Effleurage is a French word that derives from the word, effleurer, which means to skim and it is the most common Swedish massage stroke.Effleurage is a smooth, gliding stroke made with the flat of the hands and ideally with oil and with a hand over hand gliding movement.This can be especially relaxing if your therapist has warmed the oil before applying to your body.These strokes at the beginning of the massage have a twofold use.Firstly it allows the therapist to evenly spread the massage oil over and body and secondly it allows them to have a good feel around and assess your body and muscle condition.
It is used at the beginning of a Swedish massage and its aim is to first introduce the client to the feeling of touch and second to put the client at ease.Then it will gently warm the superficial tissues which will, in turn, relax the muscles.
The very smooth gliding movements will increase lymph and blood flow which will aid in the removal of waste products from the body.Also, effleurage will be used to relax the client at the end of the massage.Also, it can be used in between deeper tissue techniques to keep your massage flowing and to keep the therapist's hands in contact with your body throughout the whole session.
Effleurage can be done on the larger body surfaces as in the back and chest and arms and legs and also on the smaller body surfaces such as the face and hands.Most of the pressure should be applied by the palm of the hand and the strokes should be very long and smooth with no sudden or jerky movements.
The forearm can also be used and can be a particularly effective due to the larger surface area they can cover.Or going the other way just the fingertips can be used with a feather-light touch.This can be especially nice if you are massaging your partner.The pressure should be greater as your therapist massages towards your heart and less on the return movement back.These movements will be repeated a number of times over the same area of the body which should bring on the feeling of wonderful relaxation and reduce muscle tension and increase blood flow.
Superficial and deep and the two kinds of effleurage, the first uses a light touch and is very soothing and relaxing and will occur at the beginning and end of the massage.Deep effleurage uses more pressure and can stretch the muscles tissues this is where the forearms can be very effective.
Effleurage strokes are a great introduction to the world of massage and should never be too firm, even the deeper strokes.
Just lay back and let your therapist take you on a wonderful relaxing journey you know you deserve it.