What can I expect during my massage?

There are four main techniques which are most commonly used within sports massage as well as being across other styles of massage.

  1. Effleurage: The term “effleurage” derives from the French word “effleurer” which means “to skim”. This is a gentle rhythmic stroking movement used to increase circulation, stimulate the nerves and warm up the muscles at the start of the massage treatment. This technique can vary in pressure and is also used at during and at the end of the treatment in order to encourage removal of waste products from the body through the circulatory and lymphatic systems. By using effleurage at the start of the treatment, the therapist is allowed a chance to assess the condition of the tissue and determine key areas of stress.

  2. Petrissage: This term originates from the French word “pétrir” meaning “to knead”. The basic principle of this technique is to gradually increase the intensity of the massage, stretching the muscles and easing tension. Also referred to as kneading, petrissage works deeper into the soft tissues to increase mobility and aid in the removal of waste products by increasing both venous and lymphatic return.

  3. Frictions: Frictions are the part of sports massage which are most likely to be slightly painful. This is because they work to on isolated areas separate muscle fires and break down scar tissue. The use of frictions is a key component in trigger point therapy. They are small forceful movements applied using firm pressure adjacent to the direction of the tissue fibres. This technique works to disrupt the tissue fibres in order to illicit better structural alignment, stimulating the healing process.

  4. Tapotement: This encompasses the techniques of hacking and cupping which are used to stimulate blood flow in the skin and superficial muscles. These techniques produce vibrations which penetrate the tissues and are often used in pre-competition sports massages.