The word effleurage is from the French word effleurer, meaning “to glide” or “touch lightly”.

Effleurage is the most frequently used massage technique and is one of the most versatile techniques.  Long and sweeping strokes are typically used to cover more than just one area of the body.

This involves the gliding or sliding of the palm and fingertips across different parts of the body. Elongated slow strokes, which switch between light and medium pressure, are utilized to loosen knots and tension in muscles. It increases the circulation of blood and lymph and may involve the use of different techniques depending on the part of the body being treated.

Effleurage is used to spread lubricant and warm up the tissues to prepare them for deeper work. In addition, this technique is used at the beginning and the end of each massage technique, in order to facilitate the smooth transition from one technique to the next.

Characteristic of Effleurage Massage

Relaxation *****

Therapeutic *

Intensity:  Minimum – Mild

Lubrication: Yes

Undressing: Yes

Tip: Depends on facilility

How to interpret the rating scale

Two-handed effleurage – Stroking parallel to the spine

Two-handed effleurage – Horizontal stroking across the low back

Effleurage using a forearm

Effleurage on upper chest wall

Effleurage (a light stroking massage) is a great relaxation massage techniques.  Effleurage technique can be performed by many professional massage therapists.