive movements to shake and vibrate the body. Percussion techniques include quick tapping and hacking movements. Lastly, passive and active movements are bending and stretching techniques to help move lymph throughout the body’s system of lymph nodes.

The Benefits of a Swedish Massage

There are many benefits for all types of massage. For Swedish massage specifically, there are several benefits. One of these benefits is that it’s a great way to relax and relieve stress and tension from the body. By removing stress and tension, the recipient may even feel energized as a result of Swedish massage.

Because Swedish massage is so customizable, it is the most popular massage technique because it can address a client’s specific concerns. While many people will have Swedish massage for overall relaxation and tension release, the technique is equally beneficial for focusing on targeted areas that clients may be experiencing chronic pain.

A good Swedish massage will also help an injured muscle to heal, or can treat chronic pain in areas such as the shoulders, lower back, and legs. The special strokes of Swedish massage are able to move lymph and other fluids through the body’s systems. This is because the strokes used in this technique of massage simulate the way blood flows throughout the circulatory system. Therefore, Swedish massage is a great way to help remove wastes and toxins from the body.

To maximize the enjoyment of massage always remember to use essential oils and dilute them with the a good carrier oil. Take a look here at our best carrier oils and best essential oils posts for more information.

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