Differences between effleurage and stroking

® Effleurage must always follow the direction of venous return back to the heart and the direction of lymphatic drainage towards the nearest group of lymphatic nodes. Stroking may be performed in any direction.

® The pressure during effleurage may be light, moderate or heavy, but always increases at the end of the stroke towards the lymphatic nodes. The pressure of stroking is selected at the commencement and is maintained throughout. It also may be light, moderate or heavy pressure depending on the type of massage given.

® When performing effleurage, hand contact is maintained during the return of the stroke, although little pressure is applied. When performing stroking, the hands may maintain contact or may lift off the part on return.


As previously explained, effleurage is a manipulation where one or both hands moves over the surface of the body, applying varying degrees of pressure according to the type of massage being given. Effleurage will produce superficial effects when the pressure is light to moderate, but will produce deeper effects if the pressure is heavy.

Ensure that the client is warm and comfortable.

Take up a walk standing position with the outside foot forward: make sure you can reach all parts.

Remember to bend the front knee as the movement progresses and use body weight to apply pressure (pressure must not be applied through the arms and shoulders alone). Keep your back straight.

Ensure that your hands are warm, relaxed and supple - they must mould and adapt to the body contours.

The hands must move in the direction of venous return back to the heart, beginning distally and working proximally.

The strokes must be directed towards, and end at, a group of lymphatic nodes wherever possible.

The pressure should increase slightly at the end of the stroke.

Effleurage Massage

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1

^^ The hands maintain contact on the return of stroke but apply little pressure.

^^ The movement must be smooth and rhythmical, with continuous flow and even pressure.

^^ The whole of the palmar surface of the hand, fingers and thumb should maintain contact with the body in a relaxed manner. (Do not extend, abduct or link the thumbs, and do not spread the fingers out, as these habits will give uneven pressure.)

^^ The hands usually work together with even pressure and rhythm. However, the hands may be used alternately when care must be taken to maintain an even pressure under each hand and to synchronise the flow and rhythm.

^^ On small areas, one hand may work while the other supports the tissues. On very small areas such as the face, fingers or toes, the thumbs only may be used in a sweeping action.

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  • JO
    What is the differences between effleurage and stroking?
    3 years ago
  • doreen
    What are the areas that are manipulated in giving effleurage?
    2 years ago
  • Tobias
    How is stroking performed in massage?
    2 years ago
  • julian
    What types of effleurage is using reinforcing hand manipulation with one hand applied perpendicular?
    2 years ago
  • Milly
    What is an efflurage massage?
    20 days ago

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