Massage - Effleurage (stroking)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The word Massage is a derivation from the Greek massein, or the French masser, which both mean : to knead. A male operator is called a masser, a female operator, a masseuse. Massage is a scientific treatment, by certain passive systematic manipulations, upon the nude skin of the human body. Dr. Mezger, of Amsterdam (now practising in Wiesbaden, Germany), and his two pupils, the Swedish physicians Berghman and Helleday, were among the first to
apply the massage treatment scientifically.

Their method is now used throughout Europe. According to Mezger, massage is a scientific treatment - i. e., based upon the anatomy and the physiology of the human body ; his manipulations are certain - that is, given or fixed, so that an uninstructed person can not pick up the treatment - it is an art that can not be self-acquired ; all manipulations are passive - i. e., applied to the patient without his assistance or resistance; the manipulations are also systematic - i. e., they are arranged so as to act systematically upon the different tissues of the human body.

Dr. Mezger divides the massage treatment into four principal manipulations:


This manipulation consists of centripetal (toward the body or heart) strokings. It is performed in four different ways :

(a) Stroking with the palm of one hand.
(b) Stroking with the palms of both hands.
(c) Stroking with the thumb.
(d) Stroking with the tips of the fingers.

STROKING WITH THE ONE HAND (see Fig. 1) is used upon the extremities, the back of the head, and in single massage of the neck (Gerst's method).

FIG. 1. Stroking with One Hand.
STROKING WITH BOTH HANDS is used upon the lower extremities of adults, upon the chest (see Fig. 2) and back, also in double massage of the neck.

FIG. 2. Stroking with Both Hands.

STROKING WITH THE THUMB (see Fig. 3) is used between two muscles, or between a muscle and a tendon ; also frequently to reach the interossei in the hands and the feet.

FIG. 3. Stroking with the Thumb.

STROKING WITH THE TIPS OF THE FINGERS (see Fig. 4), or the last two phalanges, is principally used around the joints (in cases of sprains, etc.), the fingers conforming themselves to the shape of the part to be worked upon.

FIG. 4. Stroking with the Tips of the Fingers.
The strength of the manipulation, stroking, varies from the slightest touch to the strongest pressure ; even with one hand on top of the other, if necessary. The aim of all STROKINGS is to increase the circulation in the venous blood-vessels and the lymphatics, thereby causing absorption.


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