No treatment is older and more thoroughly tested than massage. It has a written history spanning 5000 years and flourished with the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
Revitalised, partly through an interest in fitness and health, and partly through an increase in natural healing methods massage is seen today as a complimentary and alternative form of medicine.
Swedish Massage as we know it today has been developed in Europe over several hundred years. In the eighteen hundreds, a Swede, Per Henrik Lind (1776 – 1839) travelled to China where he collected all their different techniques and methods of massage.
From these he developed his own system of massage based on a variety of movements involving pressure, friction, vibration and rotation. Hence the name… Swedish Massage. The term “Swedish” massage is not really known in the country of Sweden, where it is called “classic massage”.
The main objectives are:
The main movements of Swedish Massage have French names.
Consists of light or heavy stroking or rubbing movements to large areas of the body. It’s done with one or both hands and is usually the first and last movement in general massage.
This involves gently lifting muscles up and away from the bones, then rolling and squeezing them, again with a gentle pressure. It generally involves kneading and compression motions – rolling, squeezing, or pressing the muscles to enhance deeper circulation and relieve muscle spasms. Petrissage attempts to increase circulation with clearing out toxins from muscle and nerve tissue.
This is the most penetrating of the strokes, and consists of concentrated rubbing of the muscles and joints with the thumb pads or fingertips. Friction breaks down adhesions, which are knots that result when muscle fibers bind together during the healing process, thus contributing to more flexible muscles and joints.
This consists of a series of briskly applied percussion movements, using the hands alternately in cupping, hacking, flicking and pummeling. There are many variations on this stroke. It may be applied with the edge of the hand, with the tips of the fingers, or with a closed fist. Tapotement releases tension and cramping from muscles in spasm.