Effleurage is a gliding movement across the skin surface. Therapist will use this as an introduction touch. It is an ideal technique to help therapist get a better understanding of the client’s muscle tone, texture and temperature in the areas they will be working on. Through this touch they could tell if a muscle is in spasm,
if it’s tender, if it’s swollen or if there are any adhesions (from fascia ) that need focus work.
With a lighter pressure, effleurage has an effect on circulation. Effleurage used in a more repetitive sequence encourages movement of the lymphatic system, increases circulation, increases local venous (veins sending low oxygenated blood back to the heart to be replenished) and reduces edema.
Used with a slow and rhythmic flow, effleurage has a sedative [relaxing] effect, it calms the sympathetic nervous system from firing (which reducespain) and decreases muscle hypertonicity [extreme muscular tension].
When used with quicker movement, it is stimulating.
Effleurage should not be used in the area of inflammation, immediate injury in an acute or early subacute stage or in the area of infection.
Is not used on uncovered or covered open or contagious skin lesions.
It should not be used repetitively on the limbs of clients with hypertension, heart disease, varicose veins or edema caused by thrombose in a vein. It should also not be used repetitively or vigorously in specific areas close towhere lymph nodes have been removed for any reasons. This can cause lymphedema.
Rattray, F.S. & Ludwig, L.M. (2000). Clinical Massage Therapy: Understanding, Assessing and Treating over 70 Conditions Toronto, Ont
ario Canada. Talus Incorporated