Massage Techniques: Tapotement/Percussion

What is it?

This technique is also called tapping, taken from the French word “tapoter”, meaning to tap or to drum.

It is an invigorating movement that strengthens slack muscles, warms and stimulates sensory nerve endings.This technique prepares muscles for activity and helps to maximise performance and prevent injuries from occurring. It can play an important part in energising the circulatory system but is not appropriate for all clients.

It is performed using fingers, cupped hands or loosely held fists or the edge of the hand. They are used to apply rhythmical percussion strokes. It is usually performed using alternating hands and maintaining a fast pace of between four to ten strikes per second.

Tapotement/perucssion in action.

How Does It Help?

It is primarily used to “wake up” the nervous system and also as a stimulating stroke which can release lymphatic build up. Tapotement is most commonly used across larger areas of muscles, i.e thigh, buttock or back. The physiological effects of beating and pounding are increased capillarisation, increased temperature and increased tissue elasticity. 


  • Increase tissue elasticity in the muscle fibres;
  • Stimulate the circulatory system;
  • Maximise performance and prevent injury;
  • Increases flexibility;
  • Improves sensation through stimulation of nerve endings;

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