Transverse friction massage techniques |

Transverse friction massage techniques

Transverse friction massage techniques : quite boring and hard work ?!  But efficient !

Many colleagues around the world perform some kind of transverse friction massage techniques (TFM), but...many of them unfortunately also do it in a wrong way.  They don't respect the specific practical details nor the correct indication.  This of course has a negative effect on your results.  

Science an practice behind transverse friction massage techniques

According to a study performed in France, among colleagues who perform transverse friction massage techniques, apparantly in 80% of the cases multiple mistakes are described :

  • wrong indication / wrong diagnosis
  • wrong localisation
  • wrong position of the patient and/or the therapist
  • too hard
  • not enough time
  • ...

This may sound quite pretentious, but unfortunately this is the reality, which we are confronted with during our courses.

Also, multiple similar mistakes are observed in so-called "scientific" publications.  In several books and papers certain techniques are illustrated in a completely wrong way.  Supraspinatus, Quadriceps and tennis elbow are popular examples.  In those cases it becomes of course quite difficult to draw solid conclusions.

transverse friction massage type 2 tennis elbow


Fortunately, there is also good news.  Some studies show a better quality : there are some specific case studies as well as studies on the physiological effect of TFM (see other pages below)  

Transverse friction massage does have a certain effect on soft tissue, as well in the inflammation phase, the repair or the remodelling phase.  Structural changes can be achieved and are described in literature.

But of course, it is a "boring" and time consuming manual treatment technique, therefore respecting the practical technical details is quite important to perform those techniques in a most optimal and comfortable way.



Just friction massage ?

What is our main purpose : 

  • to maintain normal connective tissue mobility
  • to get better alignment of fibres and tensile strength

To the point transverse friction massage is a perfect tool to achieve those goals, but...of course movement is imperative, therefore incorporating also longitudinal stress exercises is also necessary (perhaps it is better to avoid longitudinal stress in the first two weeks of an acute lesion).

Have a look at the pages below for more information on this topic.

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