Swedish Massage in 5 Parts – Part 2, Petrissage!

Swedish Massage in 5 Parts

Part 2 – Pétrissage

Welcome back to Swedish Massage in 5 parts, where we take a look at each Swedish Massage Technique in a little more detail.

 Today we move on to Part 2 – Pétrissage!


Pétrissage Stroke – from the French verb pétrir meaning ‘to knead’.

Pétrissage is a group of techniques that repetitively lift, roll, grasp, stretch, compress or squeeze the underlying tissue.  The intention when performing pétrissage manipulations is to lift and squeeze (or ‘milk’) or compress the tissue. When performing pétrissage, the therapist lifts, rolls, stretches, compresses, kneads or squeezes the underlying tissue or structures between their hands.


There are many pétrissage manipulations and, as previously mentioned, they involve lifting, rolling, stretching, compressing, squeezing or kneading underlying tissues. Each technique has its own unique action and its own effect.

The main sub-categories are:

  1.  Kneading
  2. Compression
  3. Skin Rolling
  4. Wringing

Pétrissage techniques involve the use of the whole hand, as the entire palmar surface, the fingers and the thumb, as well as the tips of every digit are recruited. Pétrissage is used to encourage blood flow, increase in circulation, helps relax contracted muscles, flushes excess fluids, relieves fatigued muscles and helps to lengthen and relax muscles.

Lets look at two Pétrissage Strokes; Kneading & Wringing

There are many variations of pétrissage — each having its unique movement and employing the hands in differing ways. Despite the altered dynamics, the unique kneading motion of pétrissage manipulations remains a constant.

C-scoop kneading




The hands are placed on the surface of the skin with thumbs and fingers separated, creating a ‘C’ shape.  The hands alternately glide back and forth grasping and picking up and squeezing the muscle between the fingers and thumbs. This two-handed technique can be performed on all large surface areas such as calves, thighs, back and abdomen. For smaller surface areas, such as the arms, a single-hand technique can be performed.







Wringing is performed with the therapist facing the body from the side of the massage table. Each hand is placed on either side of the trunk or limb being massaged.  The hands simultaneously glide, lift and shear between the muscles as they pass each other moving

from one side of the body to the other in opposite directions.


Next time we will be looking at Friction!


In Wellness,




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Howdy there, I'm Kat! I'm a southern gal who loves being a wife, mother, blogger, writer and a follower of Jesus Christ. I adore coffee, chocolate, sweet tea, essential oils, meows, guns, drag racing and TEXAS!
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  1. That is a nice article… Very informative and helpful too.


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