There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:


The healing practice of Thai herbal ball compress therapy dates back nearly 5,000 years to an era when the knowledge of plants, including their effects through ingestion or application on the body, were painstakingly researched and then passed down from one generation to the next. This form of therapy was designed to relieve pain and inflammation. A selection of therapeutic herbs — including prai, ginger, turmeric, and lemongrass — are wrapped in a muslin compress, steamed, and then applied to the body in gentle pressing, circular, and rolling movements.

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Contrary to its name, Swedish massage is neither originated in Sweden nor was it created by a Swede gymnast called Peter Henry Ling. There is much debate regarding the origin of the massage; therefore, it is highly common to mistake the origination between either Peter Henry Ling or the Dutch practitioner Johan Georg, who is with verified credibility considered as the man who systemized basic massage movements into what we know it as today; Swedish massage. 

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PS Ingraham. Central Sensitization in Chronic Pain: Pain itself can change how pain works, resulting in more pain with less provocation. PainScience.com. 5428 words. Pain itself often modifies the way the central nervous system works, so that a patient actually becomes more sensitive and gets more pain with less provocation. This is called “central sensitization.” (And there’s peripheral sensitization too.) Sensitized patients are not only more sensitive to things that should hurt, but also to ordinary touch and pressure as well. Their pain also “echoes,” fading more slowly than in other people. BACK TO TEXT
A good massage is truly a treat and offers many health benefits, but as you've noted, massage places tend to offer lots of options on their services menus. In fact, there are over 200 different massage techniques and types, all treating different needs and providing various benefits. Let's break it down. Here are nine of the most popular types of massages and when you might want to choose them.
Contrary to popular belief, Swedish Massage was not created by anyone from Sweden.  The History of Swedish massage by Robert Calvert describes where Swedish massage came from.  Per Ling a Swedish Physiologist and gymnastics instructor created something known as the Swedish Movements or Swedish Movement Cure (link to Massage Today Article: November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11 The Swedish Movement CureBy Judi Calvert, LMP ) but it was focused on movement which is only one component of Swedish Massage and not the basic techniques of efflerage, pettrissage and so on (see below).    Johann Mezger promoted Swedish Massage and helped make it more popular in the US.
The standard type of massage offered in most clinics, gyms, spas, and wellness centers, Swedish massage is virtually synonymous with massage therapy. Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, compared to the energy-centric style more common in Asian forms of massage. Using lotion or oil, massage therapists typically begin with broad general strokes and then transition to specific strokes to address problem areas.

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No, because most therapists will customize the pressure of their strokes to suit your requests. According to Shannon Merten, a licensed massage therapist we interviewed about massage etiquette, communication is key. “I would rather my clients leave happy and satisfied than not, so if [the therapist] is doing something that is not enjoyable, a good ‘that’s a little too much pressure’ or ‘that area is too sensitive to be worked on’ should get you satisfying results,” she says.
When most people think of massage, they think of Swedish. The style takes its name from a 19th-century Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling, whose system of medical gymnastics included massage. Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) coined a reduced set of maneuvers and techniques of Dr. Ling’s system as the “Swedish massage” system. Swedish massage is defined by four or five (somewhat familiar) techniques, which have French names: effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic choppings), and friction (rubbing). Some therapists now incorporate advanced techniques that have rehabilitating effects and stretches for improving your range of motion. But the ultimate goal is relaxation. As the default Western massage, Swedish massage is extremely popular and is simple, soothing touch therapy. 

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Reflexology (or foot reflexology) is a therapy based on the principle that there are small and specific areas of innervation in the hands and feet that correspond to specific muscle groups or organs of the body. In this system, the nerve endings in the extremities provide a “map” of the rest of the body. Examples are the base of the little toe representing the ear, or the ball of the foot representing the lung. Through the application of pressure on particular areas of the hands or feet, reflexology is said to promote benefits such as the relaxation of tension, improvement of circulation, and support of normalized function in the related area in the body.

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The Pulsational motions of a Classical massage are done so towards the direction of the heart, with the purpose of relaxing any tense muscles to effectively eradicate any toxins trapped within. Build-up of toxins can lead to severe consequences within a human anatomy particularly within the abdomen if they are not excreted from within the body at a daily basis.

Reflexology is best for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to your legs.
The two main types of massage related to sports and exercise are deep tissue massage and sports massage therapy. Deep tissue massage is primarily intended for treatment of injury. Deep tissue back massage and deep tissue neck massage are among the most common forms of this type of massage. Most people who seek deep muscle massage are people who suffer chronic pain, like that from a back injury or from repetitive muscle use as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome or Tennis elbow.
Your muscles have essentially been manipulated, stretched, and worked on for the best part of an hour with us. So naturally, because your muscles were working so hard, they may feel a little bit tender within the next couple of days. However, this is a good sign. This means that you are on the road to much more relaxed, functioning muscles. Within as little as 48 hours, you should be feeling brand new.

Neck pain. Neck pain is tied with headaches as the second most common pain experienced by adult Americans (also 15 percent), and massage can typically help with this too. For instance, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2014 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine analyzed 15 studies and found that there was “moderate evidence” that massage therapy helped provide relief.

When receiving a deep tissue massage, you’ll be asked to lie down and breathe deeply, relax and prepare for the massage. Deep tissue treatments differ in that the movements tend to be longer, deeper, more intense and focused. Massage therapists may use their elbows, forearms, fingertips and muscles to access the deeper layers of your muscle tissues.
You've probably seen these strange contraptions at conventions, the mall, nail parlors, and maybe even your office. Chair massages have you sitting face forward in a chair so the therapist can massage mostly your neck, shoulders, and back. The good thing is you don't have to take off your clothes or have oils slathered all over you. The bad thing is you don't get a thorough whole-body massage as you do with other methods, and, since this is often done in public places, it can be very distracting and not as relaxing. Depending on the massage therapist, however, a chair massage can really get the tension out of your upper body.
Pumping - The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
In broad terms, reflexology is intended to reduce generalized stress and help the body achieve a state of deep relaxation and homeostasis (that is, optimal balance of the body’s biochemical and other systems). Yet efficacy studies are few, and a 2009 systematic review of randomized controlled trials conducted by researchers at the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, concluded that “the best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.”

Muscle injury and soreness are an occupational hazard when it comes to athletics. Coaches, athletes, and professionals in the field of sports medicine have found that massage can provide several benefits to the body such as increased blood flow, reduced muscle tension, and an increased sense of well-being. The majority of research on psychological effects of massage has concluded that massage produces positive effects on recovery and post-exercise massage has been shown to reduce the severity of muscle soreness. While there is no research focusing specifically on the benefits of deep tissue massage on muscle rehabilitation, studies find that massage therapy, in general, can help with performance, recovery, and muscle injury prevention.8

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