Labor Tools: Effleurage
What it is:
The effleurage touch is a light pressure applied over a wide area of the body.
How it works:
Light effleurage promotes relaxation, alleviates pain and encourages sleep. Relaxed muscles short-circut the fear-tension-pain cycle allowing the mother to labor with less pain.
Deep effleurage improves circulation, while stretching and relaxing tense muscles.
How to do it:
From "The Healing Touch of Massage" by Carlo DePaoli
Performed in a circular motion, with the hands relaxed, palms on the body, always keep the momentum on the upward stroke, easing the pressure on the return movement.
Incorporating it into labor:
Use a flat-hand stroke on the arms, legs and broad flat surface of the back.
Effleurage with only the fingertips gliding (rather than the whole hand) is called feathering.
Effleurage can also be done with a cupped-hand on areas that are sensitive, such as the calf muscles.