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Some Massage Techniques

Massage therapy is a specialized discipline and like any discipline, makes use of different techniques in applying the skill and pressure that bring delight to a client. Knowing these techniques and applying them correctly is what makes a massage therapist stand out from the crowd.

Massage techniques are vast and varied many of which, the roots can be comfortably traced back to ancient Asia, Rome and the Native Americans. There are those that were practiced in ancient Egypt and other parts of the world and the modern techniques that were formed as a result of amalgamations of different ancient techniques.

Regardless of where the techniques might have originated from, the purpose of their application was usually for similar purposes; to administer relief and enhance the general wellbeing of the person undergoing the massage therapy.

Massage techniques usually depend on the particular needs of the client. There are a few that are widely practiced by most spas and massage therapists.

1. Effleurage

This technique consists of a series and variety of stroking movements mostly carried out with the whole hand making use of the palm and fingers. This is applied with varying pressure according to the purpose of the massage. The therapist uses a wide surface of his hand and fingers to apply a series of stroking movements and firm pressure to massage his/her clients. As applied in other massage types, the therapist’s hands must be relaxed and well placed around the contours of the recipient’s body.

Effleurage is a technique that massage therapists apply at the beginning of a massage session and serves a variety of functions including putting the client at ease, introducing touch to the client, warming the tissues and muscle relaxation including stimulation of peripheral nerves.

Effleurage is started with a light touch followed by a deeper pressure in a rhythmical manner and is generally a slow process because it is at this stage that abnormalities in the tissues and muscles are detected and focused on. After a good effleurage session, there is an increase in blood circulation, stretching of tissues for later massage and other advantages.

2. Petrissage

Petrissage is also known as kneading and is used for the mobilization of body fluids, stretching muscle fibers and inducing relaxation in deeper tissues. This technique is mainly aimed at mobilizing fluids and is used for deep tissue massage therapy. It gives a good stretch to the fibers in the body and needs particular skill to execute. Applying the petrissage technique on slimy or narrow parts of the body will make for a very difficult and inefficient massage. The vigorous movements of the therapist which involves picking up, wringing, squeezing and rolling the tissues help him to work deeply on the muscles.

The benefits are numerous and include the detoxification of deeper tissues, breakdown and removal of fatty tissues around thigh, buttocks and shoulders and aids prevention of muscle stiffness after exercise. It is also used to give relief to muscle spasms. Petrissage is very effective in resolving deep muscle problems.

3. Friction

The friction technique in massage therapy is usually used for deeper and exploratory movement on a client. It is used to break down lesions and recent scar tissues and also acts to separate muscle fibers.

The friction technique while quite painful is very effective. The thumb is used to grasp and move the skin where abnormalities are felt and dealt with. Because of the pain associated with this technique, it is applied for a short period only as too much of the friction technique could cause inflammation.

I write for AML Stone Source, the leading hot stone massage kit supplies provider. They carry products such as massage stones, as well as many other accessories for hot and cold stone therapy.

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