Swedish massage is the beginning of deep tissue work. The massage engages deeper tissues in a general fashion through targeting muscle groups and movement of limbs or joints. Swedish work involves effleurage, cross fiber strokes and friction, 'pumping' muscle groups, stripping, petrissage ('hacking, chopping, cupping'), and movement. Swedish massage is a venous massage. One goal of this modality is to drain capillary beds in the muscle groups and return these fluids to the heart for recycling. Movement may be used to retrain joints and increase range of motion. Swedish calms the nervous system, loosens limbs and joints, and recycles blood and lymph throughout the body.
There is a certain progression and flow to Swedish massage that makes this possible. Although Swedish is directed toward circulation and calming of the nervous system, it performs well at decreasing congestion and adhesions while balancing muscle tension. It is relaxing but invigorating. Swedish leaves you with a wonderful feeling of warmth and freedom of movement.