Friction Massage

In this lesson you will learn how to apply friction massage techniques and what effects they have. Friction massage is a popular massage technique usually applied around joints. This technique is often used to treat tendinitis (the inflammation of a tendon), to increase circulation around scars and injured ligaments and as a treatment for adhesions. Learn more about the different massage techniques at massage & relaxation main.


  • This is a very basic description on how a friction massage can be applied.
  • Put one or more fingers on the affected area. The hand is flexed slightly and depending on the area you are going to massage. You can use the other fingers to reinforce the position of your hand.
  • There is always an active phase and a passive phase. Usually you will move your hands (synchronously) in slow circular motions. (at least the ends of the movement should be circular) Don't only move your fingers or your hands. Keep your elbows, your wrists and your fingers pretty tight and move your entire arms. Apply more pressure in the active phase and release pressure in the passive phase. Don't go back and forth too fast. Slow down the passive phase, stop and then go back.
  • If you are massaging big muscles, for example the hamstrings or the abdominals, use all fingers next to each other. This is to prevent adhesions. Don't apply too much pressure.


  • The affected structure is moved and supplied with blood. The tissue is supplied with the required nutrients and the quality of the scar tissue improves.
  • Friction massage helps releasing pain by evacuating pain triggering metabolites.
    (traumatic hyperaemia)
  • Stimulation of mechanoreceptors. Mechanorceptoers => Temporary pain releasing effect, which can be used to perform rehabilitation exercises.


  • If you want to apply this technique to treat an injury, please consult a sports injury specialist first.
  • Use massage oil.
  • Don't apply friction massage techniques within 72 hours after you injured a joint. You would just slow down the healing process of bruises.
  • Friction massages are usually given by a physiotherapist or a training partner. However, you can also try to apply them alone - in a similar manner.
    • For example: Massage the area around your knee with your 3 middle fingers. Cross your thumbs over your thigh and massage the sides of your knees joint with your fingers. Use both hands at the same time. The leg must be relaxed.
    • Or cross your fingers in front of the knee and massage this sides with your thumbs.
    • I recommend you ask your physiotherapist to teach you.


  • None