Massage Therapy: Introduction

Just like how a car needs a mechanic who uses different tools to keep it running smoothly, massage therapists also use different techniques to keep the body healthy and balanced physically and mentally.

Massage is one of the oldest forms of medical therapy practiced on human body. There are different types of massage that are traditionally followed in ancient Greek and Rome, China and ancient India.

Ancient Eastern Chinese followed massage therapy techniques to heal a variety of ailments and disorders from labor pain to paralysis. Most practiced form of massage in Western culture is Swedish massage which was first introduced in the 19th century. A variety of massage therapy techniques have also been followed and they include aromatherapy, Reiki, reflexology, Rolfing, Amma therapy and osteopathy.

The pressure points are targeted while massaging and this increases the blood flow to the tissues. It will prevent skin breakdown when done frequently. Massaging the pressured areas encourages more blood flow to the tissues. If massage is done frequently, it will prevent skin breakdown, and this leads to the prevention of bedsores. Massage therapies also promote relaxation. But they do not cure pain and they help to reduce the pain.

Massage Therapy Techniques

Massage therapies techniques usually include the following massage stroke methods.

• Effleurage-light or deep stroking
• Petrisage-kneading
• Tapotement-hacking or slapping
• Friction


Effleurage is the beginning and ending of every massage. There are two types such as light stroking, which is used to relax the patient and deep stroking which empties the blood and lymphatic vessels.

Place your hands lightly on the pressure points and with least pressure run your hands all over the pressure points. Do not take the hands off until finished. All strokes should be done in a continuous motion.


Petrisage can be done by kneading the muscles with the palm or heels of your hands or with fingertips. Using this stroke andyou can work on the right areas to reduce muscle spasm.


Tapotement is done by hacking or cupping your hands. It can be done to anyone with doctor’s advice. This is dangerous for those who have kidney disease.


This method is done by one or two fingertips. Apply pressure in a circular manner over kneecaps, pelvic bones, shoulder and vertebrae. In this method you have to concentrate in one area for longer time and then move to another point.

Foot Massage

Another type of massaging is foot massaging which gives an excellent relief and relaxation to the feet.