Swedish massage

Swedish tissue massage

What is Swedish tissue massage definition?

The modality which we know as, Swedish tissue massage, is a popular therapeutic massage which is the most recognised massage therapy across the UK and often associated with pampering. It involves manipulation of the superficial layers of your muscles to improve your mental and physical health. It is a arelaxing therapy, whilst being therapeutic.

Swedish massage techniques

Swedish tissue massage therapy involves many relaxation techniques. Your therapist may use their hands, forearms or elbows to manipulate tissue.

Within this they can use several different techniques such as percussion (tapping), tapotement, long gliding strokes, friction and kneading the soft tissue of your body.

Sometimes your therapist will also include passive or active movement.

Classic Swedish tissue massage techniques include:

This is the most common stroke in Swedish tissue massage therapy. It comprises free-flowing long strokes which glide over your skin towards your heart. It traces the contours of your body and your therapist will use the palm of one or both of their hands.

We use this to warm up and relax your muscles and hence then, relax your body. It also calms your nerves and improves blood circulation which improves the functioning of your heart.


Petrissage are strokes involves kneading your tissue by squeezing, rolling, lifting your flesh between your therapist’s hands. We use this to release muscle tension and again it improves your blood flow with all of the associated added benefits.


This works on deeper muscles by using a pressured stroke. It is the deepest form of massage therapy techniques included within the Swedish modality. Your Swedish tissue massage therapist will push the weight of their body through the palm of their hands or their thumbs/ fingers/ knuckles/ back of forearms and then release that pressure. Following this is a continuous sliding motion over the top or a group of continuous circular movements.


This is a popular and relaxing type of style where your therapist will shake your flesh with their hand or fingers. They’ll do this over a few unique spots to release muscle tension in areas where your muscles are small (face/ along your spine).


This percussion is a choppy, rhythmic movement which moves fast to stimulate and tone your muscles. It can include cupping (with hands) or hacking or pummelling.

This is an invigorating technique that you either love or hate.

Swedish tissue massage routine

At Essential Feeling we don’t have a standard routine. This is because we work around what you need and will use a variety of the above massage techniques to give you the best result. We may do a full body massage or focus on a specific area -- this also depends on how much time you have booked too.

It is important therefore that you tell us what you need. If you’re looking for improved muscle tone, we’ll work you differently to if you want to mentally escape life for an hour. You must never be afraid to speak up.

Swedish tissue massage history

There are many different types of massage. The modality known as Swedish tissue massage therapy is a Western massage. It was unsurprisingly invented by a Swedish guy named Per Henrik Ling. What is surprising is that he was a fencing instructor. When he injured his elbow, he tapped himself by tapping it. Today we call this percussion strokes.

They brought it from Sweden to the USA by two brothers, Dr Charles and Dr George Taylor in the 1850s.

Swedish tissue massage description

When you have a Swedish tissue massage you’ll lie on a therapy table. Your therapist will drape you with two lovely towels. You’ll undress while your therapist is out of the room and you’ll only have the area exposed as it is being worked. So for instance, if we’re doing your legs, we’ll uncover one leg, massage it, cover it again and then move to the next. You can be sure that we respect your modesty at all times. If you’re uncomfortable with removing your clothing, then we have a selection of clothed therapies which you may prefer.

We use a gentle, non-allergenic, unscented oil for our work which nourishes your skin.

Your therapist will use a combination of whichever of the above Swedish tissue massage techniques will get you the best result based on your personal problems. Please say if there is one or more that you don’t like. That goes for the pressure too. We’ll use a firm pressure to ease your tissues, but we can adapt to whatever works best. And we won’t be offended so don’t worry!

Swedish massage define some research

This page documents the research on Swedish massage therapy, concluding in most cases beneficial effects.

Swedish tissue massage benefits

Massage therapy has very few long term side effects and as long as you use a registered and qualified therapist (as we are at Essential Feeling) then you’ll be able to enjoy many benefits with little down side. Some of the benefits include:
*Increased blood circulation
*Mental and physical relaxation
*Improves length and quality of sleep
*Decreased stress levels and calms your nervous system
*Improves your concentration
*Reduced muscle tension — loosens tight muscles and stretches connective tissues
*Improved range of motion by loosening joints
*Gives relief from cramps and muscle spasms. Reduces muscle fatigue
*Firms up muscle and skin tone
*It’s great at reducing a ton of symptoms of our regular daily life such as (but not limited to) arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic and acute pain syndromes,myofascial pain and headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
*Improves your body’s ability to remove metabolic waste
*Overall sense of wellness
*Enhances your immune system

Swedish tissue massage vs deep tissue massage

While we’ve said above that one technique that your Swedish tissue massage therapist may use is use of their arms and elbows and full body pressure, one of the key difference between Swedish tissue massage and deep tissue is that in deep tissue work is that the pressure is more targeted.

For example, the Swedish tissue massage is a soothing modality, which is why this massage is the most popular in the UK. However, deep tissue focuses on fixing problem areas and so your massage specialist will put their entire weight through the pointy part of their elbow, rather than their forearm which will include some part of their elbow as they would in Swedish.

This makes up a much deeper and concentrated pressure.

Why can’t I have a Swedish tissue massage?

We pride ourselves on making you better, not making your worse and so there are some reasons why a Swedish tissue massage isn’t the best therapy. Follow the link below to the page that explain about the best therapy we can offer you:
*Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
*broken bones, fractures , dislocations, or severe sprains
*body areas that are inflamed, swollen or bruised
*recent surgery
*severe pain
*kidney disease
*large hernias
*certain kinds of cancer
There are also other conditions which mean we don’t have a therapy that we are comfortable with providing you. These are:
*contagious diseases (including colds)
*open or unhealed sores or wounds
*varicose veins
*torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles
*high blood pressure or heart problems
*history of phlebitis or thrombosis (These patients may have blood clots that may become dislodged and travel to the lungs, with potentially fatal results.)
*drug treatment with blood thinners (These medications increase the risk of bleeding under the skin.)

If you would like to book a massage then please use the online booking form.