Swedish massage is a wonderful massage that can be soothing and relaxing or stimulating and energizing depending on the speed of the techniques used. There are 5 techniques used in a traditional Swedish massage and they are:
- Effleurage: the hands are used to make long, fluid strokes over the surface of the body. This technique increases blood and lymph flow and it also sooths the nervous system.
- Petrissage: the hands knead, press, roll, and squeeze the tissues with relatively deep pressure. This technique helps flush wastes from the tissues, helps to increase muscle strength and size, and stimulates nerve endings. Used superficially, this technique has a quieting and soothing effect on the nervous system similar to the effleurage.
- Friction: the fingertips or thumbs are used to make small circular movements towards the center of the body or around the joints. This technique limbers muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Tapotement: the hands or fingertips are used to rapidly strike the body in a springy rhythmic manner. This technique increases contraction of the muscle fibers, increases blood supply, and stimulates the nervous system.
- Vibration: the hands are used to rapidly shake the body. This technique increases the contractile power of the muscles and stimulates circulation.