Swedish massage therapy is the most well-known type of massage therapy used today. The purpose of the Swedish massage is to relax the entire body by using long gliding strokes and applying pressure and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. This increases oxygen flow in the blood and releases toxins from the muscles.
A Swedish massage helps to shorten recovery time from muscle strain and reduces emotional and physical stress. By affecting the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, a Swedish massage promotes overall health and well being. A typical Swedish massage consists of a variety of techniques. These include:
- Effleurage – long gliding strokes with the thumbs, palms and fingertips.
- Petrissage – Kneading movement used for muscle tension.
- Vibration – Rhythmic shaking of the body, normally the neck and shoulders.
- Friction – Circular pressures that work muscle fibers.
- Tapotement – Gentle pounding of the body usually used at the end of the massage.