Getting to know massage

What is a massage?

There are several types of massage that focus on different parts of the body or healing approaches. Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. During a massage, a massage therapist will apply gentle or strong pressure to the muscles and joints of the body to ease pain and tension. A massage therapist is a person trained in giving massages.i

Massages have been used as a healing and relaxation technique for thousands of years. By manipulating the tissues and muscles of a recipient using a combination of pressure, rubbing, stroking, and even heat, various health benefits have been observed.

Based on data collected between July 2016 to July 2017, here are the primary reasons people in the US get a massage:


What methods are there are to perform a massage?



Acupressure is a specific massage technique that aims to decrease pain, clear tension in muscles, increase blood circulation and promote deep states of relaxation. Acupressure can be effective to relieve headaches, back ache and help to manage conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Acupressure is performed using fingers gradually pressing onto key points around the body to simulate pain relief and muscle relaxation. The acupressure technique is used on trigger points within muscles and soft tissues. A trigger point is a neuromuscular point where a muscle and a nerve meet together and cause irritation. This meeting place often causes pain when compressed and can lead to muscle spasm. When acupressure technique is applied, pain is often reduced by interrupting pain signals to the brain and encouraging deep relaxation.


Effleurage is the most common stroke used in massage. It is a gentle sliding of the hands over the skin. For the most part, effleurage strokes are pointed towards the heart.

Commonly, effleurage is used at the beginning of a session, to enable the therapist to get a sense of the customer’s body: its sensitivity, the placement of the muscles, and so on. It is also used at the end of treatment as a gentle ‘wind-down’, and as a filler to move between different strokes. Simple as it is, effleurage increases blood flow to the skin and to some muscles.



The most popular methods of tapotement, or percussion, are cupping, hacking, and tapotement pincer like or pincing movements.


Cupping The cupping action produces an invigorating and stimulating sensation. It is a series of percussion movements rapidly duplicated at a constant tempo. One’s hands are cupped to such an extent that the beat emits a dull and hollow sound, unlike the sound of the slap of the open hand. The hands move alternately, from the wrist with the elbow flexed and the upper arm stabilized. The cupping action should be executed until the skin in the area develops a pinkish coloration.

Hacking Hacking can be used in conjunction with cupping to bring about a varied stimulation of the sensory nerves. It is similar to cupping, except the hands are rotated externally and the ulnar, or little finger, border of the hand is stroking the surface. Only the heavy muscle areas should be treated in this manner.

Pincing Although pincing is not in the strictest sense percussive, it is listed under tapotement because of the vigor with which it is applied. Alternating hands lift small amounts of tissue between the first finger and thumb in quick, gentle pinching movements.



Kneading, or petrissage, is a technique adaptable primarily to loose and heavy tissue areas. Petrissage techniques consist of short, circular strokes that pick up and squeeze the muscles. This improves blood flow to the muscles, and can also help the muscles to eliminate their waste products.

The action is initiated by bracing with the heels of the hands, then either holding the thumbs steady and moving the fingers in circular motion. Each method is adaptable to the type of area or articulation that is being massaged. The motion is started at a central point, and then a circular movement is initiated, with the hands moving in opposite directions away from the center point. The purpose is to stretch the underlying tissue, develop friction in the area and increase circulation around the joint.

---Beating & Pounding

Beating and pounding is a percussive technique used to produce stimulation before exercise. Beating and pounding involve a series of light, brisk, striking actions applied with clenched fists. Beating and pounding stimulates an increase of blood, temperature and tissue elasticity. Beating and pounding can be used effectively throughout a training programme to help maintain healthy muscles and prevent injuries from occurring. Massage therapists at can use beating and pounding as an effective massage technique to treat a range of conditions.

Beating lets you use your fists on the patient. Make each hand into a fist and gently beat on the patient’s skin with the bottom of each fist alternately. As with other tapotement, the trick is to avoid getting over-enthusiastic and hurting




Friction is a massage technique used to increase circulation and release areas that are tight; particularly around joints and where there are adhesions within the muscles or tendons. Friction is defined as an accurately delivered penetrating pressure applied through fingertips. Friction is one of the strokes aimed at the muscles, and so the practitioner should ignore the skin itself as much as possible. Due to their deeper nature, they are best reserved for after the client’s body has been properly warmed up with effleurage and petrissage. As well as the usual benefits of increased circulation, friction strokes can break up knots of muscle. Variants of friction can use different parts of the hand, and they are mostly performed quite quickly.

Friction can be performed with the palm, knuckles and fingertips.


Vibration is rapid movement that produces a quivering or trembling effect. It is mainly used in sports for its ability to relax and soothe. Although vibration can be done manually, the machine vibrator is preferred.


--- Compression


Compressions are an effective massage technique. Compressions are used on larger areas of muscle. The compression technique applies pressure onto muscles, it is then held and released. This technique is then repeated. Compressions are used within many different types of massages including Swedish, therapeutic and deep tissue massages.

Compression is used to help relax the body physically and mentally. Light pressure is applied across the soft tissues increasing temperature and circulation. Increased temperature allows the muscle to soften and lengthen. Compression techniques can also help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to aid relaxation.

--- Shiatsu

Shiatsu is an ancient form of healing through touch. It originated in Japan and when translated means ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu is similar to acupuncture in the way it stimulates certain pressure points on the body to release and channel the body’s energy.


Post time: 05-13-2022