Swedish massage is the most predominant example of traditional European massage and it is the most commonly used method in the United States . It was developed by Per Henrik Ling in Sweden in the 1830s and uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles. It usually goes in the direction of blood flow toward the heart because there is an emphasis on stimulating the circulation of the blood through the soft tissues of the body.
Swedish can be a relatively vigorous form of massage, sometimes with a great deal of joint movement included. Swedish massage can relax muscles, improve circulation without increasing heart load, increase range of motion, help the recipient obtain a feeling of connectedness, a better awareness of their body and the way they use and position it, relieve pain and discomfort associated with muscle tension, fractures, sprains, sciatica, and stiff joints, shorten recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes, stretch the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple, stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time relaxing the nerves themselves, help reduce emotional and physical stress. It is often recommended as part of a regular program for stress management, and be used in clinical settings as medical or remedial therapy.
Oil is usually used, first warmed in the therapist’s hands, which facilitates the stroking and kneading of the body, thereby stimulating metabolism and circulation. Its active and passive movements of the joints promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion, and relieve muscle tension. Swedish massage is often given as a complete, full body technique where all the major muscle groups are covered, though sometimes only a part of the body is worked on.
Swedish massage is not recommended for anyone who is experiencing fever, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, varicose veins, bleeding, acute phlebitis, or thrombosis. In the case of high blood pressure or heart problems, avoid massage to the abdomen. Anyone with fractures or bruises should not receive massage on areas of injury. Pregnant women should check with their doctors first.