Aromatherapy Guide (Home)

Massage Techniques using Essential Oils

Various different techniques of massages with essential oils

Massage using effleurages method

Effleurage is the basic massage stroke that you use first on the body, and which you repeat throughout the massage. It comprises long, slow stroking movements, which gradually progress from light to firm. These initial strokes cover the body with aromatic oil and promote a relaxed, soothing feeling.

The technique of effleurage brings blood to the body's surface. This assists in the assimilation of nutrients, stimulates lymphatic movement and aids elimination of toxins. Effleurage introduces the massage: it is gentle, non-invasive and warms the muscles before the deeper strokes are undertaken. It is the linking stroke between different areas of the body and between deeper strokes.

How to perform effleurage massage

  1. Use your whole hand to do effleurage, held flat, relaxed and with the fingers loosely together
  2. Use both hands alongside each other to make calm, rhythmic strokes up and down the whole part of the body you are working on - for example, up and down the back and on each side of the spine.

Massage using petrissage method

Petrissage is the kneading movement that works the muscles. The technique involves the repeated gentle and rhythmic lifting of the muscle with your hands or fingertips, squeezing or twisting slightly, and then relaxing.

The petrissage technique pumps the muscles, which increases circulation and improves lymphatic activity. Muscle tension is eased and relaxed. Always spend several minutes doing effleurage before doing petrissage, because it is a deeper stroke.

Petrissage is only done on fleshy and muscular areas of the body - never directly over bone. The shoulders, sides of the back, back and front of the thighs, back of the calves and upper arms all benefit from petrissage.

How to perform petrissage massage

  1. Hold your hands closely together on either side of the muscle and lift, stretch, squeeze and relax. Petrissage is like kneading bread dough - a gentle, rhythmic working of the flesh and muscle beneath your hands.

Massage using friction method

Massage using friction strokes are firm, rubbing, circular movements. They are deeper than pretrissage and are only ever done after effleurage (and perhaps some petrissage) has warmed the area

Friction is often done with the fingertips or thumbs, although on tough areas, such as the soles of the feet, the knuckles can be used. It penetrates deeply into tight, tense and knotted muscles. Start gently and increase the pressure gradually, otherwise pain and resistance may occur.

Friction strokes stretch the muscles and body tissues away from the bone, increasing blood and lymphatic circulation, and releasing tension and congestion.

How to perform a friction massage

  1. Make large, curcular strokes, done with the whole hands placed flat on the upper back and moving in opposite directions, to bring a warm glow and a release of tension. When done slowly, this is comforting; when done briskly, it is stimulating.
  2. Using the fingertips or thumbs, make small, firm circular strokes up the sides of the spine to release tightness and tension in the back and help eliminate toxins.

Other Special Massaging Techniques

  1. Drainage massage - This assists the flow of lymph, thereby aiding the elimination of toxins. Simple drainage goes as follows: gently lift a leg or arm, and hold and support the limb. Using firm effleurage strokes, massage in one direction only, away from the ankle or wrist towards the center of the body.
  2. Feathering massage - This is a good way to finish a massage session, leaving the recipient feeling calm and with a sense of completion. To feather massage, use a very light stroke done with the gentlest pressure of he fingertips in a slow rhythmic fashion. For example, use long flowing strokes down the side of the spice.
  3. Auric massage - This is another good way to end a massaging session. It works on the aura and is done without any physical contact. After feathering, do auric massage strokes 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches) away from the body, covering the whole body from head to toes.


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