How Can the Different Massage Techniques Benefit You?

My focus in these blog posts this month is on massage. Having discussed the history last time, I wanted to explain the five main techniques used in the Swedish massage that I practise: effleurage, petrissage, friction, percussion and vibration.



Effleurage is a gentle sweeping surface movement used at the beginning and end of a treatment.

The effects and benefits of effleurage are:

  • Prepares the body for massage
  • Spreads the massage medium
  • Warms the skin
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Aids desquamation (the removal of dead skin cells)
  • Aids lymph drainage when used on limbs with the pressure towards the heart
  • Can help remove toxins after other techniques





Petrissage is a kneading or rubbing action used on the larger muscles, manipulating tissue against tissue.

The effects and benefits of petrissage are:

  • Stimulates the circulation
  • Warms muscles
  • Relaxes tight muscles
  • Releases and breaks down toxins (e.g. lactic acid) in muscles
  • Improves suppleness and elasticity through the stretching and compressing of tissue





Friction techniques involve compressing tissue against bone using firm pressure or rubbing and are usually used to focus on a small area where there is a particular problem, such as tightness. Friction techniques involve the use of the thumbs or fingers to apply oscilating pressure to a specific area. Transverse friction is applied across the direction of the tissue fibres.

The effects and benefits of friction are:

  • Generates heat
  • Stimulates the circulation
  • Relaxes tight muscles and joints
  • Releases and breaks down toxins (e.g. lactic acid) in muscles





Percussion is an invigorating striking technique. One that most people will be familiar with is the hacking motion using the sides of the therapist’s hands. Other percussion techniques are beating (using the side of the fist), pounding (using the front of the fist), cupping (using cupped hands) and tapotement (pinching).

The effects and benefits of percussion are:

  • Invigorates nerves
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Warms the skin and muscles
  • Tones muscle
  • Breaks down fatty deposits





Vibration involves causing the muscle to shake in order to loosen it up. It is usually performed using the fingertips to make small, rapid trembling movements. Manual lymphatic drainage therapy uses fine vibrational movements to aid lymphatic drainage.

The effects and benefits of vibration are:

  • Relieves pain
  • Relaxes tight muscles
  • Can aid lymphatic drainage



If you are interested in experiencing the techniques mentioned above and the benefits of massage, give me a call or send me a message to arrange an appointment.