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Slow, rhythmic, gliding strokes, usually the direction of blood flow is towards heart, for example, from wrist to shoulder. Usually the massage therapist uses the whole hand (palm and fingers), gradually applying an increasing amount of pressure. Effleurage also involves strokes applied with the fingertips, heel of the hand, or knuckles.
Kneading, pressing, and rolling muscle groups. The massage therapist will take hold of the tissue and alternately tighten and loosen his grasp.
Steady pressure or tight circular movements across muscle fibers without moving across the skin, often used in areas around joints.
Clapping hand movements on broad areas of the body, particularly the back. Techniques include beating with the side of loosely clenched fists, cupping or striking with the fingertips and heel of the hand, hacking, rapid chopping motions with the edge of the hand, and clapping, using the flattened hand to clap rapidly over fleshy areas.
Rapid movements by the therapist to transmit an oscillatory action to the patient, mechanical vibrators are also used for this purpose.
Rhythmic compression into muscles used to create a deep hypremia and softening effect in the tissues. It is generally used as a warm–up for deeper, more specific massage work.
Friction techniques applied in a general manner to create a stretching and broadening effect in large muscle groups, or on site–specific muscle and connective tissue, deep transverse friction applied to reduce adhesions and to help create strong, flexible repair during the healing process.
Trigger Point/Tender Point Massage
Combined positioning and specific finger or thumb pressure into trigger/tender points in muscle and connective tissue, to reduce the hypersensitivity, muscle spasms and referred pain patterns that characterize the point. Left untreated, such trigger/tender points often lead to restricted and painful movement of entire body regions.
Specialized techniques for specific purposes
Manual Lymph Drainage
This rhythmic form of massage stimulates the movement of lymph fluid through the lymph vessels. It is used to treat lymphedema, a side effect of any surgery in which the lymph nodes are removed or of radiation administered in the area of the lymph nodes.
Deep Tissue Massage
Slow strokes and deep finger pressure on areas of the body suffering from chronic muscle tension or areas that simply ache or feel contracted. Deep tissue massage is especially effective with tense areas such as stiff necks or sore shoulders.
This technique applies concentrated finger pressure to painful areas in muscles called trigger points.
Focuses on the use of massage to assist training, prevent injury, and aid healing in case of soreness or injury. It is used both before and after exercise, as well as in the treatment of sports injuries such as sprains, strains, and tendonitis.