Five main massage techniques are used in Swedish Massage, a type of massage therapy. The five methods include:

  1. Effleurage
  2. Petrissage
  3. Friction
  4. Vibration
  5. Tapotement

Let’s talk about these methods and examine their various uses for them.


Effleurage is a set of stroking motions used at the beginning of a Swedish massage. The French verb effleurage is to touch or skim lightly. This method involves using long, gliding, or circular massage strokes with changing degrees of pressure.

Effleurage is used on a patient’s body to remove tension and loosen tight muscles. It is done to warm up the muscles at start, a massage therapy session and to relax them at the end.

The patient’s needs determine how much pressure is given with each stroke. Applying effleurage can generally be done in one of three ways:

  • Feather or Nerve Stroking: This method of effleurage is the lightest. Applying very mild fingertip pressure on the body’s surface constitutes it. Its main function is to induce relaxation; it has little impact on the neuromuscular system. As a result, feather stroking is not typically used during a conventional massage treatment session, although it is frequently used for head massages.
  • The most popular method of using effleurage is superficial effleurage. It is used to apply oil and warm up the body’s muscles and tissues at the start of a massage. To encourage blood circulation, the strokes are applied using an open palm across a large area of the body with pressure.
  • Deeper Effleurage: This technique is similar to superficial effleurage but applies more pressure to specific body parts, particularly those that are tense and tightly knotted.


The next method is petrissage, which comes after the effleurage strokes have warmed up the muscles. The word “petrissage” is derived from the verb “pétrir,” which means “to knead.” the process of manually compressing soft tissues in a region by repetitive rolling, kneading, and/or squeezing.

These exercises are very beneficial for stretching and releasing stiff muscles, which also improves blood circulation and aids in the body’s detoxification process.

Petrissage can be used in a variety of ways, but the four most popular are as follows:

  • Kneading: This method of petrissage is the most popular, and the motions are sometimes similar to those a barker performs when kneading dough. It is applied by raising the affected area’s soft tissues, then slowly and rhythmically rolling them back with both palms. Although the amount of pressure used varies, kneading is particularly effective for penetrating deep muscles.
  • Wringing: Similar to kneading, but before being lifted, squeezed, and rolled back, wringing compresses the soft tissue area against its underlying structure.
  • Rolling: To apply to roll, lift and squeeze the fragile tissues in a side motion. This technique is for the epidermis or the muscle fibers (muscle rolling) (Skin Rolling).
  • Lifting: Lifting is similar to kneading, but the compression movements are applied with the thumb, index, and middle fingers rather than both palms.

Petrissage has many therapeutic advantages for patients with tense or injured muscles because it can be applied in numerous ways and with different pressure intensities. In a Swedish Massage Therapy session, petrissage typically takes up most of the time.


A hard and targeted rubbing method is referred to as “friction” in Swedish massage and is typically done to a specific area using only the fingers or thumbs. Circular friction or perpendicular rhythms are frequently used while applying compression (Transverse Friction).

Friction is perfect for treating specific joints, like the elbow, because it combines pressure and precision to soften and realign tense muscle fibers.


Shaking in rhythmic motion is used as part of the vibration technique to loosen and relax the body, as the name suggests. The technique can be applied in various ways, such as using both palms to cover a large area, to cover a small, delicate area, such as the face. It works particularly well for treating areas with a lot of scar tissue and calming nerves.


The French word “tapotement” implies to tap or drum. This method involves tapping the patient’s body with a steady beat. The tapping sensations are utilized to increase endorphin and blood flow in the body. As a result, tapotement is especially beneficial for releasing tense muscles and clearing lymphatic congestion.

There are five common ways to apply tapotement, though the amount of force or pressure used varies depending on the patient’s needs:

  • Beating or Hammering: tapping with a fist that is closed. This method is very helpful for delivering general stress to a sizable area, like the back.
  • Hacking: tapping with the hands’ edges. Applying strong force to a tiny region is where hacking comes in very handy. This is the most typical tapotement technique, and laypeople frequently refer to it as “karate chopping.”
  • Clapping: Clapping lightly with the palms of the hands. Slapping is extremely effective for stimulating the muscles.
  • Tapping: Light, quick taps made with the fingertips. For patients with unique sensitivities, this is the gentlest method in terms of power.
  • Cupping: tapping with a hand that is cupped. Deep force is applied over a broader region using this method.
Leave A Reply