The term petrissage
actually refers to a category (or "class") of massage movements,
Kneading; Wringing; Lifting and Rolling.
The word "petrissage" is derived from the French verb "petrir" which means "to
During petrissage movements soft tissues are compressed
against each other or against the underlying bone/s. As this involves
compression of the skin and underlying tissues, it must only be applied
Petrissage must be applied slowly and rhythmically
can be performed using either one or both hands.
For example, one-handed petrissage is common when working on the arms
if using the other hand/arm to support the client's arm while holding
it slightly away from the body. However, two-handed petrissage is commonly
applied when working on the leg muscles. In this case, two ands can be
used to work against each other - producing a squeezing action.
The benefits of petrissage movements can include stimulating
the skin (including vascular and lymphatic responses, cellular functions,
and regeneration and texture of the skin), improving muscle tone, improving
the elimination of waste products from tissues, and the breakdown of
Note that therapists generally select techniques appropriate to achieve
the purpose of any particular treatment - as discussed during a pre-treatment
consultation. Most massage treatments include a range of techniques -
including some petrissage movements.
Petrissage movements should not be applied to any inflamed areas (incl.
abdominal inflammations such as appendicitis), in cases of hernia, pregnancy,
or intensively over recent muscle strains or scars.
If in doubt about the safety of a movement don't perform it - seek advice
from a tutor or medical professional.