The deep stroking technique, also known as effleurage, is similar to light stroking but is performed in a firmer and smoother manner across the massaging area.

In a massaging sequence, the deep stroke follows rather naturally from light stroking. The strokes should be long and flowing in the direction of the heart. A deep stroke massage is performed by using the palms of both hands to have them glide lightly over your skin. Maximizing the skin area which your palms can cover and to follow the natural curvature of your body are also important.

If you want do perform this technique on smaller areas, try using one hand instead, with either the soft pads of the thumbs or your fingers.

How to do it

  1. Let your hands move slowly and smoothly over the skin, always conform your palms and fingers to the curves of your body. This is done by keeping your hands and wrists flexible and loose.
  2. Perform the massage in a relaxed, long and continuous sequence.
  3. When you deep stroke the arms or legs, try to follow the direction of your veins that flow back to the heart or the nearest set of lymph nodes.
  4. When you reach the vicinity of the heart, add extra pressure on the upward stroke towards it and lighter stroke when moving from it.

Where to use

Like feathering and light stroking, deep stroke massage is safe to apply on all parts of the body. It is best used for creating a sequence where pressure is gradually added. Deep stroking can be effectively used before and/or after more demanding massage techniques to improve the flow of excess bodily fluids to the heart or lymph nodes.

Stomach

Take one hand and open up your palms wide. Place your hand on your stomach and start stroking in a circular clockwise manner. This can calm the stomach by easing inflammation in and around the stomach and relieve digestive ailments.

Legs

Perform upward strokes by using both hands, either the pads of your fingers or the palms of your hands, starting from your ankles up to your thighs. This is great for boosting circulation and ease the aches and pains of everyday living. It’s also highly recommended for those with varicose veins.

Arms

Raise one of your arms above your hands and keep it straight up. Take the palms of your other hand and start a down-ward stroke towards the center of your body. This is good for getting the body going before any activity that you might do with your hands, like say, playing guitar, drawing or painting, baking or what have you. Make sure to alternate the arms and hands to do both.

Benefits of deep stroking

Like all self-massage techniques, deep stroking activates the nerve endings on the surface of your skin, which subsequently allows for mental and bodily relaxations. Now with added pressure and firmness, deep strokes are also great for boosting the circulation of internal bodily liquids. Last but not least it’s also a good preparatory technique for more intense and demanding massaging techniques.

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