Hacking

Books about Massage

Books about Massage

Hacking is a percussion (also known as tapotement) movement.

During the hacking movement, the therapist's hands are held outstretched with the fingers and thumb outstretched from the arm and in loose contact with each other. The movement is actioned from the wrists and not from the elbows. Both hands are used to strike the client's body alternately. They are positioned just a short distance apart so that both hands work on the same area of the client, rotating so as to just clear each other during the action.

As the wrists are rotated causing the hands to alternately rise and fall, only the tips of the three medial fingers strike the client lightly and in quick succession. The fingers remain relaxed at all times so that the movement is light (i.e. the client should not be struck hard by "solid" objects in fast succession - but lightly so that the stimulation is provided by the speed not the impact). The rate of a hacking movement may be typically 4-6 strikes per second. As variation of the speed/rate of this action determines the depth of the effect on the skin and its underlying structures, this will be determined by individual requirements.

Hacking is generally only applicable to the fleshy parts of the body, so:

  • not directly over bony pertuberances
  • not over surface (superficial) nerves
  • not over paralysed muscles
    and also
  • not during pregnancy.

Note: If in doubt about the safety of a massage movement don't perform it - seek advice from a tutor or other appropriately qualified person.


This section consists of short summaries about the classical massage movements. This list of massage techniques is not exhaustive. For more general information about massage see also:

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