HOW DOES IT WORK
SWEDISH – utilizes a variety of movement techniques: effleurage (long, light, soothing, gliding strokes), petrissage (gentle lifting and squeezing of the tissue), friction (long, slow, firm, or rolling/circular movements), percussion (rapid alternating movement with both hands, tapping, hacking, cupping, slapping, tapotement for stimulating), kneading (rolling, squeezing or wringing tissue and muscles and dropping back into place – a form of petrissage), and vibration (rapid back and forth shaking or trembling). Swedish also includes passive and active joint movement, stretching and bending joints. All of this is aimed at affecting change in the anatomy, and physiology, as well as de-stressing.
Swedish works to increase circulation of blood and lymph. Consequently, Swedish helps to clean and nourish skin, soft tissue, muscles, and joint areas. It also works to relax and lengthen the superficial muscles and aids in stimulating the natural peristalsis in the intestines.
It is best to either abstain from massage or check with your regular physician when any of these are present: fever, infectious disease, cancer, broken bones, high blood pressure, HIV, hernia, osteoporosis.
ORIGINS OF DEEP & SWEDISH MASSAGE
Prior to acknowledging the origins of these two styles of massage, let’s address the question of the difference between them. To briefly and very generally summarize, Swedish massage focuses on improving circulation of blood and lymph and relaxing the “superficial” muscles. Deep Tissue massage focuses on the “deeper” layers of connective tissue – to loosen muscle tension and relieve stress.
Some of the earliest indications of these styles being used for their various benefits mentioned above are found in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Far East. More recent history of their use in the Netherlands in the mid 1800’s through the work of a practitioner named Johan Georg Mezger. Mezger is notable for organizing and describing the specific set of massage movements we know today as “Swedish” (effleurage, petrissage, kneading, etc.). Roots are also found in the mid 1800’s and into the 1900’s in Canada. One example is Dr. Therese Phimmer’s book “Muscles – Your Invisible Bonds”. This book established the techniques and guidelines for what would become Deep Tissue Massage. Although deep tissue massage came to the United States in the 1800”s, it wasn’t well known until Dr. Phimmer’s book was published and her work was recognized.