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Swedish Massage Certification at Atlanta School of Massage

In the previous blog, we covered the massage curriculum at the Atlanta School of Massage. We discussed how ASM’s massage therapy program is 750 hours, which is 250 hours more than the 500-hour minimum required by the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy.

This means that our students get twice the minimum clinical hours required for state licensure! Employers know the impact that this additional hands-on experience can have on personal confidence and technical skills, which can help our graduates stand out when applying for jobs.


Additionally, as proof of this extra training, ASM grants four certificates of specialization as part of its massage therapy training program.

  1. Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage Therapy 
  2.  Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
  3. Reflexology
  4. Seated Massage

By showing employers proof of specific skills, they are reassured that our graduates have the specific massage skills and hands-on experience they are looking for in a massage therapist.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will explore these massage modalities. Let’s begin by looking at Swedish Massage.

Why ASM Offers a Swedish Massage Certification

Swedish Massage is the most common and popular massage modality in the US. It is practiced in both spa settings for relaxation and anxiety relief, as well as medical settings for Lymph drainage, nerve stimulation, pain relief, and more.

In addition to its widespread commercial use, the techniques learned in Swedish massage build the foundation for learning and mastering other massage therapy modalities.


As such, we offer a certification of specialization in Swedish massage to assure future employers that our graduates are familiar with and have experience in treating patients with this important massage modality.

About Swedish Massage

Despite its name, Swedish massage isn’t Swedish. It was invented by Johann Georg Mezger, a Dutch physician, who had studied French massage, and came up with the system of the five massage techniques makeup Swedish Massage:

  1. Effleurage
  2. Petrissage
  3. Tapotement 
  4. Friction
  5.  Vibration


Swedish Massage begins with stroking movements called effleurage, which is a French word that means to gently touch. Effleurage consists of gliding strokes that are applied with an open palm across a wide area of the body with varying degrees of pressure to promote circulation.



After the muscles have been warmed up with effleurage, the next massage technique that follows is petrissage, which means “to knead.”


It is applied by stretching and loosening tense muscles in four ways:

  1. Kneading: Compressing motions with both palms, similar to how a barker does with dough. It is also the most common approach to applying petrissage.
  2. Wringing: Lifting, squeezing, and rolling compressed muscle tissue.
  3. Rolling: Lifting and squeezing either the muscle fibers (muscle rolling) or epidermis (skin rolling) in a side-ways pattern.
  4. Lifting (Pick up and Squeeze): Like picking up and squeezing tissue like kneading, but with the fingers rather than palms.

Because petrissage can be applied in many ways and offers various therapeutic benefits to patients with tense muscles, it usually composes the majority of the time in a Swedish massage session.


Tapotement, which means “to drum” is applied by rhythmically tapping a patient’s body. It is useful for both relaxation and lymphatic drainage. It is commonly applied in five different ways:

  1. Hacking: Hacking is the most common tapotement approach, and consists of rhythmic tapping using the edge of the hands, which is often described as “karate chopping.”
  2. Hammering: Like hacking, but using a closed fist rather than the side palm of the hand.
  3. Cupping: Like hammering, but with a cupped hand. This approach is used to apply deep force across a larger area.
  4. Slapping: Gentle, rhythmic slapping using the palms of the hands to stimulate muscle fibers.
  5. Tapping: Rapid tapping motions using just the fingertips. Mainly used for patients with specific sensitivities or injuries.


A firm and focused compression is often applied in a circular rubbing rhythm (Circular Friction) or in a perpendicular rubbing rhythm (Transverse Friction) to a specific area of the body, usually with just the fingers.


Vibration (Shaking)

Rhythmic shaking to loosen and relax muscle tissue. It is especially useful for treating areas with lots of scar tissue build-up.

Get a Swedish Massage Certification at the Atlanta School of Massage

By now, you can see why having a certification in Swedish Massage is important for any future massage therapist. Whether you want to work in a spa or healthcare setting, having a certification in Swedish Massage that is backed by the curriculum and reputation that ASM offers, will give employers proof that you have the scientific knowledge, technical skills, and hands-on experience to succeed as a massage therapist.

You can learn more about our massage program by downloading our free course catalog below. If you’re near Atlanta, feel free to stop by for a campus visit. The Atlanta School of Massage is located at 2 Dunwoody Park South, Suite 101 Atlanta, GA 30338. You can also give us a call at (770)454-7164 or shoot us an email at


Classes Starting Soon!
Day Program: March 11, 2024 Weeknight Program: March 4, 2024
Day Program: March 11, 2024
Weeknight Program: March 4, 2024
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