Swedish massage is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, as well as to relieve depression and anxiety and aid in recuperation from chronic illness. Swedish massage is also referred to as classical massage, and — contrary to popular understanding — does not originate from Sweden. There are five main strokes, or movements, that make up a Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Each technique was created to help soothe, stimulate, soften, and rejuvenate muscles and other soft tissue.
During a Swedish style massage, the client will lie on a massage table in a comfortable position — usually facedown to start. Clients can choose to be clothed or nude; if they are nude, the massage therapist will drape them with a cloth so they are never exposed. A Swedish massage typically lasts from 45 to 120 minutes, depending on client need and pricing agreement. During the massage, the therapist typically employs all of the stroke techniques as a way to ease any tension in the body. Swedish massage is one of the most gentle types of massage and is known for being soothing and relaxing.
There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:
- Effleurage: Sweeping, gliding, smooth long strokes done with the hands or forearms. These strokes can loosen and warm the body and are said to help stimulate blood flow.
- Friction: These circular or transverse rubbing strokes are also warming and can get deeper into the muscle tissue. They should be avoided on injured or inflamed areas or areas.
- Petrissage: Lifting, kneading, skin rolling, muscle rolling and wringing. These movements help with circulation, which stimulates cell regeneration, and aid in loosening tense muscles.
- Tapotement: Tapping, plucking, cupping and pounding. Tapotement movements can help improve blood circulation and cell rejuvenation, and also relax and release tight muscles.
- Vibration: Rocking, shaking and trembling movements. These motions can help muscles release.
Everyone loves Swedish massage. It’s soothing and relaxing and, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is proven to relieve pain. Swedish massage can also relieve symptoms associated with chronic illness, arthritis, depression and other ailments. The term Swedish massage is actually a massive mixup, according to Massage Magazine. The technique would be more aptly named classical massage, which it is often called. What we in the United States refer to as Swedish massage was actually invented by a Dutch physician named Johan Georg Mezger. Mezger systematized and gave French names to the five massage techniques used today in Swedish (or classic) massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. The confusion began when the techniques systematized by Mezger were attributed to Per Henrik Ling, the founder of the Swedish Movement System who had practiced his similar techniques in his gymnasium. In many parts of the world, Swedish massage is called classic massage, and most massage therapists will understand either term.
A Swedish massage can range from 45 minutes to 120 minutes or more. A longer massage allows the massage therapist to give you an all-over massage and then circle back to focus on areas in need of extra bodywork. Some massage therapists recommend that your first massage be longer to give the therapist time to learn more about your health and any injuries or pain before providing you with a healing massage. The longer your massage, the more it will cost. Swedish massage is made up of five body strokes designed to relax, heal, improve circulation and maintain health. The techniques are called effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. During Swedish massage, all parts of the body are addressed, and the client is often unclothed and draped with a cloth. Swedish massage is proven to be beneficial to mental and physical health, and has been shown by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine to boost the immune system.
Having a Swedish massage can promote relaxation, relieve stress and help you feel great. The national average price range to hire a massage therapist is $70-$90, with prices varying based on length of massage and location. Costs may be higher for a Swedish massage if the client would like services in their home or office, as the massage therapist has to transport their massage table and account for transportation costs. Geographic location can also affect costs, as regions with a lower cost of living and a lower cost to do business will have lower rates than pricey areas such as San Francisco or New York. Here are some examples of average Swedish massage costs:
- $50 for a 60-minute massage in North Texas.
- $55 for a 60-minute massage in Central Texas.
- $60 for a 60-minute massage in New Jersey.
- $100 for a 60-minute massage in San Francisco Bay Area.