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Effleurage, Petrissage, and Tapotement

Updated on October 20, 2011

These are the 3 basic forms of Massage that all trained therapists must learn in order to aid in the healing and relaxation of their clients

These 3 basic techniques are used by ALL Massage Therapists and are a part of every massage they do. The first stage in the massage is Effleurage and it is meant to regulate breathing, prep muscles for Petrissage, and spread lotion evenly on skin for easier deep tissue work. Also it feels amazing and excites the pleasure nerves all over your body! The second stage is Petrissage, this is meant for getting deeper into the muscles and moving them around more, palpatation is performed in order to find Trigger Points in the muscles, and kneading of the muscles as well. Tapotement is the final stage of the work being done on each part of the body. This is my favorite part of the massage because it just makes all my muscles feel like jelly and I feel like a million bucks getting off that table and you will too!

The 3 Basic Techniques Used in Massage

1. Effleurage - The rubbing and gliding of muscles with gentle to light pressure using a fair amount of lotion or oil. This is how the therapist will start working on each part of the body until the muscles are”warmed up” and ready for a bit more pressure. This is my personal favorite part of the massage because I like the light pressure.

2. Petrissage - The kneading, rolling, and pressing of the muscles with moderate to heavy pressure ( clients discretion) in order to alleviate pain due to “knots” in the muscle tissue and also to provide assistance with Trigger Point Therapy.

a.Trigger Point – The area aggravated by stress or hyperirritability within the muscles. These are often located in the tight band of muscle fibers. Note: This type of therapy is a little painful at first because the therapist has to press down on the points in order to relax the muscle fibers but let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT!!! You feel like a million bucks when it’s all said and done!!!

3.Tapotement - The tapping, slapping, chopping,and cupping done at the end of the session to help the muscles regroup and relax even more. The nerve endings are highly sensitive at this point and you might feel every hair on your body stand up and it’s just an amazing feeling!!! This is kind of like a “finishing touch” with a light rub down at the very end from the therapist’s fingertips. You’re walking on sunshine for a few days after this! It is recommended that you go for a massage at least every two weeks to keep you from getting those awful “knots” and it also keeps your emotional and mental well-being in-check as well.

There you have it! Now you know even MORE about Massage Therapy and the techniques that make it one of the best Alternative treatments in the world!

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Oh, wow! I had never heard this terminology although I have gone through many massages over the past few years -- therapeutic!!