Swedish Massage refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles, bones and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
The lymphatic system and veins (which carry blood back to the heart) both rely on muscle action, rather than heart pump pressure, to operate.
Swedish Massage uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage.
The five basic strokes are Effleurage (light touch), Petrissge (kneading), Tapotement (rhythmic tapping), Friction (compression), and Vibration.
Once you are aware of where your energy blocks lies, you can begin to try and integrate your body and, in developing a more positive self-image, take responsibility for your own happiness and health.
On a mental level, massage not only relieves stress and anxiety, it also helps you to become more conscious of your body as a whole - of the parts that you are in touch with, and of those that feel "left out".
A caring massage creates feelings of well-being, trust and joy. It can also release a great deal of energy wasted in tension and by transforming chronic habits of acting and reacting, affect profound changes on both posture and facial expression.
The emotional aspect of massage is extremely important.
The development of Swedish massage is credited to Per Henrik Ling, though the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes.