Traditional Swedish massage was introduced by Swedish physiologist, Henri Peter Ling, in Stockholm, Sweden in the year 1812. This massage technique is characterized by its firm, yet calming pressure that improves blood circulation, eases muscle tension, and improves flexibility.
Today, a Western-style Swedish massage still employs a series of long, gliding strokes, kneading of the muscles, and vibrational taps that are so common when one thinks of massage.
A Swedish masseuse will also create friction and do whats called hacking or tapping across a clients back and shoulders to promote the release of tension. Five basic strokes gliding, kneading, vibrations, friction and hacking are all applied in the direction of the heart in order to encourage blood circulation and the disposal of bodily waste.
A Swedish massage therapist will always use massage oils to achieve the smooth, long and deep strokes over their clients body. Therapists apply the oil to reduce friction, and essential oils are sometimes used in order to tap into a clients olfactory senses (sense of smell). During a Swedish massage a sheet is worn, otherwise the client is nude. However, body parts are only uncovered when they are being massaged.