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Effleurage Massage Technique

The Power of Effleurage and Why it’s Used as a Massage Technique

What is Effleurage?

Effleurage is a massage technique that utilises gentle, flowing strokes to relax muscles and improve circulation throughout a massage.

Massage therapists use this method to alleviate stress, tension, muscular pain, and tightness, to help individuals feel relaxed and limber.

When used in combination with other massage techniques, such as petrissage and friction, effleurage can be very effective.

Therapists often use this as a starting point in massage sessions to relax muscles and prepare clients for deeper massage techniques.


The History of Effleurage?

Dutch Physician Johann Mezger is credited with creating the massage techniques Effleurage, Petrissage, Tapotement, Vibration, and Friction.

He derived the term effleurage from the French word, which means “to touch lightly”.

Johan was a student of Swedish gymnastics and was allowed to practice his massage techniques which proved to be very effective.

Swedish massage, sports massage, deep tissue massage, are among many massage styles that adopt this massage technique!

How is Effleurage Performed?

Massage therapists perform effleurage by using light gliding strokes on a particular muscle group or body part.

Massage therapists usually begin with a gentle glide motion and gradually increase the pressure using long flowing massage strokes.

They typically use strokes that move towards the direction of the heart during massage.

This helps to promote circulation and get blood to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated.

A lady receiving massage with the effleurage massage technique

What are the Benefits of Effleurage?

There are a vast range of benefits to effleurage.

Some of these include:

Stress Relief

It can have a great part to play in reducing stress.

Encouraging the body to relax through gentle massage strokes helps to reduce the stresses of the mind and body.

Often those working stressful jobs use massage therapists who use these methods, to help them unwind from the stresses of their job.

stress free

Pain Relief

The gentle strokes of effleurage can help to relieve muscular tension and reduce pain within muscles.

Many individuals with muscular-related pain praise this method.

Individuals with chronic pain often use massage that uses effleurage as a regular treatment to help with their pain management.

Improve Circulation

Effleurage massage strokes help to increase blood flow around the body which can help with overall circulation.

Good circulation allows the body to heal faster and allow our vital organs to function efficiently.

Blood flow circulation


Effleurage can be an extremely relaxing massage stroke and is often used heavily in relaxation massage styles.

Swedish massage often uses it to help an individual relax, take their mind off the day and relax the body’s autonomous nervous system.

Why Is Effleurage Used as A Massage Technique?

There are many reasons why this is used as a massage technique

Effleurage is Versatile

A whole range of massage styles use this technique as it’s easy to implement and beneficial during most massages.

Additionally, it can be used on almost any part of the body.

Sports Massage

Warms Up Muscles

Effleurage is a great way to warm up muscles before starting to use more vigorous massage techniques.

Warming up the muscles before deeper and more aggressive techniques helps to prepare the muscles for the treatment they’re about to get.

It’s a Gentle Technique

Clients of all ages and abilities can benefit from this massage technique.

It can be particularly beneficial for individuals who don’t like deep pressure or those who have conditions that don’t allow more aggressive massage styles.

Increases Circulation

Effleurage can also help to increase blood flow through the body, bringing fresh blood and nutrients to the tissues and cells around the body.

This can help with recovery and aid in removing waste products within the body.

Relieves Pain

Relieving pain and tension is another benefit of this massage technique.

Releasing tension and tightness in muscles through the gentle flowing motion aids in reducing muscular tension, tightness, and pain.

standing pain

Promotes Relaxation

Effleurage is an extremely relaxing massage technique and can leave individuals feeling loose, light, and relaxed.

Those who’ve experienced the benefits of this technique as part of a massage know just how relaxing it can be.

What Types of Massage Use Effleurage?

Some of the most common massage types that use effleurage include:

Swedish Massage

In Swedish Massage, effleurage is used to implement gentle and relaxing massage strokes.

Swedish massage can leave individuals feeling extremely relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

Sports Massage

Athletes and sports enthusiasts often use sports massage to aid in their recovery and performance when playing sports.

During sports massage, therapists use effleurage as a way to warm up the muscles before applying more aggressive techniques.


Prenatal Massage

Pregnant women use prenatal massage to aid with their pregnancy.

Prenatal massage isn’t usually performed in the first trimester and towards the later stages of the pregnancy, clients will be side lying to receive this massage.

Effleurage is a great technique for prenatal massage due to the gentle and relaxing pressure which can be beneficial for both the unborn baby and the mother.

Deep Tissue Massage

In deep tissue massage, therapists begin by using effleurage to warm up the muscles before applying deep pressure strokes.

This helps to prepare clients’ muscles for the deeper massage work they’re about to receive.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Therapists use this style of massage to stimulate the lymphatic system, and to reduce swelling in the arms and legs caused by lymphedema.

During this massage therapists use effleurage, as it’s a gentle and light massage that can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by the lymphedema.

lymphatic massage

At Loving Life, we deliver a range of massage types to help individuals, as well as companies who want to support their employees health and wellbeing.

Visit the home page for more information.


Tyler Lowe – Health & Wellbeing Speaker

BSc Sport & Exercise Rehabilitation

Tyler Lowe