Swedish Massage

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  • Primarily a circulatory massage
  • Breaks down scar and adhesive tissue
  • Sedates the nervous system
  • Tonifies the tissue and organs

Swedish massage has a direct mechanical, as well as a reflexive, effect on the tissue of the muscles, nerves, vessels and organs of the body. The rhythmical pumping and long flowing strokes cleanse and empty fluids out of the tissues to allow new to enter. The friction type movements create more pliability to fibrous, adhered tissue and greater range of motion. Indirectly, Swedish massage sends messages through the nervous system to stimulate hormones, release muscle guarding, sedate or tonify the tissue. Depending on the intention, technique and focus, Swedish Massage can effect the surface or deeper tissues.In Europe it is called Classic Massage.


Swedish Massage is the name of the most basic, well known and “classic” forms of massage in the US. The framework of this work including passive movements accompanied by stroking, pressing and kneading was laid by Peter Henrik Ling 1776-1839, the founder of the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute, in Sweden

“The Life of Per Henrik Ling” by Judi Calvert, LMP

Pehr Henrik Ling – Wikipedia

Ling’s original interest and influences in massage came from several directions.  Since he was the great, great grandchild of the scientist, Olof Rudbeck, who discovered the human lymphatic system, that work probably had an effect on his understanding of the body.  His own arthritis and injuries inspired his own self care system which he wanted to share.  And his friend, Ming, who taught him Chinese massage, Tui Na, and martial arts  was the strongest impact on his work.   Ling and his work were professionally recognized in Sweden, however,  it was not termed Swedish massage at that time. Ling’s system of “Medical Gymastics” influenced the massage that came to America in the 1800s.  Dr. Johann Georg Mezger, an internationally famous Dutch physician and masseur, simplified, synthesized the massage techniques of Swedish Massage and coined the French terms used for those techniques. The name Swedish is a misnomer. He was French living in Sweden when he developed a synthesis of techniques from European and Asian massage on a framework of the Western understanding of the body.


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