Swedish Massage is a form of bodywork that incorporates a unique variety of techniques that aims to relax and rejuvenate tense muscles. Generally a more gentle form of massage, Swedish Massage flushes the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes to increase circulation while rejuvenating and soothing the nervous system. This kind of massage sooth both physical and emotional stress and is often integrated into a regular health maintenance regime.
Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee over a period of eight weeks. It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation.
The development of Swedish massage is credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes. The term “Swedish” massage is not really known in the country of Sweden, where it is called “classic massage”.