If you are learning how to give a massage, you most likely will start out learning the style of Swedish massage. This is the most common style of massage therapy. Within that style, the most common of massage techniques is effleurage.
Effleurage is conducted most often with the flat of the hand in long stroking motions although the forearm can be used as well. You will not use chopping motions seen in some old movies as part of effleurage. Effleurage can be done lightly which provides light stimulation. Or more pressure can be applied which will reach deeper into the muscles helping to remove toxins by getting the circulation moving better.
These strokes can accomplish different effects by the amount of pressure you apply. The light soothing stroke mentioned above can be the type given for a more sensual massage. As the pressure increases, the different layers below the skin will be affected reaching all the way down to the muscle.
When first beginning to practice giving a massage, you will most likely begin with the person being massaged laying on his or her stomach. In this position, standing at his or her head, you will place your palms at the top of the back on either side of the spine. You will then move down the back to the buttocks in a long soothing stroke which is the massage technique of effleurage. Use some pressure as you make the strokes being sure that your guinea pig tells you if it is uncomfortable or the pressure is too much. You don’t want to lean with all your weight into the strokes but do want to apply some firm pressure.
This is perhaps the most basic of all kinds of massage you can give. In addition as you learn how to give a massage, you learn many different types of strokes. These can include the Rocking Horse, shingling, and bi-lateral tree strokes among many others, especially if you branch out into the other styles of massage such as shiatsu.
Be aware that different parts of the body require different amounts of pressure as you learn how to give a massage. While it’s alright to apply quite a bit of pressure to the large muscles of the back, you do not want to apply that same kind of pressure to the shinbone or to the knees. As you do long strokes up the leg, you will use the space between you thumb and fingers to pass over the shin with the thumb and fingers on either side applying the pressure.
Copyright 2007, Sandra K.