Classical Swedish Massage Movements
Effleurage is used for the application of oil. More pressure is used when moving towards the heart, and less pressure when moving away from the heart, following the venous and lymphatic flow.
The word effleurage comes from the French, effleur meaning to skim over.
The technique is also used as a linking movement. Hands must be relaxed. It can be used to reduce oedemia (water retention) ONLY if the cause is known.
- Familiarises the client eith your touch
- Increases blood and lymph flow
- Preheats the area prior to other treatments
- Aids desquamation (dead skin cell removal)
Petrissage is from the French word petrir meaning to knead. It can be broken into three techniques: kneading, wringing and friction.
These techniques involve picking up and sliughtly squeezing or twisting the muscles and are used on all muscular and fatty regions of the body.
Using the whole hand or just the finger tips, the muscle is first squeezed and then release in a rhythmic fashion. As it is released, the muscle relaxes.
Always relax a muscle with effleurage before doing petrissage.
Hands are placed wither side of a muscle with the palms slightly facing each other. The movement is an alternate downward pressure then a picking up, rolling and squeezing of the muscle. Applied on muscular areas such as shoulders, back and limbs. Picking up (lifting up the muscle and stretching it away from the bone) and rolling (lifting a section of muscle and rolling it transversally in both directions) can also be practised as an individual movement.
Like kneading, this movement involves squeezing the muscles and soft underlying tissue adhesion connected to the muscle but giving an additional twist. Hands are placed side by side on a limb and grasping firmly with the fingers, start to work hands in opposite directions. Work up and down the limb, squeezing the flesh between the hands a little at each stroke. Extremely warming and stimulating.
The deepest technique used in massage and is targeted at specific areas of soft tissue dammage like scar tissue and adhesions. Variations are circling, pressing and rubbing. The digit or elbow is used in a similar way as in deep effleurage but even greater pressure is applied. At first applied passively until sufficient depth has been reached and only lesions can then be located and treated using a friction rotation or short rocking movement, whilst maintaining the same deep pressure.
- Pumps the vessels of the muscles to improve circulation and increase lymphatic activity
- Eases muscular tension
- Brings warmth to an area
- Helps break down adipose (fatty) tissue
- Aids interchange of tissue fluids
- Release tension and breaks down adhesion/nodules
- Aids elimination of waste products, lactic acid and urea
All vigorous, brisk movements which give sequence a more stimulating and toning effect. Tapotement consists of a series of light blows made in quick succession with the movement springing from loosely held wrists.
Must not be performed on or over bones. Performed with the outer sides of the hands keeping wrists close together. Use brisk alternating chopping strokes with the hands. Good on fleshy parts of the body.
Performed with fingers slightly extended and palms cupped to form a hollow. Should not sound like a slap, more like horses hooves. Used on thighs, buttocks and back (fleshy areas)> Cupping is a bouncy, brisk massage movement.
Carried out by striking lightly with the palm or surface of a loosely held fist.
Using loose fists and keeping the wrists close together gently pummeling the skin with the padded side of the fists. This technique can be used on fleshy parts of the body and also over muscular areas, e.g. shoulders.
- Warms the tissue
- Helps break down adipose tissue
- Eliminates toxins
- Tones the muscle fibres
- Stimulates the circulation
- Can release a muscle that is in spasm
- Stimulates nerve endings
- Draws blood to the surface causing hyperaedemia
Tremoring movement; fingertips are placed on the client and the therapist performs a tremoring movement from the forearms.
- Warms tissues
- Relieves tension
- Stimulates nerve endings to clear nerve pathways
- Relaxes muscles
All massage movements must be performed correctly and on areas appropriate for the movement.
Your massage sequence should be adapted to produce a massage suitable for the individual clients' needs.