Most massage strokes are designed to promote relaxation and relieve muscle tension, but there are differences between the techniques. In this blog, we’ll explain 5 of the most common massage techniques and the ways in which they differ from one another. 

1. Effleurage 

Effleurage is the most-commonly used massage technique. It involves the massage therapist using their hands and/or forearms to provide long, gliding strokes across the area of the body that they’re working on. 
Since this is a relatively gentle technique, it’s commonly used at the beginning of a massage when applying lotion or oil. Effleurage also allows the client to get used to your touch and lets the body ease into the massage. As the muscles begin to relax, the pressure level applied will intensify. 

2. Petrissage 

Petrissage refers to the kneading, rolling, and wringing of the tissues. The massage therapist applies this massage technique using their hands or thumbs. 
Petrissage is great for freeing up muscle knots, which is why it’s often used during deep tissue massages. It also increases blood flow and lymphatic drainage for the area of the body that’s being worked on. 

3. Friction 

Friction is also a very common massage stroke. It’s mostly used to loosen muscle knots. Massages that utilise friction as a technique use quick motions along part of the body, in order to generate warmth, which helps the muscles to relax and unwind. 

4. Tapotement 

Tapotement involves the massage therapist gently and rhythmically tapping on the body using their fists, side of their hands or cupped hands. 
As a massage technique, it’s used to stimulate muscles nerves and promote circulation. Tapotement is therefore a popular massage stroke for massages before events. 

5. Vibration 

Vibration involves the massage therapist using their fingertips or the heel of their hand to perform a back-and-forth motion over the skin. It can be done quickly or slowly, depending on personal preference or the goal of the massage. 
This massage technique helps to loosen up muscles in particularly tense areas. 
Whether you have a favourite massage technique, or you’re looking to get your first sports massage, we’d recommend ensuring you get a massage from an experienced massage therapist. We also offer a comprehensive training programme for those looking to learn how to become massage therapists. Contact us today to find out how Fire & Earth can help you. 
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