I think that Swedish massage is what most people first imagine when they think of massage. Like the stereotypical movie scene where a matronly European women gives you a rub-down and then benignly batters you with the sides of her soft fists (BTW, that technique is called tapotement).
Swedish massage is the foundation of most modern Western massage education for good reason. It’s a well-established, systematic way to manipulate muscles and other tissues in a very relaxing way. Among the many benefits of Swedish massage:
- reduce stress/increase relaxation
- improve circulation (both blood and lymph)
- increase state of well-being
- reduce muscle hypertonicity, tension, and spasm
- improve mobility; increase range of motion (ROM); restore ease of movement
A classic Swedish massage involves an hour or more of flowing (effleurage), squeezing (petrissage), rubbing (friction), and gentle, passive manipulation of joints (Swedish gymnastics). It’s profoundly relaxing and often leaves my clients on the verge of a nap.
With a name like Swanson, I’d better be good at Swedish massage, and I am. In fact, it was an introductory Swedish massage class in 1989 that made me realized that I had an aptitude for this work (how it took me another 8 years to get to massage school is another story).