Transverse Frictions

Books about Massage

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Transverse Frictions are one of the two types of frictions used in massage. (The other type of frictions are circular frictions.)

Frictions generally are a small variety of techniques by which specific anatomical structures are manipulated using the fingers or thumbs only. They are precise movements focussed on a very small area of the body.

Transverse Frictions are manipulations performed by precise actions by the tips of only one or two digits, such as the tip of a thumb, the finger tip of the index finger (possibly reinforced by the tip of the middle finger on the nail bed of the index finger), the finger tip of the middle finger (possibly reinforced by the tip of the middle finger on the nail bed of the index finger), or two finger tips together.
The tips of the fingers used are moved backwards and forwards across the structure being worked such that there is no movement between the therapist's fingers and the client's skin - but rather movement between the structures being worked and the overlying tissues or skin.


Frictions should not be performed in the following situations:

  • over recently strained muscles
  • over recent scar tissue
  • over any form of inflammation (of the skin or underlying structures and organs)
  • over varicose veins
  • in cases of inflammatory conditions
  • in cases of skin infections
  • when the client is pregnant.

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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