Transverse friction massage : dos and donts |

Transverse friction massage : dos and donts

Deep transverse friction massage : easy to perform in a non optimal way...


Transverse friction massage techniques are widely spread as a treatment measure ; but in our teaching experience we feel that in many cases techniques are performed in an incorrect way and in non indicated circumstances, of course leading to unsatisfying results, perhaps making deep transverse friction massage techniques less popular. Is this merely a subjective impression from the part of our Teaching Team, or is there really a need for improvement ?

 Even in several textbooks and "scientific" publications, techniques are consistently performed in a non optimal way i.e. a wrong starting position of the therapist or the patient, wrong localisation, wrong execution. In fact, sometimes it is quite disappointing to see...So, when people learn it in the wrong way...

Techniques which deserve more attention are e.g. supraspinatus-, infraspinatus-, tennis ellbow, achilles-techniques.


Mr. David Andre presented in june 2012 a study on the application of transverse friction massage techniques among therapists in France. His results reflect what the ETGOM Teaching Team experienced since many years, on an empirical base, during our world wide courses.

 Let's have a look at some of the results :

• 74% of the respondees uses deep transverse friction massage on a systematic basis

• 27% claim to have done some kind of continuing education in relation to friction massage

• Up to 33% frictions in a rhtyhm between 5-10 Hz (which is far to fast to friction in a comfortable way ; in fact 1-2 Hz is already more than enough) ; 67% use a rhythm less than 5 Hz

• it is imperative that friction techniques are performed in two phases : an active phase with pressure, followed by a relaxation phase without pressure (there are three exceptions in the whole body) ; if we don't respect that rule friction massage becomes too painful for the patient and very unpractical for the therapist. 56% apparantly doesn't respect that rule and 37% uses undirectional pressure, but, pressure in a less practical direction i.e. pressure is applicated in the direction away from the therapists instead of towards the therapist.

• A deep transverse friction massage session takes about 15-20 minutes of friction massage per session, depending on the stage of the lesion ; most of the colleagues, probably also because of the non optimal execution, only friction during maximum 7 minutes. In acute phases 87% of the respondees friction between 3 and 7 minutes ; in chronic cases 75% do so too. This is again remarkable, since in chronic lesions we need longer sessions of friction massage, also in combination with longitudinal stress exercise.

• Another important element is the fact that we start the friction massage during the first minutes in a more superficial way, once the anaesthetic influence appears, we can afford to friction more deeply (if indicated) in a more comfortable way, without causing pain. Deep friction massage should be as comfortable as possible for the patient. Many colleagues also don't respect this rule. In acute cases 79% of the respondees say that the friction massage must be painful or even above the pain treshold of the patients ; in chronic patients 88% of the respondees share the same vision.

Conclusion : there is still quite some room for practical improvement of deep tranverse friction massage techniques ; in many cases those techniques are even taught in a non optimal way. The ETGOM teaching team is happy to offer you any assistance on those matters, when needed.


Thank you for your nice work on that topic.

"Etat des lieux du massage transverse profond en France", Rapport de recherche présenté par David ANDRE, juin 2012, Ecole de Kinésithérapie du C.H.U. de Grenoble

We wish to respect your privacy at all times

General Data Protection Regulation - European Privacy Regulation

How do we collect your personal data such as name and email address ?

When you are an ETGOM course participant automatically you enter the ETGOM newsletter
When you send us an email with an information request regarding the ETGOM seminars or publications
When you participate at an ETGOM webinar
When you download the free ebook
When we meet in person (e.g. conference)
Or when you register on our “Tips and Tricks in orthopaedic medicine” newsletter

How do we use your personal data

Your data are exclusively used by the ETGOM Teaching Team and organisation partners to inform you about ETGOM activities and publications
Your data will not be transferred to any third party which is not related to orthopaedic medicine continuing education

Your rights

You have the right at all times to view, to update or to delete your personal data
You can unsubscribe from our newsletters, mailing list, at any time
You can refuse or limit the use of your personal data
You can visit the website of OM Consult bvba/ETGOM unrestricted and furthermore consult information about our company, products and services without giving any personal data of you. Only if you want to contact us via the web form, you have to share you personal data. Each time you provide personal information, OM Consult bvba will handle them in accordance with the policy written down in here and the legal liabilities concerning the handling of personal data.

Confidential handling of personal data 
The personal data collected by OM Consult bvba/ETGOM, are saved on a protected place, which is not open for the public. The file can only be consulted by a restricted number of persons who are in service of OM Consult bvba/ETGOM and only if they need this information for practice there job. The data will only be processed for internal purposes. Om Consult bvba ordinarily doesn’t give any personal data to third persons, except to comply with legal liabilities and in case of an express request from the judicial authority or police. In the exceptional case that OM Consult bvba/ETGOM gives information to organizations or companies with which they work together, it will be expressly mentioned or you will be expressly asked for your agreement.

Purpose of handling 
OM Consult bvba/ETGOM handles the collected personal data to identify you and if necessary to contact you and to give you an optimal service. The data can also be used to give you information about news items, new services and new products of OM Consult bvba/ETGOM. If you don’t want to receive such information, you can mention this to OM Consult bvba/ETGOM by e-mail ( or by letter.