Basic Leg Massage Techniques

Leg Massage on Thigh

Leg massage can revive tired legs, relieve muscle soreness, and feel great. Giving and receiving some basic massage with a loved one or friend is easy with a few basic techniques.

Caution: Do NOT massage the legs of someone who has a blood clot, serious varicose veins, or swelling or very poor circulation caused by a condition such as advanced diabetes or uncontrolled high blood pressure. If in doubt, consult a healthcare provider.

Back Of the Leg Massage

First, a video that demonstrates several variations of effleurage and petrissage for the legs.



Here's a basic Swedish massage routine for the back of the legs:


  1. Start at the ankle and use the palms of both hands to do a light gliding stroke (effleurage) all the way up the leg.
  2. For a deeper effleurage, walk your hands up the leg using the web between your thumb and first finger to apply pressure.
  3. Lift the foot slightly off the massage table with one hand and use the other hand to drain the calf by deeply (as appropriate) stroking from the ankle to just below the back of the knee.
  4. Petrissage the leg. Petrissage is a two-handed kneading technique where your hands move in a semi-circular motion. 
  5. With the leg lying on the table, use both of your thumbs to do upside-down Js up the midline of the calf and hamstrings. The idea is to apply some friction to the muscles with the J motion. Also, do the Js on the outside of the calf. Then use the heel of your hand or fingertips up the outside of the thigh.
  6. With your thumbs pulled in next to your fingers, "wring" the legs, up and down one time.
  7. Use tapotement on the legs: Placing your hands in either a "karate chop" position or in a loose fist, tap the muscles vigorously.
  8. Shake the leg lightly.
  9. Do a light, feathery stroke down the leg and off the foot.
  10. If desired, follow up with some foot massage techniques.

How To Massage Front Of the Leg



For more: Trigger Point Therapy for Foot, Ankle, Knee, and Leg Pain: A Self-Treatment Workbook




Massage picture courtesy of Massage Nerd.

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