An Introduction to
The technique of Swedish massage is the most well-known modality. Also called traditional massage, it uses rhythemic and flowing strokes to stimulate the system to relieve muscle tension and sore joints, and relax the mind and body.
Swedish massage therapists use five basic strokes, all flowing towards the heart, which anyone can learn and use on themselves and others.
The basic strokes are -
- Effleurage (stroking)
- Petrissage (muscles are lightly grabbed and lifted)
- Friction (thumbs and fingertips work in deep circles into the thickest part of muscles)
- Tapotement (chopping, beating, and tapping strokes)
- Vibration (fingers are pressed or flattened firmly on a muscle, then the area is shaken rapidly for a few seconds).
In the 1820s a Swedish doctor, Dr. Per Henrik Ling, developed the first modern method of massage through his study of physiology, gymnastics, and the massage techniques borrowed from China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
This modality also improves circulation and can help lower blood pressure. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, and promotes health and well being.