If you’ve never had a massage before Swedish massage is a great place to start. It is the most popular form of massage requested to reduce stress and increase relaxation and its strokes build the foundation for other treatments.
Swedish Massage may be defined as the manipulation of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes.
It is an oil-based massage with several basic strokes that are applied with light to medium pressure, depending on your preference. Alexandra determines the sequence of strokes that will best work for you according to your needs, typically beginning with broad general strokes, transitioning to more detail specific strokes to address problem areas and finishing with broad connecting strokes.
Swedish Massage is characterized by the use of five basic stroke techniques: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration.
1. Effleurage consists of long, gliding, sweeping strokes administered with hands (both open palm and fists) and forearms. These strokes are smoothing strokes used for spreading lotion or oil on the body and to help Alexandra evaluate muscle tension. As the pressure of the strokes increase, they provide a stretch to the muscles, thus allowing you to relax.
2. Petrissage is typified by kneading, rolling, wringing and lifting strokes, which help free up knotted and bound muscles and soft tissue, stimulate nerve endings, and aid in increasing circulation, that in turn promotes cell repair and regeneration.
3. Friction is a warming stroke designed to both quickly generate heat, in preparation for deeper work, and as a way to effectively drive the therapeutic, healing properties of plant-based oils into the body. This stroke can be done by rubbing back and forth along the length of the muscle or across it by either using wringing motion or small circular movements.
4. Tapotement is characterized as a percussion stroke in which the hand action rhythmically stimulates nerves, muscles, and circulation. The hand position can be cupped or with palms flat, or it can be with fingers interlocked in either a palms together position or in soft fists. Used in chair massage and Shiatsu as well as Swedish massage.
5. Vibration refers to rocking, shaking and trembling movements applied to one limb or to the entire body. These movements, which can be done slowly or rapidly, are designed to reverberate through the surrounding tissues in order to break postural holding patterns and to facilitate a momentary release of tension in the muscle being worked on.