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History of Swedish Massage
What is
Swedish Massage
Benefits of
Swedish Massage
History of
Swedish Massage

The Origins of Swedish Massage can be traced back to two Physicians from the 19th century, Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839), and Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909).  As legend has it, Dr. Ling was in search of a cure for his Arthritis and came across some Chinese Gymnastic and Medical Techniques that he developed into a system of Soft-Tissue Manipulation and Exercises to Increase Circulation, Flexibility, and Mobility, while Relieving Pain in Joints and Muscles.  Dr. Mezger later revised Ling’s Soft-Tissue Manipulation into 4 Basic Techniques and gave them the names that are still used today; Effleurage, Petrissage, Friction, and Tapotement.  Passive/Active Movements were not renamed, but did remain part of Swedish Massage Therapy, and Vibration Techniques were added later by Practitioners. 

Founder of Swedish Massage Johan Georg Mezger

Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909)

Founder of Swedish Massage Pehr Henrik Ling

Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839)

From 1870-90, Dr. Mezger made Swedish Massage popular in his thriving practice in Amsterdam and is credited by many as bringing Massage Therapy back to the attention of the Medical Profession, while Dr. Ling came to be considered the Father of Physical Therapy.  Swedish Massage Therapy went on to be taught to nurses and used extensively in Sanitariums (luxury vacation spa’s where people recovered from life’s hardships and stress).  In 1899 Sir William Bennett opened a Massage Department in St. George’s Hospital, London. Professional Organizations were formed that later developed into Physical Therapist Associations, and Massage Therapy became an acceptable form of Treatment in the Medical Profession all the way up until after World War II, when Physical Therapy began to evolve away from Massage Techniques and introduced less laborious electrical methods of Soft-Tissue Manipulation combined with Exercises instead. 

In the 1960’s Swedish Massage began to surface once again, though as an Alternative Health Care Practice, and over the past 50 plus years, research and experience has proven the value of Massage in treating many common illnesses, injuries and disorders, as the Medical Community is once again embracing Massage Therapy as a valuable part of Health Care.

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