Massage Movements & Their Effects
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Effleurage: this is a movement mainly consisting of “stroking” with the flat of the hand, fingers close together and as far as is practicable, the tips of the fingers turning upwards to avoid protuberances. Effleurage precedes all other movements because of its relaxing effect, this enables the client to get used to the therapists hands, whilst warming up the tissues to be worked on with deeper movements later in the session as well as increasing blood and lymph flow in and out of the area. Effleurage movements are usually made towards the heart, because in addition to the effect of Effleurage on the skin and underlying structures – it helps to speed up the venous and lymph flow. In areas that may need stimulating, fast Effleurage is permissible. There are two types, superficial and deep, used depending on its purpose and according to the underlying structures. This is a great movement for various reasons,
1) Relaxing for both client and therapist
2) Can be applied to any body type
3) To revert back to when you need a moment to think what way treatment should proceed or just a “break”
4) To sweep away toxins after other massage movements
Petrissage is a focused massage movement concentrating on specific muscle groups, releasing toxins that have built up in the muscles. It is an intensely deep massaging movement which aids in the elimination of ‘knots’ and increases blood flow to congested deep muscular tissue. It is often referred to as compression and includes kneading, rolling, wringing and knuckling. It’s done in a rhythmic manner working tissue against tissue, tissue against bone or lifting tissue and compressing them back down. It’s excellent on a sluggish system and beneficial to tight, knotty muscles. It always elicits some form of response from clients. Petrissage is not recommended for thin, frail clients, easily stimulated or vascular skin or very loose skin.
Tapotement also known as percussion is a stimulating manipulation that operates through the response of the nerves. It is performed in a brisk, rhythmic manner, rhythm being important as contact is continually being broken with the skin. These movements include cupping, hacking, slapping and tapping. The vascular reaction to these movements becomes obvious, but needs to be performed correctly as irritation can occur. Refrain from using some of these techniques on very thin clients, bony areas, varicose veins and broken capillaries.
Vibrations : are applied along the nerve path way. They are produced by a rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles of the therapist arms, resulting in fine, quick, trembling movements. Vibrating hand should move constantly. This is beneficial in neuritis and neuralgia after the inflammatory stage is over. It stimulates circulation and glandular activity and nervous plexuses. It also helps in bowel movement.
Physical Effect :
* Pumping – The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels.
* Increased tissue permeability – Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients
* Stretching – Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods.
* Break down scar tissue – Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
* Improve tissue elasticity – Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
* Opens micro-circulation what massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.
* Aids desquamation (removal of dead skin)
* Metabolic balance in muscle tone
* Relaxes & refreshes muscles
* Connective tissue pliability & mobility
* Increases joint mobility & flexibility
* Next best thing to exercise
* Tones the skin, making it softer & more supple
* Softens, but does not eliminate, scars
* Warms tissue for deeper movements
* Relaxes large muscles
* Relieves tiredness
Physiological effect :
* Pain reduction – Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the body’s endorphins.
* Relaxation – Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching.
* Encourages cell renewal
* Clears nerve pathways
* Increases nutrients to all systems through blood & nymph
* Aids removal of metabolic waste products
from all systems through lymph & blood