The Swedish or ‘classic’ massage incorporates a number of strokes and techniques that were commonly used in a number of different massage styles that were first organized into a coherent system by a 19th century Dutch practitioner and gymnast named Johan Mezger. The history of massage in Europe dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, but it was Mezger who adopted the French names and terminology used to describe the basic strokes and techniques of the classic massage. The precursor to the modern-day spa massage, the Swedish massage had become quite popular by the 1890’s.
Swedish massage remains popular to this day and is widely used in order to address a number of physical ailments that may be the result of exertion, injury or even emotional stress.
The Swedish massage style utilize four fundamental massage techniques:
Long gliding strokes where the massage therapist uses their whole hand or the pad of their thumb. These stokes relax muscle tissue and improve blood and lymphatic flow.
A deep stroke used to lift and separate muscles from the bone. This technique allows the therapist to gently roll and squeeze the muscles, utilizing compression and kneading motions in order to stimulate circulation deep within the muscle tissue.
Friction massage strokes
Used near joints and areas of the body where bones are more prominent, this is a deep penetrating stoke applied in a circular or transverse movement. The friction of this stroke is able to break down adhesions of muscle and connective tissues in order to alleviate pain and improve flexibility.
This is a percussive motion where the therapist utilizes in order to strike or tap the muscles, producing an invigorating effect. There are many variations of this stoke, with some utilizing an closed fish and others where the therapist makes use of the edge of their hand or fingertips. This technique is ideal for use on tense muscles and spasms.
Swedish massage therapy may benefit in alleviating physical discomfort associated with exertion, muscle strains, headaches and even medical conditions such as fibromyalgia. The relaxation and sense of well-being that may be achieved during a session may be helpful in reducing anxiety, insomnia that may be related to emotional stress, and may even be of benefit in managing the symptoms of a digestive disorder.
What to Expect During a Session
Most people undress completed for a full-body massage. While some people choose to wear underwear, a blanket or towel will be provided for privacy, and the body will be covered at all times except for the area being worked on. Drinking plenty of water before a session is important in order to ensure proper hydration, and taking a hot shower in order to begin relaxing the muscles may allow you to improve the quality and results of a session.