Definition of effleurage in English:



mass noun
  • A form of massage involving a repeated circular stroking movement made with the palm of the hand.

    • ‘These massages fuse elements of French effleurage, Japanese shiatsu and Chinese acupressure.’
    • ‘There are five basic terms describing different massage maneuvers, vibration, tapotement, petrissage, effleurage and friction (small range intensive stroking).’
    • ‘‘Facials are very relaxing as they involve stroking movements and effleurage and the massage goes around the shoulders and the back or the neck,’ she said.’
    • ‘Deep effleurage and cross-friction techniques are of particular use for the reduction of nodules.’
    • ‘Students were provided with oil, instructed in effleurage and percussion, which they then performed on their partner.’


[with object]
  • Massage with a circular stroking movement.

    ‘effleurage the shoulders and press gently’
    • ‘Oil your hands and effleurage the whole leg.’
    • ‘Approximately 20-30 min can be spent effleuraging the posterior side of the body and 10-15 min effleuraging the front of the legs and the arms.’


Late 19th century: from French, from effleurer ‘skim the surface, stroke lightly’, literally ‘remove the flower or ‘outer beauty’ of something’.