Swedish massage is the most predominant example of traditional European massage and it is the most commonly used method in the United States. It was developed in Sweden in the 1830s and uses a system of long gliding strokes, kneading, and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles. It usually goes in the direction of blood flow toward the heart because there is an emphasis on stimulating the circulation of the blood through the soft tissues of the body.
Oil is first warmed in the therapist's hands, which facilitates the stroking and kneading of the body, thereby stimulating metabolism and circulation. Its active and passive movements of the joints promote general relaxation, improve circulation and range of motion, and relieve muscle tension. Swedish massage is often given as a complete, full body technique where all the major muscle groups are covered.