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Swedish massage origins

Swedish massage has been around for a long time, and many consider it one of the oldest forms of western massage style in use today. It gained popularity when it was created and used as the foundation for teaching other western massage styles. In this article, I will talk about this style of massage, a bit of its history, and then general knowledge about it, including its health benefits.

Brief History

Massage therapy is considered the oldest medical practice in history, but it was not until the 1800s that it was separated according to the various modalities. There is always confusion on the real creator of this massage modality, so I’ll like to set some records straight with some explanation. Firstly, the real creator of this modality is Johann Georg Mezger, a Dutch doctor, and this was around 1868. There is also Per Henrik Ling, who has been wrongly credited with creating this modality due to some historical mix-ups. This mix-up is still common and often leads to inaccuracy in naming the creator of this style. 부천 스웨 디시

Per Henrik Ling was a Swedish educator and a pioneer in medical physiotherapy.

He had his battles with various illnesses like lung disease and rheumatism, but later in life, he discovered what made his health better. From fencing to physical fitness and then other forms of exercise, he slowly became okay health-wise. He then developed a system of exercise and gymnastics called medical gymnastics. This system of gymnastics included some massage techniques which were not codified and could not be practiced independently outside the medical gymnastics system.

Johann Georg Mezger Formation of Swedish massage treatment base

On the other hand, Johann Georg Mezger had some interest in gymnastics also, and as of then, he was known as one of the most talented gymnasts with a good understanding of physiology. This was before he went ahead to study medicine at the Leiden University. While practicing the French friction methods on patients with sprains and applying his knowledge of medicine, he formulated a modality for treating Distorio Pedis with frictions. This technique formed the therapeutic basis for the Swedish massage modality. This system is comprised of five techniques to treat patients that include long gliding strokes (effleurage), muscle kneading (petrissage), firm circular rubbing motion (friction), tapping (tapotement, and muscle shaking (vibration).

Swedish massage style

However, the confusion is a result of the translation of the name given to these techniques. Mezger’s style was based on French techniques, and as such, the names were originally French. The names were not also synonymous with the Swedish massage style, and because the names were similar to those also used by Ling in his Swedish gymnastics system, he was wrongly credited for creating the system. This is actually why it is given the name “Swedish Massage.”


It was not until 1986 that it was corrected by a historian known as Patricia Benjamin, who verified that Ling never used French terms to describe his massage techniques. This was not to discredit Ling and his works but to explain that the modality was based on five techniques brought together, and as such, Mezger deserved the honor of the named creator.

About The Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is one of the first massage techniques created and serves as the basis for other techniques. It is also a prevalent technique offered by spas, and this has earned it the name of a classic massage. This style of massage is primarily designed to aid the relaxation of the body by releasing tensions in the muscle. This massage loosens up tight muscles resulting from daily activities, from sitting in your office chair to exercising activities. It is particularly focused on tensions in and around the shoulders, lower backs, and neck.