A massage therapist moves at a slow, deliberate pace, like an art film about an introverted teen learning to use a kiln. Pace yourself with this Groupon.
Choose Between Two Options
- $22 for one Swedish massage ($50 value)
- $59 for three Swedish massages ($150 value)
Effleurage: The Foundation of Relaxation
Swedish massage relies largely on a technique known as effleurage. Learn how it zaps stress with Groupon's peek at this basic stroke.
Effleurage is the glue that holds a Swedish massage together. Its smooth, gliding strokes may not deliver much pressure—the word itself is taken from a French verb that means "to touch lightly"—but the technique simultaneously soothes the nerves, boosts circulation, and allows the massage therapist to identify problem zones that need extra attention. Because effleurage doubles as an assessment tool, many therapists begin each massage with it, usually by gliding their open palms lightly across the body to feel for tense spots and potholes while acclimating the client to their touch. This form of effleurage is known as "superficial," and it serves as a soothing prelude, epilogue, and transitional movement between periods of deeper, more focused kneading.
A slightly more forceful style of effleurage is known as "deep effleurage." This form still uses gliding strokes, only with more pressure, as the therapist aims to stretch out the muscle tissue and the web of connective tissue that covers it. Therapists will generally direct the first part of their deep-effleurage stroke towards the heart, finishing with a lighter return stroke away from it. Not only does this warm up tissues for deeper muscle work, but it can also speed up the movement of blood and lymph fluid. This boost in circulation can help drain fluid from injured areas, reducing painful pressure while also releasing endorphins that further relax the entire body.
While studying yoga and qi gong techniques in Costa Rica, certified massage therapist Candice Wiesner was the only student in her class. It resulted in an intensive learning experience. "I got 100% attention to detail from the instructors," she says. Today, she applies these thoroughly learned lessons at Attuned Vibrations, where she helps clients relieve tension and promote wellness. She tailors massage sessions by borrowing techniques from five different modalities, which include reflexology, shiatsu, and Swedish massage.