Massage Technique: Effleurage

27 July 2023

What is the massage technique effleurage?

Effleurage is a general massage technique typically used at the start of treatments to warm the tissues and relax the client. Effleurage can be applied superficially or with deeper pressure and can either run longitudinal to the muscle fibres or transversely.

How do you perform effleurage?

The massage strokes are undertaken using the palms of the hands in order to cover a large area. It can be done one hand at a time followed by the other hand or using both hands at the same time. Your hands should always be in contact with the body you are treating which feels a lot nicer for the client rather than stop start massage strokes. The strokes should run the full length of the muscle being worked on.


Pressure is firmer on the legs when applied upwards towards the heart with little to no pressure on the backwards stroke so as to have a pumping effect on the circulatory system. When massaging the back this is less important and stokes can be applied in any direction.

To apply pressure, using your whole body weight is the most effective way to maintain good contact and help keep good posture. To apply more pressure, one hand over the other can be used with the top hand applying the most pressure and moving along the muscle using your body weight.

Why use effleurage?

As well as being a comforting stroke for the client, therapists will be able to feel how the tissue feels and identify any areas that should be concentrated on more during the treatment ahead.

Effleurage is often returned to throughout the treatment as it can be relaxing and comforting for the client.

Author: Cross Massage Therapy