Swedish massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. The five basic strokes are effleurage (light touch), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (compression), and vibration. 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. Research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state anxiety.
Why It’s Called Swedish Massage.
Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the University of Stockholm.
In the early 19th century he developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included movements performed by a therapist. These became the known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today it is simply known as Swedish massage Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage.