The 5 main types of massage movements and benefits

There are a variety of different strokes used during a typical massage routine. This depends on the style of massage, the clients  requirements and how the therapist conducts her treatment. 

When I am working on a client I personally like to use a variety of massage movements not only to enable the massage to be as effective as possible, but also so that I can tailor make the session to cater for each individuals needs as client satisfaction is extremely important to my practice.

Below is a summary of the main massage movements used in swedish massage which is the most common style of massage practised,the reasons for each stroke and the benefits that are gained as a result. All the strokes are done in an upwards motion towards the heart.
The strokes are described as I personally use them and in order for what I have found to be the most effective way of practicing but each therapist obviously has their own method of what works best for them and their treatment.


This is the introductory rhythmic stroke which is used first during a treatment,it is a slow, smooth and continuous gliding stroke performed with the palms flat against the body.
It enables the massage medium to be spread on the body, warms the muscles and allows the client to get used to the therapists touch, therefore inducing relaxation and a sense of well being.

A firmer stroke which often follows on from effleurage, a variety of movements are used including squeezing,kneading or rolling of the tissues and muscle fibres with the hands,fingers and thumbs. 
As the muscles are now warm it allows a stronger pressure to be used to penetrate the deeper muscles of the body to help alleviate muscular discomfort and tension.

A deeper stroke again often performed in a circular motion using the palms,hands,fingers and thumbs with intention to target specific areas of tension.
The muscles are very warm and a general pressure has been used to work the entire limb, however to pinpoint particular areas of nodules and break down scar tissue this movement is used.

A rapid movement used on specific areas of the body where extra care must be taken such as the muscles at the side of the spine. The pads of the finger tips and thumbs are used.
Once the muscles have been warmed up and worked upon there may still be trigger points causing discomfort in specific areas.
This movement is ideal for eliminating tension quickly and safely.

Short and fast movements are used including hacking,clapping,tapping and cupping with the fingers,sides of the hands or cupped hands.                                                                         
Once muscular discomfort has been released this stimulating movement tones the muscles, increases blood supply and therefore improves lymphatic drainage and the removal of toxins from the body.

For more information  why not enrol on one of my workshops? A fun and informative way to learn new skills in a relaxed environment.

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