During a Swedish massage, the massage therapist will use her hands, forearms and elbows to stimulate the superficial muscle tissues. The person receiving the massage lies on a massage table and is fully covered by a sheet, except the area being massaged. The licensed massage therapist applies gentle to medium pressure of the hands to the body, gently manipulating the tissue to promote deep relaxation. The gentle kneading and rubbing of the outer layers of the body tissue covers a wide range of areas on the body including the back, legs, arms and neck. The overall effects of relaxation or Swedish massage can heighten the holistic, healing experience and allow for greater relaxation and restoration of one’s energy balance. Swedish massage helps create an overall sense of relaxation and provides mental calmness and improved physical health.
Swedish massage involves a combination of five basic strokes: kneading, stroking, friction, tapping, and vibration. These techniques are specifically designed to concentrate on muscle and connective tissue for improved circulation, relaxation, pain relief and overall health maintenance. The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. It shortens the recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes.
A Swedish massage would be performed using these various techniques by applying pressure to the muscles and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The usual sequence in which the Swedish massage strokes are conducted are Effleurage, Petrissage, Friction, Vibration, Percussion, and finally passive and active stretching. Swedish massage benefits include reduced stress, improved circulation, increased muscle tone, better range of motion and better drainage of the lymphatic system.