Swedish massage leverages pressure in the horizontal plane. The strokes are meant to bring a fresh supply of blood to the tissue. Swedish also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the relaxation center for the human body.
Within Swedish there is effleurage – the longer flowing strokes – and petrissage – which is about breaking up knots with kneading, tapotement, and a number of other techniques.
Even though Swedish is less intense than Deep Tissue, the touch should still be firm. This isn’t the petting zoo. Clients should feel some weight from the therapist, it just shouldn’t be focused downward. A good Swedish massage will give the client an overall sense of flow and movement, whereas a good Deep Tissue massage will feel very specific and focused.