Massage is the practice of applying pressure or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, including muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. It is a healing art. It heals injury, relieve psychological stress, manage pain, improve circulation and relieve tension. Massage can be stimulating or soothing depending on the speed and depth of the strokes. It may be termed therapeutic massage, where it is used for its physical and psychological benefits. Most types of massage can be performed with pressure ranging from superficial to deep.
Some massage strokes includes gliding, kneading, feathering, effleurage, deep tissue, friction and percussion which includes hacking, cupping and pummeling.
Gliding is doing it with light action. Letting your hands float rhythmically over the skin in a soothing manner.
Kneading is also known as petrissage. It involve squeezing, rolling and kneading flesh like a dough.
Feathering is doing in a light fast action with your fingertips of alternate hands.
Effleurage is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. Using both hands in smooth and gliding strokes relaxes soft tissue.
Deep Tissue focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia.
Friction encompasses deep, circular movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.
Hacking stimulates the circulation and skin, and relaxes muscles. It uses the sides of both hands alternately to deliver light, bouncy, chop-chop movements on areas such as the buttocks. It is essential to keep hands relaxed.
Cupping is performed by arching the hands at the knuckles, keeping the fingers straight, and using the hollow part of the fists alternately in rapid up-and-down movements. It is excellent for treating the build-up of cellulite in the thighs.
Pummeling is done by keeping wrists relaxed, and making hands into loose and hollow fists. Bounce the sides of the fists rapidly and lightly, alternately. It disperses tension and congestion, increases blood flow, and breaks up fatty deposits.