What is Swedish Massage?

“Swedish massage” is a popular form of massage therapy that was developed in Sweden in the 18th century. Swedish massage consists of effleurage, petrissage, friction and percussion. Effleurage is a French word that means to “touch lightly on,” and is composed of long, stroking movements. “Petrissage” is a French word that means “to knead” and this is a technique that involves- literally- kneading the body. “Friction” massage is a deep and specific technique achieved by rubbing the area in a particular manner in order to create the friction effect. Lastly, percussion massage therapy is the technique this article will expand on.

Swedish Massage: Percussion

Percussion is also known as “Tapotement” and is most frequently administered with the edge of a cupped hand. The cupped hands use alternating soft taps to the body in order to relieve tight or tense muscles. It can also be administered with the fingertips. This technique often feels stimulating or invigorating to the client.

Percussion can be used with other massage therapy techniques, and it is often used at the end of a massage in order to allow the client to feel invigorated after. The technique can be applied at many different speeds or depths. Often it is best to apply it softly and slowly then gradually increase as needed. At the beginning of the massage, it will be applied softly and slowly. Following this, the massage therapist will apply it more deeply and faster speed, then gradually decreased again to soft and slow. This is helpful if the person is going back to work and still wants to feel relaxed, but not sleepy- more like revitalized and invigorated!

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