Swedish massage is among the most popular methods in practice today. The method, developed and popularized in the late 1700’s by Per Henrik Ling the founder of the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics in Stockholm, employs the use of a massage table, oils and/or lotions, and a series of therapeutic manipulations of muscle tissue in a professional setting in which only the area of the body being worked on is exposed.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg popularized the health benefits of Swedish massage in the United States in the early 20th century. Western medical practitioners have since embraced massage therapy for its health benefits, including injury prevention and rehabilitation, improved muscle tone and circulation, and treatment of chronic pain, headaches, and stress.
A massage therapist trained in the Swedish style will employ any combination of the five basic Swedish strokes during your session: effleurage, long gliding and smoothing strokes that stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation; petrissage, kneading and wringing strokes that warm tissues and increase the nutrient and oxygen supply to a muscle; friction, focused strokes that move underlying muscle tissue to break up local adhesions and carries away metabolic wastes; vibration, fine tremulous strokes that stimulate nerve activity; and tapotement, soft fist tapping and beating to soften surrounding tissues and increase muscle tone.
While there are some conditions that contraindicate massage, including active inflammation and severe pain, most clients will benefit from a therapeutic Swedish massage.