Developed in the 1800s, Swedish massage ix the foundation for all Western massage modalities. Originally, the focus was on movement, and followed a series of active and passive stretches in a system called the Swedish Gymnastic Movements developed by Swede Peter Henry Ling. Johan Georg Metzger, a Dutch practitioner, is most often credited with developing and naming the system of techniques that today make up a basic Swedish Massage. The techniques are followed in a specefic order, with the intention of promoting relaxation and increasing circulation throughout all the major muscles of the body.
A Swedish massage will often include the following strokes:
Effleurage: long, flowing strokes that cover large swathes of the body; intended to warm the tissue, spread oil, and promote relaxation
Petrissage: kneading strokes that "milk" the tissue to increase blood flow and enhance the release of toxins
Friction: Application of pressure or rubbing to specific, tight muscles to encourage relaxation and increase blood flow
Vibration: Shaking, jostling, or subtle vibrating techniques to encourage tight tissues to let go
Gymnastics: Passive, active, assisted or resisted stretching techniques to lengthen tissue and fascia
Tapotement: Tapping, pounding, or chopping techniques that can stimulate or deeply relax, depending on application
Nerve strokes: Feather-light stroking over large areas of the body to increase proprioception and encourage relaxation
A growing body of research suggests that regular massage can help alleviate a variety of acute and chronic conditions such as low-back pain, tension headaches, fibromyalgia, stress, hypertension and more. It also is being shown to improve the immune system, enhance sleep quality, increase flexibility and the amount of oxygen in the blood, manage pain and improve mental health. A Swedish massage is a deeply relaxing modality that will take you out of your head and return you to the simple pleasure of feeling your body unwind and relax, while greatly improving your quality of life.