Over centuries, massage in various forms has been practiced in different civilizations for its medicinal, therapeutic, soothing and invigorating effects on the body. Ancient book records and hyroglyphics on cave walls prove that the science of this healing therapy was known years ago in
China, Japan, Egypt, and to many other civilizations such as the Romans, Greeks and Persians. India
Today, this same knowledge has been rediscovered and infused with modern knowledge and techniques, has given rise to a new era of ‘Alternate Medicine.’ Among the most popular therapies today, is the Classic/ Swedish Massage which is a soft tissue, gentle and soothing full body massage (excluding face and head).
It is not clear who actually was responsible for development of this type of massage. It was generally believed that a Swede named Henri Peter Ling developed Swedish Massage in 1812 at the
. However, a Dutch practitioner, Johan Georg Mezger is generally given credit for coining the French terms for the basic strokes used during the massage. University of Stockholm
The basic strokes used in Swedish Massage are:
- Effleurage: Long soothing, stroking movements with the palms of the hands.
- Petrissage: A number of movements including kneading and rolling of skin.
- Friction: Penetrating circular movements which involved deep pressure to one particular site of muscle tension, using the thumb, fingertips and knuckles.
- Tapotement: Which include fast and stimulating movements including cupping, hacking, pounding, etc.
The strokes used in Swedish Massage form the basis of all other massages. There are many other massages that are a combination of Swedish Massage techniques and other deep tissue massage techniques and therapies.
Swedish Massage has shown amazing results in terms of physical, psychological and spiritual health. It is especially useful for:
· Healing skin
· Relief to tense muscles
· Improved sleep patterns
· Stress relief, etc.
It is now widely known that stress and mental strain is the main cause of around 85% diseases. By providing a much needed relief and relaxation in today’s day and age of hurry, worry and curry, Swedish Massage proves to be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
However, there are certain contraindicatons to this massage. A therapist as well as client needs to be aware of these. Thus, the therapist must perform a detailed client consultation before commencing treatment and a client must be forthright about any medical conditions he/she may be suffering from. Pre-massage consultation is of utmost importance and it is irresponsible on any spa/ salon/ therapist’s part to commence treatment without it.
Some of the contraindications to massage are:
· High Blood Pressure
· Heart Disease/ Stroke
· Varicose Veins
· Headache/ Migraine
· Physical Injury
· Acute Infectious Conditions
· Inflammation of any kind
It is not necessary that if you have the above mentioned conditions, you cannot have a massage. The massage treatment can be modified accordingly, or the consultation of a doctor might be required by the therapist.
Finally, a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology, medical conditions and correct massage techniques is required to perform Swedish Massage. So therapists, make sure you choose the right school which includes this in the curriculum and clients, make sure you are going to a certified and well trained massage therapist.