Massage Technique - Petrissage


This stroke referred to as petrissage (derived from 'petrir' meaning 'to knead'). Petrissage can be subdivided into picking­ up, wringing, squeezing and rolling. If you are good at kneading dough then you will quickly become an expert!

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It is an extremely powerful and vigorous movement, which enables you to work deeply on the muscles. You may apply it to every area of the body, except for the face, and it is effective on the fleshy areas such as the hips and thighs. In picking-up, place your hands flat on the part being treated and grasp the muscle (not the skin) firmly with one or both hands, then pull it as far away as possible from the bone.

Once you have picked up the muscle you may squeeze it gently. Squeezing is particularly effective in alleviating muscle spasm. You may now roll the muscle in both directions - your thumbs may roll the muscle towards your fingers or your fingers may roll the muscle towards your thumbs. Wringing is a variation on picking-up. It is picking-up with a twist! The muscle is picked up and then pulled towards you and 'wrung' out. Imagine that you are wringing out a towel or a chamois leather.


  • By alternately squeezing and relaxing, the veins and lymphatic vessels are emptied and filled, bringing fresh nutrients to the muscles.

  • Any toxins that have accumulated are removed from the deeper tissues.

  • Petrissage is invaluable in helping to break down and remove fatty deposits around the thighs, shoulders and buttocks.

  • It also helps to prevent muscle stiffness after exercise and can relieve muscle spasm.

Errors to avoid

  • Make sure that you use the whole of your hand rather than just your fingers and your thumbs;

  • Pick up the muscle and not the skin otherwise there is the danger of pinching the flesh. Do not slide your fingers over the receiver's skin.

Massage Technique - Petrissage

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