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Massage Techniques: Which Are The Best To Use?

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When it comes to the art of massage therapy, there’s a wide range of massage techniques that are used, each one being unique to the effects it can create. We’re going to explore some of the most popular massage techniques and some of the expected benefits you can receive from each one.

Popular Massage Techniques

Deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, sports massage, hot stone massage, many of you have likely heard some of these massage types at some point in your life. What you don’t hear about, it’s the individual massage techniques that are used in each massage type.

If you’re taking the time to do your homework and learn about each massage and the benefits they provide, it’s equally important to learn about the different techniques that are used in each individual massage. In this article, we’re doing just that – we’ll be discussing 5 of the most popular massage techniques and what makes each one unique.

These massage techniques are not in any particular order, let’s get started.

1. Effleurage

This hands-on technique is commonly used in massage spas, salons, parlors, and at masseuse stations. It focuses on applying small quantities of pressure to the skin using your hands. The palms are flat while they glide over the body in this method, oils or lotions can be used for additional comfort.

The most comfortable and peaceful feeling is achieved with effleurage at the start and finish of a massage. The objective here is to relax the muscles while also promoting blood circulation to various regions of the body.

If you want to learn how to use this approach into your massage, start by gently stroking the skin with light, relaxing strokes while keeping your palms flat open. You may use circular motions to softly massage the skin and, in some cases, increase pressure if asked.

The technique can be used to massage away muscular knots and tension from the body. In some cases, additional pressure may be needed to achieve the desired result. This method is commonly utilized in a variety of types of massages, such as Swedish massage.

Some people prefer to get a full body massage using the effleurage massage technique, which can result in a complete relaxation state, both mentally and physically. Some effleurage massage techniques can also be used in the gentle prenatal massage.

2. Kneading

Kneading is perhaps the most easily executed by amateur massage therapists, and it entails applying pressure with your thumbs or palms to various regions of the body. The goal here is to pull the muscle away from the bone, which aids in the treatment of muscular spasms. Petrisage is a technical term for kneading that is popular among many massage textbooks.

Kneading is one of the first massage techniques that students are taught, making it somewhat simpler to grasp than the others. The rate and strength of pressure applied to the skin and muscles, on the other hand, must be mastered.

If you’re giving someone a massage, it’s a good idea to ask them what they like. Otherwise, start by adjusting the pressure and speed according on how the client responds while massaging them.

Remember, as a massage therapist, you must continually ensure that the individual receiving the treatment is not in any pain or discomfort. Begin by using little pressure and slower speeds, then increase gradually based on what your client tells you.

There’s a few different massage types where kneading is used, such as the sports massage.

cropped view of masseur and shirtless man lying on massage table

3. Tapping or Tapotement

Another massage technique used in sports massage therapy is the technique of frequently tapping utilized on the body to enhance blood circulation, this is often used in conjunction with other techniques. The massage therapist uses rapid strokes with their hands to tap various parts of the body, notably the back and thighs.

The hands may be cupped or tapped, usually one at a time, using the fingers and palm edges when performing a tapping massage. You can modify the technique to suit your client’s preferences. Depending on how your client feels, different manners of tapping can be used to achieve the desired results your client wants.

Another thing to keep in mind when using the tapping method is that you should tap rhythmically and swiftly. Depending on what your client likes and how hard you press, you may also curl or straighten your hand.

Sometimes you may concentrate on one region of the body that is particularly rigid and unpleasant for the patient. You might wish to incorporate a hacking motion, in which a substantial amount of force is applied to a smaller area of the body, with tapping.

4. Rubbing

The rubbing method, as the name implies, basically requires thumbs to be in circular motion with pressure applied as you go. This technique is used to improve blood flow throughout the body and ease muscular and joint aches. The deep tissue massage is one massage type where rubbing is used. Rubbing in deep tissue massage therapy can also relieve stiffness and/or discomfort in deeper muscle layers at a stronger pressure.

When you rub your thumbs on the skin, you’re specifically treating areas of the body that have tense muscles or painful joints. When enough pressure is applied, it can provide a lot of relief for the client.

Rubbing can refer to a wide range of movement patterns, as long as you are using two thumbs. These movements, while comparable in many ways, may be referred to as a distinct approach depending on how and when massage therapists use them all across the world.

Percussive Massage Technique

5. Shaking or Vibration

Last but not least, this method is comparable to tapping in that it uses rhythm. To simulate a vibration moving through an area, lightly shake the muscles over a wide surface region (the back for example) or your fingertips (across the face).

This technique does not usually use a lot of force because the goal is to offer a soothing effect for the muscles and nerves throughout the body. Several therapists have also advised massaging around, and even over, scar tissue as part of this technique.

So, if you’re massaging someone who is sensitive to higher degrees of discomfort, the vibration technique is a good choice. Not only will it not be unpleasant for the client, but it will also give their nerves much-needed comfort. You’ll see this technique used in a few different massage therapies, such as the sports massage or deep tissue massage.

As with the other procedures described above, a massage therapist must ensure that their customer is not in discomfort while the treatment is being given. The easiest way to accomplish so is by speaking directly with the client.

Book your favorite massage technique with Soothe

Now that you know the individual massage techniques that are used in many of different massages we offer, we hope it gives you more confidence to book a massage. As always, if you have a question, be sure to visit our Help Center. If you need more personal support, you can reach us via our contact page.