Swedish massage is the most commonly offered and best-known type of massage. It uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage.
The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fiber) and vibration/shaking. During Swedish massage, massage therapists apply massage oil to your skin to facilitate the various massage strokes.
Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness, and improving overall body function. It has also been shown to be helpful in individuals with poor circulation. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension and creates other health benefits. It can be slow and gentle or vigorous and bracing, depending on what the therapist wants to achieve.
The development of Swedish massage is often inaccurately credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes. The term “Swedish” massage is actually only recognized in English or Dutch speaking countries. Elsewhere the style is referred to as “classic massage”.