Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage is what people generally picture when they think of a massage session. It is the most popular massage therapy technique in North America.

What Happens During Swedish Massage Therapy

A session typically lasts 60 minutes during which the massage therapist will work on all muscles of the body. Sometimes, based on the client’s preference, a lotion or oil is used to reduce skin friction.


Massage therapy involves a combination of light stroking in one direction with deep pressure in another to relax muscles.

Swedish massage therapy uses five main massage techniques:


  1. Effleurage
  2. Petrissage
  3. Friction
  4. Vibration
  5. Tapotement


The term, of French origin, translates to ‘to lightly touch’. It involves a set of long, gliding or circular stroking movements of varying pressure.
Effleurage helps to loosen knots in muscles and release tension. It does so using three different forms of stroking movements:


  • Feather stroking: This is the gentlest type. The therapist will apply very light pressure using their fingertips across the surface of the body.
  • Superficial effleurage: This is the one most commonly used. The therapist applies oil using open-palmed strokes across the body.
  • Deeper effleurage: This technique is similar to superficial effleurage, except that greater pressure is applied to muscles that are heavily knotted.


This is also a French term derived from the word pétrir which means ‘to knead’.
Petrissage is a massage therapy technique that involves the therapist physically compressing the soft tissues through rhythmic kneading, squeezing, and/or rolling.
These movements help stretch the tense muscles.
● Lifting: The therapist performs lifting using the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
● Kneading: During this the therapist lifts the soft tissues, then squeezes and rolls them back slowly and circularly to reach deeper muscle layers.
● Wringing: During this the therapist will first press the soft tissue layer to the structure beneath it and then lift, squeeze and roll.


This technique helps soften and realign tense muscles and joints. The massage therapist uses fingers or both thumbs to apply compression in a circular or perpendicular fashion generating heat which promotes circulation.


During vibration the therapist will rhythmically shake the area using either both palms or fingers. It helps the body loosen and release tension.


Another French term, tapotement roughly translates to ‘to tap or to drum’. It involves the therapist applying rhythmic taps across the client’s body, which help the circulation of blood and endorphins. Tapping can be performed using a closed fist, edges or palms of the hands, fingertips, or a cupped hand.
If you’re looking for spas in Mississauga that offer Swedish massage therapy, try our soothing session at Royal Touch Medi Spa.