The term “Swedish massage” refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed 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 main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles.
- shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes;
- increases circulation without increasing heart load;
- stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable;
- stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time;
- reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management; and carries out many specific medical uses.
Swedish massage techniques include:
- Effleurage: gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips;
- Petrissage: kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingers;
- Friction: circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingers;
- Vibration: oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body;
- Percussion: brisk hacking or tapping; and
- Passive and active movements: bending and stretching.