Swedish Massage is a system of long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration and shaking motions that apply pressure between muscles and bones, rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Swedish Massage feels good, is relaxing and invigorating.
The main purpose of Swedish Massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Some other benefits include shortening recovery time from muscular strain, increased circulation without increased heart load, stretching of ligaments and tendons, skin stimulation and soothing of the nervous system. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested as part of a regular program for stress management.
The sequence of techniques usually used in a session of Swedish Massage are:
- Effleurage: gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Petrissage: kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Friction: circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Vibration: oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body.
- Percussion: brisk hacking or tapping.
- Passive and Active Movements: bending and stretching.
The patient is required to be appropriately unclothed for the treatments, which would usually be for an hour, although longer or shorter treatments are also possible.