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What Swedish Massage Means? All to know

By Breathe Team | Feb 07, 2020

Massage itself is as old as man. From learning to bring relief to parts of the body by applying pressure man has moved on to the knowledge of the therapeutic effect of massage combined with other forms of therapy. One type of massage has now gained worldwide popularity – The Swedish Massage. Today, people don’t even have to go to a massage spa to get massaged. They now have opportunities to call In-home massage therapists for their therapy sessions, but that is after they have known what Swedish massage means.

Swedish Massage is a series of movements and strokes applied to joints, muscle tissues and flesh to induce relaxation through improved circulation, reduced emotional and muscular tension, to ease the pain as well as to improve flexibility.

The Invention

Here is a little history of the Swedish massage. Over the years, a lot of people have done their part in contributing to the development and spread of massage. Even if it happened intentionally or not, they managed to lay the foundation of what we have built today. From the Asian continent where massage originated from, it gradually spread and in about 700 BC, and was brought down to Europe by its early practitioners. As the beneficial effects were seen, more people became open to it; hence, more research and development.

Sweden was (and still is) a center for academic and sporting excellence and when massage therapy came, it was very much welcomed by sportsmen who needed to have their fatigue washed away and allow them to relax better. This interaction between sportsmen and massage therapy would later yield many fruits. But contrary to popular belief, Swedish Massage did not entirely originate from Sweden.

Swedish Massage, invented in 1868, was first formally organized by a Dutch physician of that era named Johann Mezger. Mezger was a sportsman, a gymnast to be precise, who enjoyed physical activities and had a deep interest in studying how exercise improved health. He trained and performed at the Gymnastics Institute of Amsterdam. Academically, he was renowned for his knowledge of physiology and as he later studied medicine, he became a doctor. Shortly after his graduation from medical school, he wrote a dissertation on the use of a massage technique in vogue then to treat a medical condition. That dissertation later became the basis for the development of Swedish Massage into the organized form we know it as today.

It is important to know that Johann Mezger did not develop the earlier and basic of massage; you can read more, here. However, he invented the Swedish Massage techniques. What he did was to analyze the few techniques that were already being used; in studying them and applying his medical knowledge, he developed the new techniques and improved existing therapeutic techniques that he used for treating patients. Those techniques were named in French and are still being used today in Swedish Massage therapy. The technique later spread all over Europe and extend into the United States of America.

Techniques involved for Swedish massage

Swedish Massage makes use of the original five techniques used by Johann Mezger. These techniques are:

  1. Friction: This technique uses friction strokes to massage the body. Friction strokes are firm, circular, rubbing movements that the therapist uses to improve muscle response, circulation and to warm up the muscles.
  2. Petrissage: This technique uses kneading movements to stimulate the flesh. The flesh is grabbed, raised, and kneaded by the therapist.
  3. Vibration: This technique uses tapping movements to shake the target muscles. This is done using the fingertips, the flat of the hands, or the side.
  4. Effleurage: This technique consists of long gliding strokes used in applying even pressure around the body,
  5. Tapotement: This technique uses percussive movements to shake the body. The step-by-step technique is more interesting to study.
Uses/BenefitSwedish Massage is used extensively in the therapeutic management of stress, pain, and physical therapy. As a massage technique that focuses on the entire body, it ensures that every part of the body is reached and thus a full state of relaxation can be attained.

Swedish Massage stimulates the circulation of blood. This helps to increase the energy level of the body by delivering more oxygen to the cells. Joint and muscular mobility is improved, aiding flexibility. Another advantage of improved circulation is that lymphatic drainage is also improved. Also, the removal of toxins and metabolic wastes is improved.

Swedish Massage is also great for improving situations that might have immobilized a person. For example, injuries to sensitive and specific parts of the body that can confine a person to a place for a long time can be managed using Swedish Massage. In the bid to ascertain the effectiveness of the Swedish massage therapy, most people seek the comparison of Swedish massage vs Sports massage therapy.


Swedish Massage is also great for stressed people. It must be noted that this massage technique is sometimes contraindicated for some categories of people. These are the elderly who are frail, and those who have recently undergone surgery. Also, those with high blood pressure, or pregnant women cannot lie on their stomachs. These categories of people may have a problem with Swedish Massage.

Getting a professional Swedish Massage is quite an easy thing. Clients simply book a session and let the massage therapist know all they would prefer. Asides this, intending practitioners of Swedish Massage can earn a certificate or a diploma in the technique. As the demand for Swedish massage keeps going, it is sure that more therapists will be needed to meet up!

 Breathe app

However, we are in a new era. People don’t need to travel over to a far distance to get a massage session. This is not, especially, good for those who might have immovable injuries. The new narrative is that with, people can connect with licensed massage therapists via the app. Interested in this kind of freedom and flexibility? All you need to do is to download the Breathe App for Android or get the Apple version and you can request for a licensed professional massage therapist near you.