The best-known type of bodywork, Swedish Massage uses both light and firm pressure on the muscles, using long and gliding strokes—of which there are five. Effleurage, Friction, Petrissage Vibration and Tapotement.
Effleurage is the best known as it is the long and gliding stroke—both light and firm—that covers different areas of the body.
Friction is a warming stroke which seeks to create heat to relax the muscle. The Practitioner will often rub their hands together to create warmth before placing them on the body. Squeezing the muscles between the warm palms is also part of this style.
Petrissage kneads the muscles for a deeper massage. This method uses the thumb and knuckles and the muscles are often squeezed. Often this method is used first as it prepares the muscles for the other Swedish Massage strokes.
Vibration is used to loosen up the muscles by using a back and forth motion over the skin with the fingertips or heel of the of hand.
Tapotement (Rhythmic Tapping) uses the fists or the sides of the hand to tap against the muscles. This loosens the muscles and also energizes them.