Swedish Massage

Massage became popular in the West during the 19th century through the influence of the Swede Pir Henrik Ling (1776-1839).  Ling used a knowledge of physiology to develop a system of treatment combining massage with physical exercise. This became known as Swedish massage, and the French terms he gave to some movements are still used today.  A sequence usually starts with effleurage, followed by petrissage, friction, vibrations, tapotement, effleurage again, and passive movements.

Swedish massage is a group of techniques used for relaxation and therapeutic massage. Swedish massage can be light to moderate pressure or deeper pressure. Light to moderate pressure can benefit in increasing local venous and lymphatic return which aids in increasing local circulation or to reduce edema. This has a relaxing effect on the body and helps with stress release. When Swedish techniques are used for relaxation it can help reduce muscle soreness, decrease stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, decrease muscle tension, improve sleep and decrease depression.

Swedish techniques that are applied with deeper pressure also help increase circulation but are also used to break up knots (muscular adhesion) and reduce muscular tension. Adhesion's in muscles and muscular tension can cause pain, discomfort and even headaches.

"The aim of the Swedish treatment is, by a careful manipulation of muscles and joints, to restore to good health such as are in any way diseased."

Kurre W. Ostrom, Massage and the Original Swedish Movement, c.1885

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