In the classical treatment this gentle technique of long strokes, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration and kneading movements are used to release muscle tensions, remove the pain and improve blood circulation. Massage strokes generally are performed in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
Swedish massage reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested as part of a regular program for stress management. The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. It also just simply feels good.
Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes. It also has specific clinical uses in a medical or remedial therapy. The strokes and manipulations of Swedish massage are each conceived as having a specific therapeutic benefit: Swedish massage techniques include:
- Petrissage: Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Effleurage: Gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Friction: Circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingertips.
- Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body.
- Percussion: Brisk hacking or tapping.
- Passive and Active Movements: Bending and stretching.