Swedish massage is a useful tool in many therapists' tool box for relieving tension, stress, depression, and sore muscles. A therapist can assess an individual client's needs and target musculature requiring release by making use of five signature strokes: effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration.
Each movement carries with it a range of benefits that can prove an asset to a client's over-all well being.
- Effleurage, a gliding stroke, is used to relax soft tissues as well as move lymphatic fluid. This movement is also used to open and close each area of the massage.
- Petrissage, a kneading stroke, often follows effleurage and reaches deeper into the tissues to move tissues away from other structures.
- Tapotement, a tapping or percussive stroke, has been known to increase circulation, tone muscle, and even remove fatty deposits.
- Friction, a circular or transverse stroke that focuses on a small, specific area, causes layers of tissue to rub against each other, breaking down scar tissue and adhesions.
- Vibration, a rapid trembling stroke, works to improve muscle tone and lymphatic flow in addition to loosening scar tissue.
These movements work together, under a therapist's knowledgeable hands, to improve a client's mental and physical state.