What is a Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage, originally called ‘The Swedish Movement Cure’ by Swedish doctor Per Henrik Ling, was created combining his knowledge of gymnastics and physiology together with techniques used by the Chinese, Greek, Egyptian and Romans. His massage consisted of long strokes, kneading motions, stretching, friction and tapping all of which are still used today.

To begin, long sweeping strokes called effleurage are used to gently warm the muscles. Plant oils are used for massage as they are easily absorbed and allow the hands to glide over and not drag the skin. As the muscles warm this technique can be used with more depth to increase blood and lymph flow and improve skin tone. Once warmed and malleable the muscles are ready for additional techniques, kneading (petrissage), stretching, frictions and tapping with the edge of the hand (tapotement). These techniques are used to give a deeper, more invigorating massage.

Massage is also beneficial for tendon and ligament problems together with aiding the release of muscle tension pre or post exercise when incorporated with a warm up/warm down routine.

The benefits of Swedish massage can be many:-

  • Improved circulation by increasing blood and oxygen flow around the body
  • Improved muscle and skin tone
  • Increased muscle flexibility and mobility
  • Reduces the accumulation of fluid in the muscle tissue
  • Assists the filtering and excretion of waste fluids from the body
  • Assists with the reduction and reabsorption of adhesions and scar tissue into the body
  • Abdominal massage can assist with digestive disorders, eg. IBS and constipation
  • Assists with lowering blood pressure
  • Boosts the immune system function
  • Can aid the effects of a healthy eating or exercise programme
  • Assist with the symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety by increasing levels of serotonin to create a general feeling of balance and wellbeing
  • Can induce total relaxation for both mind and body

Treatment is discussed and individually tailored to each client’s personal requirements. Aftercare advice may be offered to enhance and prolong the benefit of treatment, which may be some form of exercise or a technique to protect or support a part of the body or muscle group.

Massage is a holistic approach to treating the whole person – mind, body and spirit and in doing so helps those receiving massage to heal themselves.  Regular massage, once a month, could help to enhance relaxation and sleep, reduce stress levels and help maintain muscle tone and flexibility for exercise and mobility for people of all ages.

Massage is the perfect self- help therapy!


Jo is our Sports Massage Therapist, click here for more information