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Candy Weiser, 75922
Tapotement: Rapid Relaxation
In contrast with Swedish massage’s other techniques, tapotement is dramatic and invigorating. Read on for Groupon’s take on this quick-fire maneuver.
In some ways, a Swedish massage is like a symphony: it transitions through a series of movements, each with its own set of rhythms, to transport audiences via sensory pleasure to another plane of existence. Tapotement is the rousing grand finale, bringing clients back to their senses with a series of rapid taps. Therapists lavish fleshy, muscular areas with 4–10 strikes per second, manipulating their hands to pummel, cup, and pluck skin.
Although it may sound severe, tapotement, when performed properly, isn’t jarring but invigorating. In fact, carefully placed strikes with cupped hands can even help clients breathe easier by loosening excessive mucous in the respiratory tract. The technique can also bring disused muscles back to life: when combined with petrissage, another Swedish massage maneuver, tapotement provokes muscle responses that help restore tone to muscles even if they’ve begun to atrophy.
Hacking is perhaps the most recognizable form of tapotement, in which therapists use the sides of their wrists to strike clients’ bodies in quick succession like karate masters chopping vegetables. Athletes often opt for the technique before a sporting event, since it helps to increase local blood circulation and warm up muscles. However, they should be cautious not to spend too much time on the chopping block before a big game: after about a minute of strikes, the technique can actually begin to make muscles too relaxed for the quick responses needed to win.