A Swedish massage will give relief to a client’s muscle tension with the use of gently kneading movements and rhythmic tapping. Due to this, its popularity is rapidly increasing. Many more people are requesting it during their visits to Spas, as well. However, little is known about where this style came from, its difference with other techniques, or its benefits. Let’s learn what is a Swedish massage? In this article, we will dig more in depth on the background, methods, and advantages of Swedish Massage.
The History of Swedish Massage
As the name implies, Swedish massage is supposedly from Sweden; however, that is not entirely true. The beginning of Swedish massage is credited to its inventor, Per Henrik Ling. Ling was a Swedish national who worked as a Fencing instructor. According to reports, he applied tapping strokes on his injured elbow to release tension.
After Ling’s long years of dedication to fencing, he found himself in new paths. These paths led him on a journey of mastering physical fitness as he studied anatomy and other types of athletic activities. Later on, he created a system that combined gymnastics and exercise, which he called as Medical Gymnastics.
Although, at some point, a Doctor named Johann Georg Mezge contested Ling’s claim as the legitimate originator of the Swedish massage. Similar to Ling, Mezger also had a background in gymnastics when he resided in Westermarkt, Amsterdam. He later studied medicine at Leiden University. It was here that he wrote : “The Treatment of Distoria Pedis with Frictions,” a book that birthed primitive notions of a Swedish massage.
It is tough to pinpoint between was the founder of Swedish Massage between Ling and Mezger. However, whether it is Ling who founded Swedish massage, or he got the idea from Mezger’s book (what is a swedish massage?), the name it currently has is in honor of Ling.
Different Strokes Involved
Now that we have discussed the background of the Swedish massage, let’s go on into its techniques. Throughout the world, there are several versions of a Swedish massage. In fact, how it is being performed differs from one spa to another. However, five key components are maintained regardless of how the versions vary. These component are what embodies the primary foundation of a Swedish massage.
Effleurage (gliding, deep, strokes)
Effleurage of French origin, which means ‘lightly touch.’ In the Swedish Mass context, it refers to a stroke that glides towards the heart. Masseurs commonly use the palm of their hands to create gentle pressure applied on the back, legs, arms, and neck. Often, this is the first stroke applied after putting on oils in the client’s surface. It is an excellent way to start relaxing the muscles.
Friction (Firm, rubbing motions)
As the name implies, friction strokes utilize pressure that requires a little strength to reach deeper muscles. The application pressure is done by putting the entire body weight into the palms of the hand against the client. After that, the force should be smoothly and moderately released.
Petrissage (Muscle kneading)
The Petrissage motions are pretty is similar to kneading a dough. Masseurs need to raise, rotate, and press the flesh between or under the hands. This kind of stroke enhances the blood flow, relieve muscle stress, and release Lymphatic build-ups.
Tapotement (Tapping movements)
Tapotement is a tapping movement technique in Swedish massage. As mentioned earlier, this is what Ling used to relieve the tension of his injured elbow. It requires a swift, irregular, but rhythmic tapping movement, which has a soothing and intoxicating result.
However, it is not as gentle as the prior mentioned techniques of a Swedish massage. It requires more strength and can cause fatigue on the side of the therapist when done over a long period. Not only that, but Tapotement also has several varieties. Some of these are the following:
This requires the hands of the masseur to take the shape of a cup. This variety is most effective on the back, legs, and arms part of the body. Then masseur shall make a rhythmic striking motion on to the body. – Source : Wikipedia
This variety of techniques requires the hands to be in a lightly clenched position. The buttock and thighs are where this is commonly applied.
In this variety, the hands must be in an open, stretched position. Similar to cupping, it is done with a striking motion commonly in the back, legs, and arms.
5. Vibration (Muscle shaking)
Just like as the name implies, this technique requires shaking of the body, which will eventually loosen up knotted muscles. With all the strokes mentioned above, Swedish is genuinely a sophisticated style of massage. What makes it more surprising is that when these strokes are combined, they result in a gentle and relaxing massage.
4 Benefits of Swedish Massage
In general, people avail of massage because they are relaxing. However, they are benefits that entirely exclusive from a Swedish massage. To name a few, here is a list of them:
- Enhance the Scope of Motion
Individuals who continuously partake in Swedish massage can notice an extended range in motion. This result is because of the kneading and stretching techniques involved. Muscles are also de-knotted during a Swedish massage session, which makes them more flexible.
- Stress Reduction
Just like other types of massages, Swedish is intended to make the clients feel relaxed. This is achieved by the rhythmic calming sounds and gentle strokes on the body.
- Recovery of Injured Muscles
Just like Ling, many athletes who suffer from muscle injury will find relief with Swedish massage. Its tapotement and vibration strokes are a crucial component in helping muscle recovery from trauma.
- Improve Sleep Pattern
The logic is when the body is relaxed, so is the mind. Swedish massage will make your body feel at ease with the gentle stroke and rhythmic movements. With that, the brain has more chance of releasing melatonin, which is also known as the sleep hormones.
Overall, Swedish massage is a sophisticated and effective form of massage therapy. Hope this article helped to learn what is a Swedish massage? Not only is it relaxing, but it will also help rejuvenate your tired and sore muscles, making them more comfortable and functional.