Swedish massage, the most popular type of massage, involves the use of hands, forearms or elbows to manipulate the superficial layers of the muscles to improve mental and physical health. Active or passive movement of the joints may also be part of the massage. The benefits of Swedish massage include increased blood circulation, mental and physical relaxation, decreased stress and muscle tension, and improved range of motion.

Swedish massage employs five different movements:

* Strokes (Effleurage): helps shed old cells, accelerates the cell substitution process, and eliminates wax, thus making the skin softer and more elastic.

* Kneading of individual muscles: promotes drainage of the interstitial liquid and empties the glands found in the skin. A further benefit is represented by improved circulation and deep vasodilatation.

* Friction: produces an intense local skin vasodilatation and directly causes the tissues to drain, disposing of waste products and letting good nutrients in. It affects the connective tissue positively, activating them and reducing adhesions caused by prolonged inactivity or following surgery. 

* Percussion: causes strong hyperaemia and therefore improves local nutrition. It stimulates the elasticity of the muscular fibers and diminishes nervous excitability.

* Vibration: works on the cutaneous, subcutaneous, and muscular nerve terminations. It has a sedative effect, but also acts upon the main substance of the connective tissue making it more malleable when flocculation or clotting (adhesions, healing processes, scars) occurs.