Massage and other such fascinating things

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19 Things To Know About Effleurage

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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Getting Well Oiled

bottles of oil

Probably the most popular oils used for massage are sweet almond, sunflower or grapeseed. There’s a pretty big range of oils available for massage therapy so how about changing from the usual suspects and experimenting with different types of vegetable oils? Pure vegetable oils have amazing therapeutic properties and can greatly enhance the massage we’re giving, as well as providing a good ‘slip’ over the skin.

Jojoba, for example, is actually a liquid wax, and leaves the skin feeling ultra- smooth and silky.  It’s particularly good for facial massage and can be equally as beneficial to oily skin as well as dry skin.

Avocado, so yum and good for us when we eat them, and so good for us when we apply the oil to our skin (make sure it’s the unrefined version and that means it is a gorgeous sludgy green colour and not pale yellow)…perfect for dry skin or mature skin, acting as an emollient.

Do check out Borage and Hazelnut oils as they are both great for dry skin.  Rosehip can be used to help reduce the appearance of scar tissue and for burns as it helps stimulate skin cell regeneration.

Calendula, St John’s Wort and Comfrey can all be used as anti-inflammatory agents, so helpful for eczema, psoriasis, burns and even arthritic joints.

By the way, do use pure vegetable oils and not mineral oils or refined vegetable oils. Refined oils have to be heated at really high temperatures to extract more oil from the raw plant material and nutrients are destroyed in the process. Then usually the colour is stripped and the oil is deodorised (that means the odour is stripped from it). Sounds nice, eh?

Another thing to be aware of is that it isn’t possible to produce ‘pure’, unrefined versions of some vegetable oils. St. John’s Wort, Calendula and Carrot are what are known as macerated oils. This means that that the raw plant material is steeped in another carrier oil during extraction. So really what you end up with is a mixture of, for example, Calendula oil and the original carrier oil.

For massage, some of the  more viscous carriers would benefit from being mixed with a lighter oil like sweet almond or sunflower. Otherwise they tend to absorb into the skin too readily.

Enjoy ‘getting well oiled’.
Doreen and Dympna 🙂