The techniques in Swedish massage are the basis for a lot of other types of massage. In Texas, the state licensing exam to become a Licensed Massage Therapist is based on Swedish massage techniques.
Clients love Swedish massage because it is very relaxing and loosens muscles that are tight. The muscles may be tight due to sitting at a desk all day, working out, stress, etc.
Strokes Used in Swedish Massage
Specifically, Swedish massage uses five main strokes. These are what define a Swedish massage:
- Effluerage – These are gliding sorts of strokes done with the therapist’s hands, fingers, or even forearms. This is the foundation of a Swedish massage and is used for many different purposes, such as applying lotion, assessing the tissues, increasing circulation, and calming the nervous system.
- Petrisage – These are more compression type motions, pushing or kneading the tissue. There are many reasons to use pettrisage. Among other reasons, it helps break up tension, reduces swelling, and stimulates the nervous system.
- Friction – Superficial frictioning is done on the surface of the skin by briskly rubbing on the outermost layer of the skin to create heat. Deep frictioning reaches deeper layers of tissues. Its purpose is to create heat. It increases circulation and relaxes muscles.
- Tapotement – This is a striking movement. Could be with the side or palm of the therapist’s hands, fingertips, or sides of fists. It can promote relaxation and increase blood flow. It can also make a sensitive area less sensitive.
- Vibration – Vibration is a large category. The techniques could be small, as when the therapist uses only her fingers (without breaking contact with the skin as in tapotement), or large, as in shaking an arm or rocking the body. It can be quite relaxing and is thought to help relieve pain. It also improves circulation.
How Massage Strokes Are Used
Your massage therapist uses these strokes in different sequences to create a calming effect. You lie on the massage table under a sheet. When the massage therapists wants to work on a leg, for example, she will undrape that leg only and work on it. The massage therapist applies lotions or oils are directly on the skin to accomplish these techniques, so it is important that the massage therapist has access to the skin in the area you want worked on.
In summary, Swedish massage is wonderful for promoting relaxation. Many clients find they get a better night’s sleep after a massage and tell me they are much more relaxed. Many even fall asleep while I’m working on them, which is totally fine.
I, personally, love Swedish massage, which is why I decided to go to school and learn it. It is a wonderful thing to do for self care.
Do you live in the Richardson or Plano, Texas area? Even Dallas area? If you’d like to make an appointment, please take a look at my schedule here. New clients will need to text/call me at 972.813.9083 to book.