List of Terms used in Massage Treatment
Massage therapy terms and phrases
This list is not exhaustive, and we would welcome additions. Please email and quote the page url or let us have an article and we will add terms that you have come across. We always attribute and link to bona fide contributors.
Adhesion: Growing together of two types of tissue that are normally unconnected (e.g. connective tissue and muscle)
Beating: Simulating massage technique using the fist to gently beat the skin surface.
Compression: Gentle pressing and releasing of the skin for better blood flow.
Craniosacral: Gentle head and spine massage to relieve motor or sensory conditions
Effleurage: Swedish technique where a gentle smooth stroking movement is effected using both hands
Fascia: An anotomical description for a superficial or deep connective tissue that binds the body architecture and organs.
Friction: Circulation and blood flow technique for deep massage. Generates heat through deep massage movements thatcause friction between the layers of skin and muscle.
Holistic Massage: Whole body treatment that takes into account all aspects of the patient – not just massage of a single area.
Intergrated Massage Therapy: Also known as IMT brings all disciplines together in administering treatment
Myo-fascial Release: Also known as MTR A technique of touch and pulling with strokes aimed at the treatment of the fascia.
Petrissage: Manipulation using kneeding, rolling and squeezing movements. May be used after effleurage.
Rocking: Often used in sport massage where limbs are stretched and rocked laterally to move the joints.
Soft Tissue Release: Also known as STR is a focus on specific tissues pressing to hold an area whilst stretching localised tissues.
Tapotement: A very common technique of gentle beating using the edge of the hand as a pummel.