What is Swedish Massage?
One of the most well-known massage techniques is Swedish massage. Also known as classic massage in Europe, Swedish massage techniques are the basis for many other types of Western massages, such as sports massage. It is an efficient system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. There are five basic strokes techniques that characterize Swedish Massage, all flowing toward the heart and used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. Therapists use a combination of rolling, kneading, vibrational and tapping movements, along with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The kinds of strokes used are based upon the client’s needs and the therapist will determine the stroke sequence that will work best for each client. Usually, the pressure depends on the client’s preference.
The many benefits of Swedish massage may include flushing the body tissues of uric and lactic acid and other metabolic waste, breaking-up of scar tissue and improved circulation, which may speed healing and lessen swelling from injury. Swedish massage can also increase one’s flexibility because it stretches the ligaments and tendons. However, Swedish massage is specifically designed to relax the muscles.
The 5 Stroke Techniques of Swedish Massage
- Effleurage: Long, sweeping, gliding stokes using the forearms, hands, fists, and palms. These strokes are usually applied with the use of oil.
- Petrissage: Rolling, kneading, lifting and wringing strokes. These kinds of motions are very beneficial for the body for many reasons, for instance; they help to loosen bound soft tissue and knotted muscles, increase circulation and stimulate nerve endings.
- Friction: Friction causes warmth and prepares the body for deeper work. This stroke can be done by rubbing back and forth across the muscle, by using small circular movements or a wringing motion.
- Tapotement: Tapotement is a percussion stroke where the hand action rhythmically stimulates muscles, nerves and circulation. Tapotement is also used in Shiatsu.
- Vibration: Vibration refers to shaking and rocking movements applied to the entire body or to one limb. These particular movements can be done either rapidly or slowly and are designed to reverberate through the surrounding tissues.