Skip to main content
Two empty lounge chairs in front of a window looking out at the ocean by Bohuslän province.
Gullmarstrand Hotel
A place for mindfulness
Photo credit: Fredrik Broman/

Swedish massage

The Swedish massage is perhaps the best-known massage treatment in the world.

Here in Sweden, the home of the Swedish massage, it is known as a ‘classic massage’ and is a part of the Swedish concept of wellness.

What is core to the Swedish massage treatment is the physical and mental aspects of wellbeing and the method uses five styles of long flowing strokes; long, gliding strokes, kneading and lifting the muscles, rhythmic tapping, friction and vibration/shaking.

The father of the Swedish massage

The man credited with inventing the Swedish massage is Per Henrik Ling, who was born in Sweden in 1776. A colourful character, Ling was at various time a gymnastics teacher, a fencing instructor and a man of letters. As the story goes, Ling was eager to help the Swedish king of the time to get his troops in shape after a failed military operation. The method he developed focused on the benefits of specific physical movements, and although the relationship between instructor and subject at the time wouldn’t have been very ‘hands-on’, Ling established what Swedish massage has become famous for: the physical and mental aspects of wellbeing, as well as the healing and curative benefits of the method.

The spiritual home of the Swedish massage

The Swedish massage is one of many massage treatments available at Swedish spa hotels. Mr Ling’s take on physical and mental wellbeing flourishes at Swedish spa hotels throughout Sweden. We like to think that Mr Ling would agree with the four essentials of Swedish spa hotels; movement, rest, nutrition and touch. All combined with the peace, tranquillity and energising effects of the natural settings of our spa hotels.