Massage Technique

Petrissage is a massage technique which incorporates kneading or squeezing of muscular or fascial tissue. The name derives from the French word pétrir, meaning, 'to knead.' Petrissage is almost always accomplished by using the hand to lift and squeeze the belly of the muscle.

Wringing (twisting, for example, of the forearm) is a petrissage technique. Some massage therapists also include compression (rhythmic pressure against an area, kneading the muscle between therapist and bone) as a petrissage technique.

Variations of petrissage include palmar (using the palm/entire hand) and digital (use of only the fingers). Palmar petrissage is more useful on big muscles like the deltoid or pectoralis major, whereas digital petrissage is more useful for small muscles such as those of the forearm, neck or head.

Petrissage is an extremely useful technique, especially in giving neck and backrubs and in hand and foot massage. Anyone desiring to use this technique should remember to keep the thumbs parallel to the rest of the hand to avoid stressing the saddle joint of the thumb.

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