The choices of direction are longitudinal, transverse and circular. All strokes in all directions can be used on the torso, but longitudinal strokes applied to the peripherals should be deeper and stronger towards the heart and significantly lighter on their return. This is to mirror and work with the venous lymphatic return system. Transverse is also suitable for legs and arms. If you are using a smaller stroke such as friction, small, circular movements will not interfere with this system.
Initially, you should apply light, superficial pressure to warm up the tissue and prepare it for deeper work as well as to assess the condition of the tissue and determine which areas need attention. Once the tissue has been sufficiently warmed up, you can apply deeper strokes. During and at the end of a treatment, it is always beneficial to flush the section that you have worked on as well as the surrounding tissue using effleurage.
Regardless of the degree of pressure you are using, you should massage in a thoughtful manner, feeling the various tissues under your hands and reacting to any adverse tension. Areas of tension might require you to slow down and ease off the pressure to get a favourable response. The deeper you go, the slower you should go. Following are areas that require less pressure:
* Bony prominences (e.g., vertebrae)
* Areas of less muscle mass (e.g., shins)
* Areas of greater sensitivity (e.g., chest)
* Areas that have underlying sensitive structures (e.g., the femoral artery behind the knee)