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Now that you've had some time to digest the new article from Anne Williams in the November/December 2009 issue, is Swedish massage dead in your practice?

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Not at all. Swedish is what I do 95% of the time. The clients who come to me love having the Swedish done on them as it helps them relax more than any other massage type.

This is a hard one. I think that it truly depends on your working situation. In the clinic setting, people are usually coming in to get a quick fix. They want that immediate "go to" solution and that works for them. Now, in my private practice, I always begin and end with Swedish massage. Sometimes there is a little NMT or TpT or Myofascial work added in to get those hard areas. However, beginning with Swedish and ending with Swedish is, for me, by far the best way to warm up and "cool down" the muscle tissues. Now, I do have to admit that I think it has been about 7 years since I've used either tapotement or vibration.
Not at all Darren! Actually I encourage students to keep their Swedish Alive.

I have been teaching Swedish in the classical tradition for nearly 18 years. Although I must admit, I became
adamant about students learning postural analysis, fascial techniques, deep tissue etc., I had a wonderful revelation many years ago.

I was extremely tired and booked myself into a spa. I am usually the "massage snob" , asking all about their education. I booked a 2 hr., session and when the LMT greeted me I could she was very young. I asked when did you graduate? Ugh, only this year, she stated. OH well, I was going to waste my money I thought.

She proceeded to take me to the room and said to me you look like you really need to relax. Very true.
As she began her session she irritated me immensely by only giving me Effleurage and more effleurage and more effleurage. Finally, I surrendered and ignored what she was 'doing'. 2 hrs., later I was relaxed and rejuvenated. I was literally a pancake on the table. I hadn't felt that fabulous in years. Every muscles was relaxed.

So, I went back to my school and told my class getting ready to graduate "I want you for today to forget almost everything I taught you.....except the first couple of strokes from Swedish". They thought I lost my mind.

I made them exchange, resisting the temptation to do anything deep or specific and just practice Swedish, mostly Effleurage, a bit of petrissage. It didn't take long for any of them to realize the full effect and power of this work without a lot of deep tissue.

Now, I practice and teach Lomilomi, also similar in some ways. This technique also includes the vibration, R.O.M. etc., originally taught with Swedish. People love it! They love that their body can relax into deeper states without poking on them and still get profound releases and even natural adjustments.

I just wrote a massage curriculum for a new school in asheville. It is based on the traditional Swedish to start!
I am always amazed when I teach at schools how many students don't know what it is, or the principles behind it or how to even start it. They can't even explain the effects of the techniques on the muscle or when to properly use them. ( Great chart in Pharmacology for Massage Therapists by the way)

I don't feel 'most' students in the last 10-15 years have truly received an education with swedish as their base or they would understand how to use it effectively.

I have also seen and "felt" way too many therapists Jump into the muscle doing deep tissue techniques, never warming the tissue or flushing out lymphatically at the end....ergo...pain, bruising and soreness. :(

Swedish is alive and well! These techniques are profound. We should never forget them!
Fantastic thought provoking article. Intent is the key to massage. I am glad she is helping to keep Swedish as a stand alone modality. I love it!
I have literally just graduated from school and Swedish is my main modality. I love using the long flowing strokes of Swedish to begin and end a massage. The clients that I worked on during my student clinic also seemed to enjoy it as well. I know that Swedish is always a modality that I can incorporate into any massage and is deeply relaxing. So, Swedish Massage is definitely not dead!
Swedish massage is by far the most popular modality for us in the Spa environment. Since we opened in 2005, however, we are increasingly booking therapeutic, myofascial, triggerpoint and other modality massages. We have to educate the client in order to be successful. Since we are in an exurban area and serve a 60 mile radius with approximately 200K population, we are leaders in introducing spa and therapeutic massage to the area.
I am always looking for new treatments and modalities for our customer base, so I welcome the opportunity for input from my own therapists, as well as the therapeutic community at large.
I had a recent situation where it was brought to my attention that Swedish is not dead. I applied for a position at an upscale health club and after the interview massage, the club owner gave me some feedback. Essentially she was concerned that my massage did not "flow." There were too many breaks and it felt "Choppy." I thanked her for her observation and reflected on what she had said. I came to the realization that I had swung too far toward the integrated approach and was throwing everything I knew into the massage. I asked for a tutorial session from a colleague who confirmed my assessment. She showed me a few flowing, Swedish techniques and gave me some other pointers. Since then I have noted that my massages do tend to flow better and there is a focus on intent. I'll be meeting the club owner again for a second shot at massage and I'm confident that my renewed appreciation for Swedish will be reflected in a position on staff.
I am a student in Ohio. One of our textbooks treats Swedish as basically "fluff and buff," which it is not. We can work deeply with pretty much the eight or so strokes presented by Swedish. Although we are being introduced to other modalities in the second semester, I still believe Swedish will be a good basis in which to incorporate other modalities.

In Ohio, Swedish cannot be entirely dead as it is the Kellogg technique on which we are tested for the state license.
I think swedish massage has its place.
I don't think Swedish is dead. Most of my warm up is done with Swedish moves. I do think that Swedish massage does get lost with so many integrated techniques used in massage. Swedish is a lot of ROM and stretching and I think people get sports massage mixed up with Swedish because they have not had good training via schools. Its too bad because its the #1 reason Massage is so popular today, Per Henrik Link.....
I just finished school & Swedish is the main theme.


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