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Effleurage is a massage technique that encourages relaxation, blood circulation and lymph flow. Effleurage increases circulation by increasing the temperature of muscles and preparing them for more vigorous massage techniques. Effleurage also stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system encourages waste products to leave the body which helps to maintain health. Massage therapists working at Physio.co.uk use effleurage as a useful massage technique to treat many conditions.

What is effleurage?

Effleurage is applied with light pressure, commonly used to begin a massage treatment. Effleurage is performed onto many body parts using fingers and flat hands. Effleurage increases blood circulation towards the heart, using long strokes to help increase temperature of the soft tissues. Effleurage is effective to stimulate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system that transports lymph fluid through the body. Effleurage is applied in an upwards direction towards lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are distributed throughout the body and connected to the lymphatic vessels. Effleurage helps stimulate the lymphatic system and improves its functioning. Effleurage is also a common technique used within therapeutic massages. Effleurage can be performed at a slow pace which is used to decrease stress and reduce tension.

Customer receiving lower back massage while in a relaxed position in Manchester Physio Clinic

When is effleurage used?

Effleurage helps on many circumstances. These circumstances include:

Effleurage performed slowly can stimulate relaxation. Effleurage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that releases positive hormones and increases temperature. The parasympathetic system is responsible for promoting relaxation and calmness after emotions such as stress. Effleurage relaxes the body and lowers the heart rate.

Effleurage helps reduce stress. Stress can be related to emotional or physical events in life such as work life, health or sporting performances. Massage can treat all types of stress. Effleurage promotes the body to relax so that stress is alleviated. Effleurage can increase mood by stimulating positive hormones and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Effleurage is used as a massage technique post injury. Effleurage is performed in an upwards direction to encourage the lymphatic flow. Stimulating the lymphatic flow helps with the immune system and the drainage of waste products. Lymphatic drainage is used after an injury has occurred to drain away any swelling and assist the immune system to fight against any infections.

Effleurage can also be used post-surgery to help maintain the function of the lymphatic system. During surgery lymph nodes can be damaged or removed. Damaged or removed nodes can affect the function of the lymphatic system. If the lymphatic system does not function then excess fluid can build up causing lymphedema. Increased lymphedema can cause health problems. It is important to maintain the flow of lymph throughout the body so that fluid can be drained. When nodes are affected the body will rely on effleurage massage treatments to keep the lymph fluid moving.

The physiological effects of effleurage

Massage can produce many important physiological effects on the body. The physiological effects of effleurage include:

Effleurage increases venous return. Venous return is the amount of blood that is returned back to the heart. Effleurage increases the circulation of blood by the direction of strokes. The strokes of effleurage are performed in an upwards direction so that the flow of blood can be moved towards the heart.

Effleurage helps increase the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system flushes toxins away to keep the body healthy. Effleurage that is aimed to stimulate the lymphatic system helps to keep the immune system working. By applying upward strokes towards the heart, it improves the lymphatic flow and drainage around the body. Lymphatic drainage can also speed up healing from injury and reduce swelling.

Effleurage can also be used as a therapeutic technique. Effleurage effectively relaxes the body. Effleurage relaxes the body by increasing blood circulation and releasing positive hormones. Positive hormones are stimulated from the brain and produce a feeling of happiness and well-being. The release of serotonin can help reduce depression, anxiety and stress.

Customer receiving calf massage while in a relaxed position in Manchester Physio Clinic

The benefits of effleurage

Effleurage has a number of benefits. The benefits of effleurage include:

Effleurage is a beneficial technique to help increase healing in the body. Effleurage increases healing by improving blood circulation and removing waste products. The effleurage technique increases circulation around the body by applying upwards strokes towards the heart. Improved blood circulation allows more cellular exchange to happen in the tissues. Increased blood exchanges provide more oxygen nutrients into cells. Oxygen and nutrients help repair damaged cells and tissues and enhance healing.

Effleurage is also used to help increase the recovery of soft tissues. Effleurage helps increase circulation to an area, encouraging oxygen and nutrients to an area. Delivering oxygen and nutrients assists with the repair of any damaged tissues. Effleurage can also help speed up recovery by draining out toxins built up from strenuous exercise. By removing toxins from the muscles improves condition and prevents post exercise soreness.

Effleurage helps produce relaxation. Effleurage helps the body relax by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, releasing positive hormones and increasing temperature of the soft tissues. The parasympathetic system is responsible for controlling the body back to a relaxed and calm state after emotions such as stress. Effleurage also helps relaxation by stimulating the release of positive hormones from the brain. Positive hormones are known as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine that contribute to improving mood and decreasing stress.

Common body parts treated by effleurage

There are many common body parts that can be treated with effleurage. Common body parts treated by effleurage are:

Effleurage can also be performed on other areas of the body and be effective to decrease stress and increase healing.


Effleurage is a massage technique in which long, light strokes are used over areas of the body. The most common areas of the body for effleurage are the arm, back, thigh and calf. Effleurage helps aid relaxation, reduce stress, post injury and post-surgery. Effleurage produces many physiological effects. The physiological effects are increased venous return, increased lymphatic drainage and increased positive hormones. The benefits of effleurage are increased healing, improved recovery and relaxation. Massage therapists working at Physio.co.uk can use effleurage to treat many conditions.

How can I arrange an effleurage massage treatment?

The easiest way to arrange an effleurage massage treatment at Physio.co.uk is to email us at, office@physio.co.uk or call us on 0800 033 7800.

Alternatively if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

We offer a 7 day service and provide home and clinic appointments.

Call us on: 0330 088 7800
Phone: 0330 088 7800
Call us on: 0330 088 7800
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Email us on: office@physio.co.uk
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