Swedish massage is the most popular and best-known type of massage in Western countries. It is also the foundation for other types of massage, like aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage and sports massage.
Was Swedish Massage Really Developed in Sweden?
No. “Swedish massage” is actually something of a misnomer. The Swedish physiologist Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839), who worked at the University of Stockholm, developed “Medical Gymnastics,” a system that involved movements performed by a therapist. The “Medical Gymnastics” were called “the Swedish Movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” in the United States. Ling’s treatment came to the United States in 1858. Decades later, the Dutch physician Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) devised a system for massage and is believed to have chosen the French names for the different strokes now used in massage.
In “The History of Massage,” Robert Noah Calvert wrote that people confused Ling’s system with Mezger’s system. Since Ling had come first, people credited him with the massage techniques that Mezger had systemized. Consequently, Mezger’s techniques became known as the “Swedish massage system” and later “Swedish massage.” In Sweden, it’s known as “classic massage.”
The Basic Strokes
Swedish massage involves several different strokes, with the following four being the most common:
• Effleurage is a long, smooth and gliding stroke used to help relax tissues
• Friction is a set of circular and deep movements used to make layers of tissue rub against one another and thus break down scar tissue and stimulate blood flow
• Petrissage is a set of kneading, rolling or squeezing strokes done after effleurage
• Tapotement is a brief tapping that can be done with the fingers, the edge of the hand or with cupped hands
What is a Swedish Massage Like?
In most cases, the therapist will have the patient lie face down while they work on their back and legs. The client will then be asked to turn over so the therapist can work on their chest, arms and face. The therapist will use massage oils to lubricate the skin. During the massage, they will work to relax the muscles and rub out knots or adhered tissues. If the client asks them to, the therapist will concentrate on a particular area.
When working with a new client, the therapist will first ask them about their health. They will want to know what parts of the body are sore or tight. They will also want to know about any injuries, health problems or recent surgeries. The therapist will also want to know if the client prefers firm or light pressure.
Experience the Benefits of a Swedish Massage
With locations in Milford, Framingham and Hopedale, MacMed Spa offers a number of different massages, with Swedish massage being one of the most popular. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for a massage.