The name petrissage is derived from the word petrir which means “to knead” and is the name used for the deeper tissue actions, that follow once the muscles and bodily tissue are warmed and relaxed by Effleurage strokes.
This element of the process involves applying deep pressure to muscles and other tissues using kneading, skin rolling, wringing and pick-up-and-squeeze techniques. All of these techniques are most commonly practiced using the base of the palm and the padded tips at the end of your fingers and your thumbs on fleshy areas such as calves, hips, thighs and across shoulders. Petrissage should not be used on the face.
In many ways, this part of the massage process most closely resembles what you would do if you are kneading dough to make bread. In exactly the same way that you would roll, lift, pinch and squeeze the bread dough, you do the same with your partner’s flesh, always remembering to make sure that you are not overdoing things and causing pain. Light kneading works on the surface layer of muscles whereas firmer kneading works on their deeper muscles by breaking down congested tissue which ultimately improves their digestive system, and helps the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products.
You can work on one muscle or a group of muscles at any one time using firm vertical strokes along the muscle without breaking contact, which strengthens the body and stimulates deep tissue which in turn increases their blood circulation and lymphatic system.
Always remember to pick up all the muscle rather than just the skin, completely between your fingers and thumbs, using your whole hand, so as to avoid pinching the receiver. Work in a continuous action, squeezing and releasing the muscle and alternating your hands.
Petrissage should be a rhythmic kneading of the fleshy muscle by molding your fingers around the tissue, continually manipulating it by picking up, rolling and pressing movements, without breaking contact with the body,
The therapeutic benefits of petrissage are:
· Fresh nutrients are introduced into the muscle as the blood flow is increased
· Muscle tone is enhanced as fatty tissue is broken down
· It helps toxins to be released from deeper muscle tissue
· Increases circulation and lymphatic drainage
After a massage which includes petrissage strokes you will feel invigorated, your muscle tone improved and all your bodily systems will work more efficiently.