What is a Swedish Massage?

What is a Swedish Massage?

We’ve written quite a bit on this blog about the benefits of a good massage, how it can alleviate back pain, lessen depression and anxiety, and help us recover from our workouts.

But not all massages are the same. There’s deep tissue massage, for example, for people who are experienced massage goers, and things like hot stone massage, where a masseuse uses intense heat to help release tension.

And then there’s Swedish massage, perhaps the most popular member of the massage family.


What is a Swedish massage?

Swedish massage is sort of the archetypical massage, the thing that most people picture when they talk about getting a massage.

But what is a Swedish massage? What does it have to do with Sweden? And how does it work?

Swedish massage doesn’t actually come from Sweden. It was actually invented by a Dutch doctor named Johann Georg Mezger in the late 1860s.

A Swedish educator named Per Henrik Ling is often credited with coming up with the concept. Ling invented a system of exercise called Medical Gymnastics that included some massage.

But it was Mezger used French massage techniques to develop the five-point system that we now know as Swedish massage:

  • Effleurage — A series of long, sweeping strokes at the beginning and end
  • Petrissage — Kneading and rolling of the muscles
  • Friction – Circular rubbing motions
  • Tapotement – Percussive motions, such as cupping and chopping
  • Vibration – Shaking of specific muscles

So if Mezger was Dutch, why aren’t we talking about “Dutch massage”?

Because over time, books used the same terms to describe both Ling’s gymnastics massages AND Mezger’s massage techniques, and thus, “Swedish” massage was born.

But whatever you call it, there’s no denying the benefits to this kind of massage.

What is a Swedish massage’s key benefit?

The main benefit to getting a Swedish massage is making you feel relaxed. For 60 minutes or so, your massage therapist will help relax the individual muscles of your body, while the overall experience helps calm our nerves.

But that’s not the only reason for getting a Swedish massage. Other benefits include:

1. Pain relief

People dealing with chronic pain or sports-related injuries have turned to Swedish massage for pain relief. Your massage session can help alleviate pain in a certain area, or to help you cope with chronic pain that comes from conditions such as arthritis.

2.Increased blood flow

The long stroking motions involved with your massage open your blood vessels and increase blood flow, which means your muscles are getting more oxygen and nutrients and your body is repelling toxins.

3. Less stress

Swedish massage is designed to make you feel more relaxed. Maybe it’s the – quite literal – hands-on attention, or the fact that you can just rest for 60-90 minutes, or some combination of the two.

Whatever the case, you’ll leave the table feeling less stressed, which brings some benefits of its own, including more energy and better sleep.

4. Improved Flexibility

Swedish massage – when combined with regular stretching – can help you get the most out of your workouts and prevent exercise-related injuries.

Are you searching for a Swedish massage in Philadelphia? Body Restoration can help. We often 60, 75 and 90-minute sessions designed to make you feel relaxed and refreshed. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.