Effleurage is a gliding movement across the skin surface. Therapist will use this as an introduction touch. It is an ideal technique to help therapist get a better understanding of the client’s muscle tone, texture and temperature in the areas they will be working on. Through this touch they could tell if a muscle is in spasm, if it’s tender, if it’s swollen or if there are any adhesions (from fascia) that need focus work.
With a lighter pressure, effleurage has an effect on circulation. It is used in a more repetitive sequence to encourage movement of the lymphatic system to increase circulation & local venous [veins sending low oxygenated blood back to the heart to be replenished], and to reduce edema.
When used with a slow and rhythmic flow, effleurage has a sedative [relaxing] effect as it calms the sympathetic nervous system to prevent nerves from firing. This is how pain is reduced. Effleurage also decreases muscle hypertonicity [extreme muscular tension]. When used with quicker movement, it is stimulating.
Effleurage should not be used in the area of inflammation, immediate injury in an acute or early sub acute stage or in the area of infection.
Is not used on uncovered or covered open or contagious skin lesions.
It should not be used repetitively on the limbs of clients with hypertension, heart disease, varicose veins or edema caused by thromboses in a vein. It should also not be used repetitively or vigorously in specific areas close to where lymph nodes have been removed for any reasons. This can cause lymphedema.
Carla Moodie is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) who is dedicated to holistic well-being and lifestyle. She received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher & 500-hour Massage training and accreditation from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and continues additional CE trainings. She has earned additional certifications in Master level Reiki, Integrated Positional Therapy, Integrated Acupressure, and Thai Massage, which she offers to her clients. Previous to earning her certifications and license, Carla did 2 years of intensive yoga volunteer programs at Kripalu that focused on the foundation of authentic yoga practice and that added to practical life skills. In addition to her holistic background, Carla earned a B.S. degree in Psychology, M.A. work in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College, and studies in Dance Movement Therapy.