Definition of effleurage in English:



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

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


[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’.