What is a Swedish Massage?
When most people think of massage, they think of Swedish massage. The invention of Swedish massage is credited to Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839), a prominent Swedish physician and fencing teacher who combined Chinese gymnastic and medical techniques with early 19th century sports medicine to create a system for relieving sore muscles, increasing flexibility and promoting general health. Ling’s theories were popularized by a fellow Swedish physician, Johann Mezger, who helped legitimize Ling’s techniques in the public’s mind by giving them French names. Most massage practiced in the West is in one way or another derived from Ling’s original work.
Swedish massage is defined by four or five (somewhat familiar) techniques, which have French names: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic chopping), and friction (rubbing). Some therapists now incorporate advanced techniques that have rehabilitating effects and stretches for improving your range of motion. But the ultimate goal is relaxation. As the default Western massage, Swedish massage is extremely popular and is simple, soothing touch therapy.
Traditional Swedish massage, “classical massage,” consists mainly of long strokes over oiled skin and kneading of the outer layers of muscle tissue to reduce stress and soothe sore joints and muscles. Swedish massage relaxes the nervous system, aids circulation, and helps with detoxification.
The Swedish body massage has become the most common massage practice in the West, that’s because of the soothing strokes and gentle kneading, which are meant to relax, not stimulate, the body. And yet studies have shown, Swedish massage reduces stress, promotes health, and prevents injuries. At most spas, Swedish massage is the most popular treatment, and it’s for good reason. It helps jangled nerves and release neck knots without being too demanding of the spa-goer
. The principal moves of Swedish massage are:
A typical Swedish massage usually consists of five types of moves. Below are the five moves in Swedish massage. They can be used in any order and is part of the basics of Swedish massage.
1. Effleurage – making long and gliding strokes along the body. The rubbing and pushing of the muscles helps you relax plus reduce tension and stress levels. It has many other health benefits as well such as increase circulation of blood flow to the heart. Great for the upper back, neck, and shoulders. This is the most common move use in many massages.
2. Petrissage – Simply put this technique looks like you are kneading dough. It works on your muscle tension and unwinds. The kneading and squeezing motion of this technique gets rid of and smooth out any sort of lumps or impure substances from the muscle so it will be efficient once more.
3. Tapotement – This is the gentle pounding of the body like the motion you are drumming. There are many ways to form your hands for the drumming. The way you form your hand produces a different sound from slapping to chopping to cupping. This is a very noisy move and is usually used at the end of a massage session as it helps wake you up if you became sleepy.
4. Vibration – This is the rhythmic and rapid shaking of the body. Great for the neck and shoulders, normally this is done by a therapists ‘hands but there are now devices that provide the same vibration from cushions and chairs. It has a very good feeling sensation and you can fall asleep to this very easily.
5. Friction – This worked on your muscle fibers and is done using circular or perpendicular motions. The use of oil also helps in creating friction; it is commonly used in Swedish massage. What type of massage oil that is used depends on the therapist, besides creating friction, the oil also helps in stretching of the muscles. If you are feeling fatigued, exhausted, or feeling discomfort in the joints getting a massage can help alleviate the aches and pains.
Today there are many types of massages available. From deep tissue massage to sports massage, many of these massages of which were based from the foundation of the Swedish massage. No matter which type of massage you use, there are many available out there. So for the days you want some time to just relax or unwind head out for a massage.
The Swedish massage is an excellent way to relax your muscles.