There was a Swede named Peter Ling who developed the "Swedish Gymnastic Movements" around 1813 and it had nothing to do with getting or giving a massage, though the gymnasts may have gotten a massage at some point. Somehow the name "Swedish Movement" became a reference to a system of massage developed by a DUTCH guy named Johan Georg Mezgor after 1850.
What is sometimes known as classical massage, but more often as Swedish Massage (for no real reason apparently) is a treatment integrating specific strokes with fancy FRENCH names. The therapy is designed to relax the body and reduce pain using specific strokes on the muscle while other massage techniques focus on acupressure points (Shiatsu) the feet and hands (reflexology) the fascia (myofascial release) and so on.
Swedish is a very body based modality as opposed to others that are neurological or balance based. Stay tuned to learn more about what these Swedish French strokes are, what they do and why Deep Tissue is basically deep Swedish, otherwise known as a massage!
Here's the next part of the series: What is Swedish 2: Different Strokes.
Now that we have established that Swedish massage has nothing to do with Sweden or being Swedish but is a therapeutic system of massage using specific strokes, some with French names. The first two are effleurage and petrissage.
Effleurage in French means to "skim"or "touch lightly" and it is one of the first techniques used in a session. Effleurage uses long, light to firm strokes up the limbs and down the back and other areas . It is used to spread oil, warm up tissue, increase circulation, soothe muscle and nerves and is very relaxing. Mostly the palms of the hands are used but the heal or side of hand, fingers, thumbs and forearms are utilized. There are endless ways of integrating effleurage into a session.
Petrissage means "to knead" and is a wringing "pick up and squeeze" technique meant to 'milk' the muscle and is best used on bigger muscles in the thighs, calves and upper arms. Petrissage grips deeper muscles and squeezes to stimulate skin and lymph. This is a firm to medium pressure technique done after effleurage has warmed the body.
There are 3 more stroke styles that make a massage Swedish!
I bet you're ready for Part 3 of What Is Swedish?
In part one you find out that Sweden has pretty much nothing to do with Swedish massage and that no one knows why! Part 2 showed us the first 2 of 5 strokes that are used in what we call Swedish Massage. The first 2 are the only ones with fancy French names, the rest are pretty self explanatory. Today we introduce Compression!
And it's basically what it sounds like; using compressive movement with the flat or heel of hand on the muscle. It's one of my favorites actually; it affects a larger surface area, can be rhythmic and relaxing or static, and I like to add a circular motion that gently rocks the entire body.
This massage technique concentrates on one area to warm it up and really get the blood moving to the muscles. It can have a very deep effect on the body sometimes producing a "big" sensation in the client as a bigger space of locked up tissue refers sensation throughout the body. The areas I use compression the most are glutes, low back, between shoulder blades, upper thighs, hamstrings, feet, pecs and in one of my most famous moves called 'cat paws' where I alternate compression downward on the shoulders.
In Part 1 of What is Swedish I explain that deep tissue is really just Deep Swedish and compression is really the first indicator of that; it sinks in deeper than the top most layers!
We have 2 more to go so stay tuned for parts 4 and 5 of What is Swedish: Different Strokes!
Hello and welcome to part 4 of a 5 part series on Swedish Massage: what it is, what it does and where does it come from reaally? To answer that I've been profiling each of the specific strokes that make a massage Swedish (even though it has nothing to do with Sweden: see part 1)
Today we talk about Tapotement which is the 'fun' technique!! This is also referred to as the 'movie massage' because of the chopping, striking and thumping action usually seen in movies! These techniques stimulate and tone muscles, work the trigger points in the glutes and upper back and also keep the session interesting by changing up the pace.
Other forms of tapotement are jostling and shaking muscle groups. This is stimulating yet relaxing as the nerves get their own mini massage while the tissues swivel around them! Jostling is good for joints, tendons, and pressure points. In fact the effects of jostling techniques can be so profound that there are entire disciplines and modalities based on them such as Kinesthetic Awareness Through Movement (KAM) and Continuum!
There are many ways to use tapotement movements such as lifting limbs, the head and abdomen or rigorously shaking feet and hands to jostling isolated muscle and karate chopping the legs. This is a very fun part of Swedish Massage!
Stay tunes for our final, most intense stroke that shows how Swedish is as deep as any technique on the menu!!!
And now the conclusion of my 5 part series on Swedish Massage: what is it?
I've been breaking down the specific techniques that apply to Swedish, or, as we learn in part one,
Classic Massage or::: massage. Swedish strokes work the muscles and tissues in specific ways to relax the body and reduce pain. Today we introduce the stroke used in what we call deep tissue and why Deep Tissue is really just Deep Swedish... or deep massage
Deep friction is direct finger pressure on an area of the muscle or fascia that feels textured, like there is a palpable trigger point or an adhesion. Focused pressure is used to break down the tissue and bring blood back into the area. THe pressure can be static, circular or with back and forth movement. When the muscle feels rocky or crystalized to the touch then it is likely not receiving adequate blood flow. The deep friction is actually creating a tiny injury to bring blood to the area: basically causing a healing reaction. This technique is part of 2 separate modalities: trigger point therapy and neuromuscular therapy. Trigger points deserve their very own 5 part series.... coming soon!
Deep friction is also called cross fiber friction as it can go across the striations in the muscle to increase blood flow and healing! Deep friction is my personal specialty and I am highly proficient in the palpation and treatment of trigger points. I spend a good amount of time performing this stroke in my sessions.
And this brings us to the end of my 5 part series on What Is Swedish?? Hope you enjoyed it and feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Hope to see you soon!