8 Common Massage Therapy Techniques

Largely unknown to many, professional and quality massage therapists actually use different massage therapy techniques to ensure that you get only the best massage experience.

Learn about what these common massage therapy strokes are in this blog post.


The kneading technique in physiotherapy is a technique wherein your therapist applies pressure to deep muscle tissues.

Here, force may be applied across your muscles in order to break down and realign the fibers that make up your muscle tissue. Thus, this helps stimulate your muscles and increase muscle flexibility.

One important thing to note about this technique is that the amount of pressure that your therapist applies varies according to the purpose of the massage as well as the bulk of the tissues that are being treated.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy techniques are used to describe a variety of techniques that are designed to relax your muscles.

These techniques may include kneading, friction, long strokes, percussion, tapping, effleurage, vibration, and shaking motions. Here is the usual sequence of Swedish massage:

  • Effleurage, which involves gliding strokes with the thumbs, palms, and fingertips
  • Petrissage, which consists of kneading movements using the hands, thumbs, and fingertips
  • Friction, which is composed of circular pressures with the palms, thumbs, and fingers
  • Vibration, which involves oscillatory movements that vibrate or shake the body
  • Percussion, which consists of brisk hacking or tapping
  • Passive and active movements, including bending and stretching
  • Hacking, which includes karate-style chops or light slaps

Some of the Swedish massage benefits include the reduction of physical and emotional stress, as well as relaxation.the

Compression Massage

For those who are wondering what is a compression massage, these are massage therapy techniques used on larger areas of the muscle to create a softening effect on the tissues.

A lot of massage styles use compressions, such as Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. Massage therapists generally use them to treat a wide range of conditions.

Compression massage benefits include relaxation, increased healing, and improved circulation. 

Myofascial Releases

Myofascial release massage techniques are manual techniques used to stretch the fascia, which is a seamless web of tissue that connects the organs, muscles, and skeletal structure of the body.

Because trauma, injuries, poor posture, and stress can restrict the fascia, myofascial release is helpful for releasing fascia restriction and restoring its tissue.

Other myofascial release benefits include improved movement and flexibility, reduced pain, improved muscle function, reduced exercise-related soreness, and enhanced circulation.

Longitudinal Gliding

Longitudinal gliding massage is a basic massage technique that is effective in administering the direction of the blood flow.

It reduces inflammation and swelling by aiding in the dispersion of fluids from the site of the injury. This makes it also useful for relaxing tight muscles.

Cross-Fibre Massage

Cross friction massage involves techniques that are applied to reduce adhesions and improve flexibility, even during the process of recovery.

Also known as transverse friction massage, cross-fiber massage promotes optimal collagen healing and decreases scar tissue.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point massage therapy is a form of remedial therapy that involves the direct application of pressure on tender muscle tissues in order to relieve dysfunction and pain in other body parts.

This helps reduce muscle tension and relieve pain.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF Stretches)

PNF consists of advanced massage therapy techniques that combine isometric contractions (gentle resistance) with passive stretching in order to help reset the holding patterns of your muscle as well as extend its overall length.

Here, you can have a partner who can help stretch the relaxed muscle for up to 30 seconds, or you can have it stretched for the same duration by your own body weight against the wall, the floor, or some other resistance.

However, it is important to remember that the muscle must be contracted as much as possible during the entire 30 seconds. Then, when the muscle gets relaxed again, immediately have it stretched farther.

Repeat the alternating stretching and contracting moves as often as desired in order to stretch your muscles a bit further every time.

Some of PNF stretching benefits include an increased range of motion, relaxed muscles, and improved performance. It also reduces fatigue and injuries resulting from overuse.