Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage.
Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839)at the University of Stockholm.In the early 19th century he developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included movements performed by a therapist. These became the known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today it is simply known as Swedish massage.
In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits.
Massage is one of the oldest forms of healthcare that has become very popular over the last twenty years. Although all massage therapists use their skills to manipulate soft tissue structures such as skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia (connective tissue), many massage therapists specialize in a wide variety of forms of therapeutic massage.
Massage can help you support general health and well-being or facilitate the healing process of some injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains. Massage can increase circulation, promote relaxation, reduce stress, and reduce pain and stiffness associated with muscle soreness or tension, and increase range of motion. A massage therapist cannot diagnose, prescribe treatment, or cure disease or injury.
Although massage therapy cannot cure the following conditions, it may reduce pain or stiffness associated with tension headache, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, poor posture or scoliosis, and repetitive stress injuries to muscles and tendons (tennis elbow, mild or chronic tendonitis). People who have had joint replacement surgery may benefit from relief or muscle tension.
The techniques used by massage therapists include applying pressure and manipulating muscles with the hands, forearms, and elbows. Many forms also use gentle stretches and movements of the body to enhance the massage session.
Swedish/relaxation, deep tissue/trigger point, and some forms of sports massage use an application of oil or lotion to the skin.