Massage is a combination of various movements used to manipulate tissues for both local and overall effects and benefits.
The movements range from gentle stroking to invigorating friction, depending on the desired effect. Just like a mechanic has many different tools and tricks for keeping your car running smoothly; massage therapists have a dozen different techniques. However, majority of the techniques can be summed up into two types – Effleurage and Petrissage.
A gentle, sweeping, relaxing stroke, with varying levels of pressure, used at the beginning and end of a massage. At the beginning of a massage routine, effleurage stroke allows the therapist to:
- To Warm the client
- To spread the oil over the part being worked on
- For the client to become accustomed to the therapist’s touch
It can also be used with firm pressure over large areas once the muscles are relaxed. Effleurage strokes aim to soothe and relax muscles and improve circulation.
With fingers and thumbs together, keep hands relaxed and stroke the skin slowly and rhythmically.
Vary the pressure once the tissue has been warmed. Hands can be used together or individually. The whole of the hand and palm should be used together with sweeping motion towards the heart.
Petrissage or kneading is a firm application of pressure.
It compresses tissue against tissue which breaks down toxins and tension.
The whole of the hand, or fingers only or thumbs may be used. The emphasis being on manipulating tight muscle tissue. There are various petrissage techniques e.g. hacking, cupping, beating and pounding.
Petrissage should only be used over muscle areas, not to be used over bony areas as the pressure would be too painful.