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Is Swedish Massage Standardizied?

Per definition massage could be thought as manipulation of soft tissue which include musculature and connective tissue. Another more detailed definition of massage is stroking, pressure and stretching of your skin and skeletal muscles.

First, one has to remember that there is an overlap between different massage methods. Some of techniques tend to be more or less the same independently of the name of the therapist educational background or of the primary philosophy of a particular school. The Swedish massage I’ve my training in is systematically focused on working on the soft tissue and specifically on the skeletal muscles. Nonetheless it must be emphasized that there surely is an improvement between schools in Sweden the way the Swedish massage is performed. This is by no means unusual regarding manual therapy in general. For instance chiropractic and physiotherapy colleges may vary quite much in curriculum between each other. In Sweden every school has its curriculum and can teach their students massage based on the schools on literature. In Sweden predominantly the schools that have Swedish massage on the curriculum are private. Although some state-owned university programs like physiotherapy includes a few hours of massage in their curriculum it is not any complete massage course compared to a lot of the private massage school. Before the 1970’s physiotherapists in Sweden were well been trained in massage but when physiotherapy became a more academic subject and programs were integrated within medical or health faculties there have been a stronger demand that everything should be scientific based or evidence based. So the paradox today is that a lot of the private schools with no affiliation to university have the comprehensive programs in hands on massage training. But university programs in health insurance and medicine are usually more extensive in science, medicine and human biology. Many of the private massage schools are under state supervision but this more a bureaucratic formality and the authority really does not have any knowledge in manual therapy generally or massages therapy particularly. In Sweden the product quality assurance of a massage curriculum is performed internally by the school itself. But there are about ten schools today that formed the Swedish Massage Advisory Council.

The main goal of the Swedish Massage Advisory Council is to uphold the professional skills of a masseur or masseuse and the credibility of the business. The council quality assures schools. That is achieved by all students who are enrolled in a member schools can undergo a national test and receive certification as masseur. When council was formed 1998 there have been an agreement that the title masseur or masseuse was the most commonly known title on the list of clients. This was the reason behind that the title certified masseur or masseuse (in Swedish the word is the same for both gender) was established and marketed. Although today massage therapist is maybe has higher credibility as a title. Massage therapy diploma is a title that each school or course provider can provide without the reservation. The Swedish Massage Advisory Council has through it years established guidelines and minimum level of what a massage therapist needs to know and just how many hours of tuition is required in human biology, medicine, and massage and stretching. Additionally, there are requirements of clinical practice both supervised and done independently. All together there should a minimum of 390 hours of tuition and clinical practice. That is then examined when the students of the member school have passed a national theoretical certification exam. This exam is really a multiple choice quiz with most questions is regarding the students’ proficiency in anatomy. There is also a national practical exam on the students’ skills in surface anatomy, massage and manual stretching. However we in the Swedish Massage Advisory Council has agreed on which muscles and their insertion and functions a massage therapist have to know there is really no consensus on the practical massage. Addititionally there is an agreement which muscles a massage therapist will be able to passively stretch an individual but exactly how this is done regarding the position of the patient and therapist is something each school will decide. When it comes to the practical massage the rules is more indistinct.

Based on the Swedish Massage Advisory Council an avowed masseur or masseuse must have a good working and theoretical understanding of the massage techniques effleurage, petrissage, frictions (circulatory motions with the tip of the fingers), vibration and tapotement. The therapist should be able to apply these techniques on an individual basis concerning the patients or clients requests, health, physical constitution and any contraindications that might exist. But how the therapist adapts the massage techniques regarding depth and rhythm each member school will decide. Even the length of treatment session and the sequence of the techniques differ.