What Is a Swedish Massage?


Quick Answer

A Swedish massage is a massage style that combines different hand movements to break muscle knots, based on Western understanding of physiology and anatomy. At a spa, a licensed massage therapist usually does 50- to 60-minute Swedish massage sessions; the session covers the entire body. A typical Swedish massage session starts with the application of massage oil on the client's skin.

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What Is a Swedish Massage?
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Full Answer

The speed and strength applied by a massage therapist in a Swedish massage can vary greatly depending on what kind of problems and muscle knots are found in the client's body. A good Swedish massage helps with certain physical conditions, such as muscle pain or joint stiffness. There are five basic stroke styles in a Swedish massage which are used interchangeably to create the desired effect.

The Swedish massage is believed to have been developed by a Swedish fencing master and phsyiologist named Per Henrik Ling, who lived between 1776 and 1839. However, this claim is disputed by Robert Noah Calvert, who claims that the Swedish massage system can instead be attributed to Dutch practitioner Johann Georg Mezger. Mezger is credited as the first person to adopt the French names that are associated with the five basic stroke styles of Swedish massage.

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