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What Happens During a Swedish Massage?

Swedish Massage

Massage therapy has become very popular in Western culture, and in some places, it is even more popular than chiropractic alternatives. This relaxation service helps people unwind from the everyday stresses of modern life, and it can also be an essential tool in healing from injuries and chronic pain.

Plus, there are many different varieties of massage therapy available. Most commonly, people use relaxation massages, which are gentle and soothing but not terribly effective in healing or relieving muscle tightness. Hot stone massage is also popular and relies on heated stones to provide a muscle-relaxing experience that can help provide a deeper sense of relaxation.

On the other side of massage therapy is Swedish and deep tissue massage. These differ from the previous two examples in that they are generally more severe and achieve significant results. Not everyone appreciates this type of massage as it can be painful and may leave you feeling sore afterwards. Still, it can be one of the most relaxing ways to unwind when done properly.

But what happens during a Swedish massage to make it so different? Well, first, we must look at the five strokes of a Swedish massage.

The 5 Swedish Massage Strokes

1. Effleurage
The first stroke, effleurage, is a long, gliding stroke that helps to relax the muscles and increase blood circulation.

2. Petrissage
For the second stroke, petrissage, the focus is on kneading movements. In fact, the root of the word is from French pétrir, “and means “to knead,” according to’s blog. This stroke uses several different movement methods with the palm, thumb and finger surfaces.

3. Tapotement
Usually, when people think of the stereotypical Swedish massage, they are thinking of tapotement. This involves using the hands to chop, tap and clap the muscles, typically at the end of the session. It provides a feeling of revitalization and reawakening.

4. Vibration/ Shaking
If you’ve never felt the sublime joy of a massage chair or bed, the vibration, or shaking, stroke will be a delight. This stroke helps to shake the muscles loose, literally.

5. Friction
In a similar way to hot stone massage, the final Swedish massage stroke is friction, which aims to heat up the muscles and provide effective relief.

Swedish Massage

How to Improve Your Next Swedish Massage

Communication with your massage therapist is the best way to make any massage immediately better. Discussion with these professionals allows you to focus on the parts of your body that you want to improve, such as lower back pain or neck stiffness.

Articles like these, that delve into the differences, similarities, advantages and disadvantages of each type of massage are recommended reading for those using massage services. They provide a greater depth of knowledge and understanding, which can help you tailor your massage experience to better fit your needs.

One of the best ways to improve your next massage, Swedish or otherwise, is to get them more regularly. A massage every six months will feel okay, but your muscles, tendons and ligaments will have already set in new and perturbing ways. Instead, consider monthly visits if you are able, as this will keep your body limber, flexible and ready for adventure.

Now that you know what happens during a Swedish massage, there is nothing left to do but go out and book your next appointment. Remember to communicate openly and effectively with your massage therapist, have a positive mindset going into the appointment and, ultimately, try your best to enjoy yourself!

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