How to Do an Effleurage Massage Stroke


Effleurage is the first massage stroke. It is used to spread oil over the body and to prepare your partner by relaxing the surface of the muscles, it also gives you a chance to ‘feel out’ any areas of tension before you begin. Effleurage strokes are always very gentle, relaxing and reassuring. Effleurage each area with warm, oiled hands before massaging. (Never pour oil directly on the body.) Use large, sweeping strokes to cover the entire area, with greater pressure as you work toward the heart, and lighter on the downward stroke. Keep your hands relaxed and mould them to the shape of your partner’s muscles. Effleurage is soothing and can always be used to fill in if you feel unsure of your strokes.

The legs

Rub some oil onto your hands. Place the hands together over the ankle, then glide up the front of the calf, around the knee and up over the front of the thigh. Separate your hands at the top of the thigh, reach up to the hip with the outer hand and return down the outside of the leg, using a lighter pressure.

Effleurage Massage

The arms

Rub some oil over your hands. Place the fingertips together over the wrist and slide up the centre of the arm, reaching right up over the shoulder. Then, separate your hands and draw them lightly down the outside of the arm returning to the wrist. Mould your hands closely to the shape of your partner’s muscles and joints.

The back

Oil your hands and position them together at the top of the back, fingertips pointing downward. Glide down over the muscles as far as you can reach, separating your hands over the lower back. Fan out to the side of the body, bringing your hands back up the sides of the ribs and around the shoulder blades to your original position. Stroke lightly off the neck or arms.

Lower back and hips

Rub some oil onto your hands. Place them together in the centre of the lower back, fingertips together. Circle upward, then spread your hands and fan outward over the hips. Slide around the hips and continue the circling motion back up over the buttocks. Return to the lower back, bringing your fingertips together once more.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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