It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with a movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing. And it helps after an injury.
The four common strokes of Swedish massage are:
- Effleurage: a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue
- Petrissage: the squeezing, rolling, or kneading that follows effleurage
- Friction: deep, circular movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, helping to increase blood flow and break down scar tissue
- Tapotement: a short, alternating tap done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand