The development of Swedish Massage is credited to Per Henrik Ling of Sweden (15 November 1776–3 May 1839), a medical-gymnastic practitioner. The Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger adopted the French names to denote the basic strokes. The term "Swedish" massage is is called "classic massage" in Sweden.
The five basic stroke techniques are "Effleurage" (long, gliding strokes), "Petrissage" (lifting and kneading the muscles), "Friction" (firm, deep, circular rubbing movements), "Tapotement" (brisk tapping or percussive movements), and "Vibration" (rapidly shaking or vibrating specific muscles). These are basic techniques of Tuina and age old Chinese massage.
Petrissage are massage movements with applied pressure which are deep and compress the underlying muscles. Kneading, wringing, skin rolling and pick-up-and-squeeze are the petrissage movements. They are all performed with the padded palmar surface of the hand, the surface of the finger and also the thumbs.
When kneading the hands should be moulded to the area and the movements should be slow and rhythmical.
Knuckling is another form of kneading but using the knuckles to knead and lift in circular and upwards motions.
Scissoring is another petrissage movement that is performed only over a flat area with very little pressure. The index and middle fingers of both hands are only used for this movement. They are placed opposite each other and then are slowly worked towards each other lifting and releasing as they go.
Effleurage is a massage stroke used to warm up the muscle before deep tissue work using petrissage.
This is a soothing, stroking movement used at the beginning and the end of the facial massage. It is also used as a linking move between the different strokes and movements.
Effleurage can be firm or light without dragging the skin and is performed using either the padded parts of the finger tips or the palmar surface of the hands.
Effleurage works as a mechanical pump on the body to encourage venous and lymphatic return.
Effleurage is a therapeutic practice used by women during pregnancy, and specifically, refers to the act of massaging the lower abdominal area, as a means of relaxing the mother and fetus.
Tapotement is a specific stroke used in Swedish massage technique. It is a rhythmic percussion, most frequently administered with the edge of the palm or the heel of the hand. It is primarily used as a stimulating stroke, or for cramped muscles.
The name of the stroke is taken from the French word "Tapoter", meaning to tap or to drum.