Massage and other such fascinating things

19 Things To Know About Effleurage

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Did you know that massage techniques are categorised into various groups? Here they are…effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration. For now, let’s focus on effleurage.

Effleurage comes from the French word ‘effleurer’ which means ‘to touch lightly’ or ‘to skim’. When doing a massage, it’s usually the first technique to be applied and the last one too. If you fancy trying out some effleurage yourself, here’s a video to show you how.

Video – Massage technique: Effleurage on the Back

And here’s more stuff on effleurage that you might not know about.

  1. It can be used on any part of the body and face.
  2. It’s often used for massaging in a general way, not honing in specifically on a particular area.
  3. It’s a long gliding stroke that follows the contours of the body or face.
  4. It can be light or deep, but always lighter to start off with to warm the area.
  5. Effleurage prepares the muscles for deeper massage and soothes them after deeper massage.
  6. You can effleurage making whole hand contact, with the palms of the hand, fists, knuckles, fingertips and forearms.
  7. It’s used to apply the massage medium (oil, cream, lotion) to the skin.
  8. At the start of the massage effleurage accustoms the client to the massage therapist, and the massage therapist to the client.
  9. It can be used as a way of palpating, sensing and evaluating the client’s body; finding out where areas of tightness, tension or soreness are.
  10. It warms, soothes, relaxes – both body and mind.
  11. Light effleurage can help with lymphatic drainage.
  12. Slow effleurage has a calming effect on the nervous system, and fast effleurage has a more stimulating effect on the nervous system.
  13. It reduces tension and tightness in the muscles. Even relieves tired achy muscles.
  14. It helps with local blood flow to the skin and muscles.
  15. It’s used as a linking movement between one massage technique and the next, facilitating a smooth and flowing feel to the massage treatment.
  16. It passively stretches muscle when applied along the muscle fibres and can improve suppleness.
  17. It’s used to finish the massage over each body part and to soothe the area that’s been worked on.
  18. Effleurage is good for us.
  19. Even the word ‘effleurage’ sounds good. Go ahead, say it out loud!


Happy massaging!
Doreen and Dympna 🙂


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