Massage techniques


Effleurage is a long, slow rhythmical stroke, it is used to start and between all massage movements. The technique can be single or double handed. Pressure applied should be even except if going over a bony process. Effleurage has a mechanical draining effect on the body fluids such as blood and lymph. Effleurage is always performed towards the heart and assists the natural flow of the venous blood circulation.

Long rhythmic, gliding slow strokes – relaxation
Rapid strokes – stimulate the body
Effleurage warms superficial tissue


Petrissage is a compressive technique using finger compressions – pressure is applied inward and out using a circular movement. Local compression is followed by a release influencing deep tissue. Techniques used to deliver petrissage are Kneading, picking up wringing (only on humans) squeezing, shaking, skin rolling. These techniques increase blood and oxygen supply to muscles.


Tapotment this is a double handed technique used to stimulate underlying tissue. Hacking uses the sides of the hands, used side by side over the affected area alternating each hand using light contact but in a rapid manner. Clapping involves using the palms of the hands and forming a cup, again using the hands alternatively – if used correctly a hollow sound will be heard on contact with the horse.


Friction is applied across the muscle fibres, it is a technique performed using a single fingertip, or one fingertip supported by another. Deep pressure is applied to move the underlying tissue across the muscle fibres to “irritate” the area being massaged. This technique is used for deep tissue work, it reduces muscle spasms and pain and relaxes tense