late 19th century: from French, from effleurer ‘skim the surface, stroke lightly’,
  • This massage stroke is commonly used to start the massage routine.  Also good at linking sequences and used when finishing a routine.
  • The whole surface of the palm and fingers makes contact and the hands mould to the contours of the body part being massaged.
  • The amount of pressure can vary from very light to very deep.  It’s best to start light and build up the layers of pressure to suit.
  • The whole area of the body part being massage should be covered.
  • Effleurage can also be carried out by using the forearms,soft fists and light finger pad stroking although it is  classically performed by the palmer surface of the hands.

Speed of sequences

  • Slow pace: this creates a deep sense of relaxation and can be quite hypnotic.
  • Medium pace: this can be a pace that suits most clients with a nice combination of relaxation and invigoration.
  • Fast pace: very invigorating, very warming, not to everyone’s taste so good to check with client.

You can use a mixture of all 3 paces.

Benefits of effleurage

  • It’s a good technique to spread the oil/massage medium being used.
  • Helps to start to warm the massage medium being used.
  • Warms the skin and muscle tissue.
  • Prepares the skin and muscle tissue for deeper massage techniques to follow.
  • Can have a very calming or invigorating effect on the body and mind when the speed used is adjusted to suit effect required.
  • Its great at linking sequences together.
  • Good technique to bring massage routine to an end.