Effleurage is the most common stroke in massage and is a gentle glide of the hands over the skin. It is typically used to relax the body and promote circulation. Petrissage refers to kneading, rolling and twisting tissues with the massage therapist's thumbs and knuckles. It is often used in deep tissue massages to release muscle knots and increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
Friction is another common massage movement used to loosen muscle knots. The massage therapist will rub both hands with quick movements along the part of the body being worked to generate heat and help the muscles relax and rest. Tapotement involves the masseur gently and rhythmically touching the body with his fists, the side of the hands or the cupped hands. Vibration involves the massage therapist using the fingertips or the heel of the hand to perform a back-and-forth motion on the skin.
The four basic massage movements are effleurage (light or deep stroking), petriage (kneading), tapotement (soft slaps) and friction. Effleurage is intended for relaxation and the release of tension, while petrissage helps to separate muscle from bone, relieving muscle spasms. Tapotement is similar to what its name suggests, gently tapping or cupping the skin with your hand to create an effect similar to that of percussion. Friction is a concentration of pressure at a specific point, using very small, focused circular movements to release tension at specific points.
Swedish massage was developed in the 19th century by a professor of physiology at Stockholm University, Per Henrik Ling. It is characterized by rapid tapping, drumming, patting or itching the client's body with the therapist's hands, soft fists, or fingertips. This type of massage will help improve blood circulation in the body, help with flexibility and also reduce toxins in the muscles. It is absolutely vital that massage therapists know the correct method to use in private patients so that they can not only provide the best relief, but also avoid causing injury.
At Discoverypoint School of Massage, students can develop and refine their knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to succeed as a professional massage therapist. Understanding the basic concepts and techniques of massage gives you a solid foundation to expand and grow as a professional. With this knowledge, you can provide your clients with maximum comfort while helping them relax and relieve muscle tension.