Swedish massage is the most commonly offered and best-known type of massage. If it's your first time receiving a massage, Swedish massage is the perfect place to start.
Swedish massage was pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Henri Per Ling, at the University of Stockholm in 1812. It was introduced to the U.S. in 1858 as "The Swedish Movement Cure." Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy massage.
What Happens During Swedish Massage?
Generally during Swedish massage you're nude underneath a towel or sheet. The massage therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique called draping. You can keep your underwear on during Swedish massage, and many newcomers do.
Your massage therapist will apply massage lotion or oil to your skin to facilitate various massage strokes, including the smooth, gliding strokes called effleurage. Other classic Swedish massage moves include kneading, friction, rolling, stretching and (sometimes) tapping.
Swedish massage promotes relaxation, eases muscle tension and creates other health benefits. It can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on what the therapist wants to achieve.
Feel free to state your preference for pressure during Swedish massage. It can range from light to firm. Swedish massage usually includes some deeper work on areas of specific muscle tension. If you want more intensive work and firmer pressure, ask for a deep tissue massage.