Swedish Massage is characterized by five basic stroke techniques: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration. A massage therapist uses long gliding strokes on the top layer of muscles and uses kneading, vibration, percussion and active and passive movements.
A full-body Swedish massage is the most common massage method today. In fact, if asked to envision a massage, there is a very good chance you would visualize a Swedish-style massage. But what exactly does it entail?
A Swedish-style massage primarily involves long, soft, kneading strokes to release tension from the deepest muscles of your body. While releasing tension from the surface layers of muscles, this method uses light, tapping, rhythmic strokes. Both these techniques are combined with joint movement to relax, energize, and heal your joints and muscles.
A Swedish-style massage usually starts with the effleurage stroke. This smooth, gliding stroke relaxes soft tissue. Then, the petrissage stroke is used. This stroke involves kneading, rolling, and squeezing.
To treat scar tissue and heal injuries, friction strokes are used. Friction strokes involve deep, circular movements that rub one layer of tissue against another tissue layer. For rapid recovery from exercise, the tapotement stroke is used. The tapotement stroke is characterized by an alternating, short tap performed with the edge of the hand, fingers, or cupped hand.
There are several reasons why people choose to receive a Swedish-style massage. The benefits go far beyond muscle relaxation. It is particularly beneficial for decreasing muscle toxins, improving flexibility, improving circulation, and increasing blood oxygenation.