Swedish Massage Techniques

Swedish Massage Techniques

There are various massage techniques used to relax and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. Among these, the Swedish massage provides you with all these factors. Read the following article to find out more about what is Swedish massage and understand the different techniques...
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2018
Disclaimer ~ Therapeutic massages should only be done by a professional, especially in cases of cancer or other patients. In cases of injury or illness, a doctor should be consulted before seeking a massage. Bruises, fractures, and other injuries should not be massaged in any case.
For therapeutic and relaxation reasons, there are various massage techniques used across the world. Originating from different continents and cultures, the history behind each massage technique is alluring and fascinating. With fruitful benefits of getting a massage, any kind of massage, no wonder people around the world are incorporating them in their lives. Among them, the Swedish massage is gaining quite a huge number of followers. There are certain relaxation techniques that have been around for centuries now, the Swedish massage was made known to the world by Pehr Henrik Ling. Born in Småland, Sweden, Dr. Ling introduced the world with the strokes or movements of the Swedish massage in the early 19th century.
Massage therapy today, and especially Swedish massage, is a lot more than applying concentrated pressure on a person's body. It is called "bodywork" or "Somatic Therapy." There are various techniques of massage other than Swedish massage techniques, including soft tissue massage, deep tissue massage, connective tissue massage, and others. Let's say, you've never been to a spa or have never had a massage before, it is a good practice to choose to begin with the Swedish massage. But what are the benefits of getting a Swedish massage? Are there more than one techniques to implement this massage? Does Swedish massage have any side effects? Find your questions answered in the following sections.
What is the Purpose of Swedish Massage?
The chief purpose of the various Swedish massage techniques is to release toxins from the muscles and to increase the level of oxygen in the blood. The secret to this massage are the long, circular movements or strokes used. The results of these long strokes help flush the metabolic waste from the blood, where they are eventually flushed from the body. Additionally it stimulates and soothes the nerves while at the same time provides a stretching of the muscles and a stimulation of the skin. Thus by using these techniques of massage, the whole body is stimulated, soothed, and relaxed, and toxins are released; as a result, the causes of stiff aching muscles are eliminated, promoting good health to both body and mind.
Different Techniques in Traditional Swedish Massage
As we mentioned before that there are different techniques used in Swedish massage, we will now talk about them in detail. As you keep reading the article, you will learn that there are five different techniques or types of strokes used. And they are...
  1. Effleurage
  2. Petrissage
  3. Friction
  4. Vibration
  5. Tapotement
Effleurage
Effleurage
This massage stroke involves long, straight strokes which go down the back from the neck to the hips, with either just the thumbs or the palms. It can also be done on the limbs, but in this case it is done toward the heart beginning at the feet or hands. In this way, the masseuse and the person receiving the massage get used to the feel of the other's body or hands. The constant deep, yet gentle strokes help in warming the muscles of the specific parts of the body help in relieving stress. These soothing strokes are generally applied at the start and end of the massage.
Petrissage
Petrissage
This massage stroke consists of a gentle lifting and squeezing of the muscles. The kneading, squeezing, or pressing of the muscles quickly releases toxins from the muscles and aids in proper circulation of blood throughout the body. The movements are slow and need to be followed through a specific pattern. The petrissage massage strokes can be performed with the palms of your hand, thumbs, and fingertips.
Friction
Friction
This massage stroke is quite beneficial if you have knots in your muscles, tight, bound-up joints and muscles, and are feeling rigid all over. The deep, penetrating strokes are performed in a circular motion to relieve the muscles and joints in specific areas of the body. These movements are made by using either the fingertips or the thumbs.
Vibration
This massage stroke can be relaxing and stimulating depending on the amount of pressure applied by the therapist on the back or limbs. This can be done at the very end of the massage to assist the muscles and bones settle into place after an hour of massage. This feels very good to the patient and can be used to gently rest the body after a long massage and provide a transition time for the results of the massage to take effect.
Tapotement
Tapotement
This massage stroke is used to release tight and cramped muscles. The reason behind this is that after a long day's work, you may have experienced some tightness or spasm in your muscles. The tapotement strokes help in relaxing your body and relieve the spasm as well. By using a number of percussive type movements, the use of your hand by striking or tapping the muscles with the fingertips or the edge of the hand helps in successfully carrying out these movements.
Benefits of the Swedish Massage
Getting a massage, whether it is a Swedish massage or any other kind of massage, there are mo limitations. You don't have to just concentrate on the shoulders, neck, hands, legs, or lower/upper back. The entire body requires gentle stimulation through the process of a massage. If nothing else, the tension from your body will decrease, you will feel rejuvenated, and circulation of blood will increase.

Because of their immense positive benefits like decreased healing time, greater flexibility, and greater stress relieving capabilities. Some of the benefits of Swedish massage as well as all the other types of massage in general are - decreased healing time, increased flexibility and range of motion, decreases mental stress and in general all types of massage have a positive effect on the whole person, physical, mental, and emotionally, thus relaxing the person and relieving the physical effects of stress on the body.
Things to Know Before You're on the Table
Before you visit your therapist or masseuse, it is important that you are fully aware of what happens while you're getting the massage. It is essential that you remove your clothes before the massage begins. Your masseuse will cover you up with a towel, to give you some privacy. However, the areas that need to be massaged or worked on, will have to be exposed at that time. Now if you do not feel comfortable in doing so, you can keep your underwear on during the entirety of the massage.

Once you are ready, your masseuse will ask you if there are any specific areas that need to be worked on. After that, he/she will apply some essential oils and begin the massage. The amount of pressure applied will depend completely on you. Do make sure that you tell the masseuse if you're feeling unwell or the strokes/movements are not helping.
Things to Remember Post Massage
After getting a massage, it is highly recommended that you, the person who received the massage, drink several glasses of water to eliminate the toxins that have been released. In addition, it has been found that a long, hot soak in Epsom salts also aids in elimination of these toxins. If you are doing this at home, add 2-4 cups salts into a full bath of hot water (not too hot or your skin might burn), and submerge for at least twenty minutes.

Drinking 4-6 glasses of water either during or after the bath is recommended to prevent dehydration. Place a cold compress on the forehead and enjoy! And like with any bath cool off with a cool shower or cloth and slowly and carefully get out of the tub for safety reasons. Sit or lay back and relax for about an hour to get the body in balance.
As we mentioned before, getting a massage is highly recommended. However, that doesn't mean you do not consult your doctor/physician before getting one. Being thoroughly informed is necessary, not just for good health, but for overall well-being.