By: Michael Manion Viewed: 5/27/2020
Topics/Keywords: #Tapotement #SwedishMassage Page Views: 3005
All about the Tapotement movement of Swedish Massage.

What is Tapotement?

Tapotement: One of the five Swedish massage movements.

One of the five basic Swedish massage strokes, this is a rhythmic motion where a part of the body is lightly struck. It comes from the French word tapoter, which means to tap or to drum. This drumming is a form of percussion which can be steady and constant or actually have a form of differing rhythms. This can be easily performed with a steady beat as drum music or the beat to sounds or musical beats.

Experiencing Tapotement

You may feel the edge of my palm or heel of my hand pounding rhythmically against you. This is sometimes called hacking. Various methods have appeared over the years in which one or more fingers can be used as drum sticks. Another method is called cupping in which the hands are cupped and used in the same way in which the body or parts of the body are struck in time to rhythmic or steady beats. Slapping or clapping may have a similar effect where the palms make contact with your body. Another method includes using the sides of the fingers at the pinky level instead of the edge of the palm. This can be done with closed or open fingers. The exact technique depends on which muscle is being worked, whether it needs to be relaxed or strengthened, and other factors.

When to use Tapotement

Tapotement increases the irritability of the nerves and has proved to be an excellent way of arousing sensory deficit conditions so that there is increased sensory sensitivity. This is good for motor nerves of neurasthenic invalids where other procedures have failed to produce any visible effect.

When applying percussion to a local condition it needs to be alternated with kneading to prevent soreness and congestion in any of the surface tissue. Prolonged percussion can cause dilation of the blood vessels, while moderate and gentle percussion can cause contraction of the blood vessels. This can produce an increase in the amount of blood flowing through an area of the body; thus it can be used to drive blood out of certain areas that can not be quickly and easily reached by other means. This promotes circulation and nutritional absorption and elimination of waste material in the blood. It is most effective for surface blood vessels by using the clapping or cupping methods. In order to effect deeper tissue I use the hacking method and in order to reach blood vessels covered in heavy muscles, use the closed fist method.

Using Tapotement for less than about a minute excites a muscle, where performing it in an area for more than about sixty seconds relaxes the muscles involved. Caution is to be taken with neuropathies or neural conditions; I am alert to the possibility that my client may be very sensitive due to a particular condition an a area. Always check the amount of force or pressure with a patient or client when applying any massage techniques.