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Basic Swedish Massage

Swedish / Western massage is an oil massage using five types of manipulation: effleurage (long strokes), petrissage (kneading), friction (deep circular movement), tapotement (percussion), and vibration to promote relaxation, improve circulation, relieve tension, and expand the range of motion.

Swedish massage was developed in the 1700's by a Swedish doctor. Swedish massage has long been thought of as the first organized and systematic method of modern massage therapy therapeutic massage in the western world. The specific strokes and manipulations of Swedish massage are each conceived as having definite therapeutic benefits. The goal of Swedish massage is to speed the venous return of un- oxygenated and toxins from the extremities. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses. It is effective for most ailments, because massaging the skin, the body's largest organ, sets up a chain reaction that produces a positive effect on all layers and systems of the body. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, while promoting health and well being.

Swedish massage refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The lymph system and veins (which carry blood back to the heart) both rely on muscle action, rather than heart pressure. Many believe it is safe to apply light pressure in the opposite direction. Oil or other lubricant such as baby powder reduces friction during the Swedish massage. Some practitioners claim benefits from vegetable rather than mineral oil. Swedish massage can relax muscles, increase circulation, remove metabolic waste products, help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, and a better awareness of their body and the way they use and position it.

Key Benefits

  • Deep relaxation and stress reduction

  • Relief of muscle tension and stiffness

  • Greater joint flexibility and range of motion

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Relief from tension-related headaches and eye strain

  • Strengthened immune system and disease prevention

  • Relaxed state of alertness

  • Increased capacity for clearer thinking

  • Greater feeling of well-being

  • Enhanced self-image

  • Reduced levels of anxiety


Summary of Strokes- Chart form of massage stokes including efflerage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, vibration, swedish gymnastics: Purose/Uses, Mechanical effect, reflexive effect, Contraindications.

Glossary of Terms related to Swedish Massage.

Contraindications - by systems    by area of body                             


Swedish Massage sample test questions

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