Massage Technique - Friction


Friction movements normally make use of the balls of the thumbs (although the fingertips, knuckles or even the elbows may be used). The muscle is moved against the bone by small circular movements of the balls of the thumbs. Stand directly over the area to be treated and use your body weight to penetrate right down into the deeper tissues - the human body is not as delicate and fragile as you might imagine. This stroke is particularly effective when performed on either side of the spine. If your thumbs are not aching by the time you reach the neck area you are not performing the stroke correctly!



  • This technique is particularly useful for breaking down the knots and nodules that build up in the body due to the stresses and strains of daily life.

  • Any accumulated waste products may be eliminated.

  • Friction helps to break down the fatty deposits and is therefore of benefit in cases of obesity.

  • Friction is very effective around a well-healed scar to break down adhesions and is also used to massage around bony prominences such as the patella (knee cap).

  • It also increases the temperature by increasing cellular activity and bringing an increased flow of blood to an area providing temporary analgesia (pain relief).

Errors to avoid

  • Work deeper and deeper into the tissues gradually, as the pain tolerance levels vary greatly. Do not overtreat an area as this can lead to pain and soreness.

  • Do not hunch your shoulders with the effort (otherwise you will need a massage yourself straight afterwards).

  • Ensure that you are moving the tissues under the skin and not just the skin.

  • Use the pads of the thumbs only, avoiding digging the nails in!

Massage Technique - Friction

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