The Benefits Of Swedish Massage Therapy

Share this with a friend

Your Name
Recipient Email

3 Min Read

The impression that many people have of Swedish massage is that it can be a rather over-vigorous therapy. One in which the recipient is pummelled to within an inch of his or her life, and then somehow rises up from the couch, actually thanks his or her tormentor, and even pays for the experience. It is assumed, perhaps, that these last actions are performed in an attempt, by the customer, to placate the practitioner so that the latter will not be inclined to inflict any more punishment on the former.

Such is the all-too popular misconception. In fact, though, to be on the receiving end of a Swedish massage is an incredibly relaxing, even liberating, experience. The pummelling is light, not painful at all, and of course there is very much more to the therapy than that.

There are six basic techniques used in Swedish massage. Effleurage, a gentle stroking used to relax the muscles; petrissage, a kneading and lifting of the muscle tissues; friction, a light rubbing motion – usually against the grain of the muscle; vibration, with the tips of the fingers or balls of the hand; tapotement, light percussion with the hand held in various positions and the wrist very loose.

The area of the body to be massaged is generally, rather liberally, oiled. The therapist chooses which techniques to utilise as the therapy proceeds. This choice is dependent on the tensions which reveal themselves to the therapist as the tissue is worked.

Suitably licensed practitioners are permitted to perform what is termed ‘deep tissue massage’. This certainly sounds (by its description), and actually looks, quite vigorous. It is a form of therapy in which the practitioner uses a significant amount of strength, and/or body weight, to manipulate the tissue. However, the effect is, in fact, quite soothing – and more.

It has long been known (since the early work of Reich, a student of Freud’s) that long term emotional states are ‘stored’ in the body as well as in the brain. Reich identified a kind of chronic muscle tension, that he termed ‘body armouring’, which is the result of entrenched negative emotions and attitudes. He also discovered that releasing this kind of tension can have the effect of releasing the emotional blocks which give rise to it.

Chronic muscle tension, ‘body armouring’, can be released in a variety of ways. The ‘deep tissue massage’ technique, associated with Swedish massage, is one of the most successful of these. This is why, often, people who undergo such a treatment report feelings of not only relaxation but also liberation: from deep-seated and long term anxiety for instance.

Of course, Swedish massage can also be used to help alleviate physical problems: sports injuries, poor circulation, and so on. In fact, it is one of the most valuable ‘all-round’ manipulation therapies available. It has been under development now for around two centuries.

Swedish massage is very effective for relaxation. It can also be used to alleviate a large variety of conditions which might remain obstinately unresponsive to other forms of treatment. In order to discover whether the therapy is appropriate for a particular situation, it is necessary to consult a qualified therapist.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

Post a Comment
evanspetuniaflower 5pts

I didn't know that there were six techniques in a Swedish massage, I enjoyed learning what they are though.  It was also really interesting to learn about how this type of massage isn't at all harsh, but soothing. I think that I'd like to get this massage sometime, I could use some relaxing! 

correysmith321 5pts

Would you need to take a kinesiology training course in order to perform a Swedish massage? This type of question came to my mind after reading about this and it sounds all new to me. Maybe it would be good information for me probably start sharing with my son who's thinking about taking a massage therapy class. http://www.omshanticollege.com.au/kinesiology-training.html 

RosabelleJohnson 5pts

The last little while, I have been so tense. Between work, and all of my kids schedules, I don't have any time for myself. I think that getting a massage is just what I need! It sounds so relaxing, and soothing. I think that I would feel very refreshed afterwards. 


JackMoore89 5pts

This is actually pretty cool. Most people only think of massages as a luxury, but it's important to remember they can have a big impact on health as well. I know I used to scoff at people who got massages, but after a long hard workout it can almost do more good than stretching. I will always recommend massage therapy. http://www.lamesawellness.com/services/ 

jstrong196 5pts

People have told me that I have some strong hands and should look into massage therapy. I've never given this thought before, but it sounds like it could be a good route for me to go. There are a lot of things I still need to figure out, but after seeing that there are so many different kinds of therapies to choose from, I figured that I could find something that I would interested in pursuing more. 


James Lisbon
James Lisbon 5pts

The term "petrissage" stuck out to me because I didn't know that it had to do with kneading the muscles.   It makes me think of the different techniques that are out there for getting different kinds of pain relief.   With that being said, I can imagine that people would probably want someone who was experienced to help them get over pain. http://www.lamesawellness.com/services/ 

JaxWillis23 5pts

I have been told repeatedly that massages can help in a lot of ways. I've never tried it before, but I'm definitely interested in doing anything that can help me out. I hope that I'll know right away if something is like that. If massages are really good for me, I'd like to be able to start getting them more often to help myself.


Gary Puntman
Gary Puntman 5pts

How does Swedish massage therapy differ from regular massage therapy?  I have noticed that my back and neck have been tense.  I think I have a lot of knots in them.  I would love to be able to get a massage soon.  Maybe I'll try a Swedish massage. http://www.fusionwbrecovery.com/massage.html 

emilysmith47876 5pts

Thank you for the information about Swedish massages. I have been having some pain in my back and it is really starting to bug me. I thought it was nothing at first, but then the pain persisted. It is good to know that it this king of massage is really relaxing. That is exactly what I need right now.

LaceyRockwell1 5pts

I didn't know that there was such an art to massages. Lately, I have been super stressed with work, school, and planning my wedding. Trying to relax is hard, because I feel like there is always something I should be doing. A massage is just what I need! I will be sure to find someone who does Swedish massages correctly! 


HollieTruesdale 5pts

There are so many different types of massages that I don't think I could keep them all straight! I would like to know the differences between them so I can tell my massage therapist exactly what I want. However, I think I would have to experience all of them first. A Swedish massage sounds vigorous, but that helps a lot of people release muscle tension. I have a lot of tense muscles, so maybe a Swedish massage is what I need! http://www.lakesidespa.ca/cm1.cfm?fid=19&extranet=0&lang=1&html=massage_therapy.html 

JamesSimon1 5pts

I had no idea that long term emotional states were stored in the body, as is stated here. I guess it makes sense when I think about it. There are plenty of ways that people get stressed and tense up their muscles long-term. That sort of thing could be harmful if left alone, and I'm sure it feels great to have it released.


WalterKowalski 5pts

I really appreciate this information. My muscles are often very tense from sitting in front of a computer for eight hours. It would be great to get some relief from the pain. I'll have to consider massage therapy.

Walter Kowalski | http://www.edenmassagefayettevillenc.com/

LaceyRockwell1 5pts

I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of massages! If I were to get one, I would want a deep tissue massage, which apparently is a Swedish massage. I think that would be the most relaxing, and the most beneficial for me. I think that would help get rid of my stress, and the knots in my back. 


Omprakash Bera
Omprakash Bera 5pts

Hello, This benefits will help us to know the importance of Ayurvedic treatment. This is a natural process with zero side effects. Thank you so much.