In the context of massage, tapotement is an equivalent
Of these terms, "percussion" may be more immediately understood
because it is the more descriptive in English. However, "tapotement"
is the more technical massage term, and is equally descriptive because
it is derived from the French verb "tapoter" which means "to
tap, or pat".
The terms "tapotement " and "percussion" actually
refer to a category (or "class") of massage movements, incl. Cupping; Hacking; Plucking; Pounding; Pummelling; Tapping.
The information on this page is common to all of the above
Tapotement movements may be applied to the fleshy
parts of the body, e.g. buttocks - but not directly over bones near
to the surface of the skin, not over surface (superficial) nerves, not over
paralysed muscles, and not during pregnancy.
A tapotement movement usually takes the form of rapid movements from the
wrists in which the body is struck with soft blows from each hand alternately.
The differences between the tapotement techniques listed above includes
the part of the therapist's hand/s used to strike the client, and the
Tapotement movements are generally performed for relatively short but
even sequences/ durations over specific areas of the body. They
may then be continued over
an adjacent area or smoothly followed by a different tapotement technique
or other massage manipulation. These movements should not be too hard
or aggressive or continued for too long in one area because to do so
may not be comfortable for the client and may over-stimulate the skin/muscles/nerves
in that area.
The benefits of tapotement movements can include stimulating the skin and/or
muscle reflexes. However, these techniques are taught as part of courses
in Swedish Massage and amay be omitted altogether from some holistic
and aromatherapy massage routines:
Therapists generally select techniques appropriate to achieve the purpose
of any particular treatment - as discussed during the preceeding consultation.