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Swedish Massage

A legacy lives on

Swedish massage is a popular misnomer that keeps on hanging around as the terminology has been universally adopted.

The term Swedish massage applies because of a Swedish Professor, Pehr Henrik Ling (15 November 1776, Södra Ljunga – 3 May 1839) who was a Swedish physical therapist, developer and teacher of medical-gymnastics.  He  made a comprehensive scientific study of massage and laid the foundations for what is now taught and practised as 'Swedish massage.

This is not so much that the techniques were not used in other countries, but that he gave names to the techniques of  touching another body and defined their effects.  These techniques were effleurage (long, gliding strokes), petrissage (lifting and kneading the muscles), friction (firm, deep, circular rubbing movements), tapotement (brisk tapping or percussive movements), and vibration (rapidly shaking or vibrating specific muscles).

The term Swedish massage can be applied to any soft-tissue massage in any country as these movements are the basis for performing all massage that involves rubbing the body and are used in all massage styles.

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