HomeHealth articleskneading in physiotherapyWhat Is Kneading in Physiotherapy?

Kneading, in general, is kneading a doe, while kneading in physiotherapy is a massage technique for healing and regeneration.

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At September 19, 2023
Reviewed AtSeptember 19, 2023


Kneading and massage are terms that have similar meanings. So, kneading in physiotherapy is none other than a massage of the parts of the body intending to manipulate the skin, muscles, and other soft tissues. Then, in accordance with the determining issue, the strokes are applied in a tailored way. People sustaining many conditions could get benefits from kneading as the strokes are known for withdrawing knots and adhesions. In addition, it helps reduce stress and distress in a good deal of ways.

What Is Kneading in Physiotherapy?

Kneading is a massage or therapeutic technique that is about the application of pressure in a range of ways concerning each issue of the body. It has numerous health benefits, from superficial skin tissues to deeper ones like muscles, joints, and the bloodstream. Kneading massage comprises a variant means including lifting, rolling, squeezing, and pressing. The physiotherapists use their hands, fingers, palm, or a combination of them for kneading according to the affected part of the client.

What Are the Types of Kneading?

Kneading, in a similar manner, is a powerful massage technique that can be applied with any degree of pressure to meet the client's goals. According to the therapist, kneading is of many types on the basis of its effects.

  • Petrissage: This is the most common technique of all forms of kneading. Here, petrissage strokes or pressure are applied on the deeper tissues in the way of compressing, lifting, and releasing.

  • Palmer: The therapist utilizes different attributes of hand massage. In this way, the palm is used to relieve muscle tension in the Palmer technique.

  • Digital: Preferred for smaller circular movements or small areas in sensitive areas of the body. The digital part of the fingers is also used to give prominence to targeted points.

  • Thumb: The pad of the thumb is used in smaller areas, similar to digital kneading. In contrast, a combination of digital and thumb kneading is employed in certain aspects.

  • Rolling: The rapid back-and-forth movements are employed in the rolling form of kneading. This type eventually enhances muscle compression in addition to strength.

  • Wringing: Wringing is used in the management of tight muscles as it improves blood circulation. The therapists lift and squeeze the muscle forward and backward, often known as the pick-up and squeeze technique.

How Does Kneading Work in Physiotherapy?

Individuals having muscle, skin, and joint concerns are known to have damaged tissues in the underlying aspects. And collagen fibers have degenerated as the collagen fibers make up tissue and, thus, muscle. Kneading helps the individual through collagen fibers breakdown, followed by increased blood circulation. Therefore, this also helps through the restoration and repair of damaged tissue.

Collagen Fibers Break Down: When a muscle is inflamed or injured, collagen fibers are laid as a compensation process for repairing. However, collagen fibers are inelastic in nature; that too, it is positioned in an adverse or unnatural direction right through the muscle. So, this is why individuals present with limitation of movement as the muscle movement is diminished. Kneading breaks down these collagen fibers and rearranges them. Also, the stretching and lifting technique of kneading diminishes the stress, tension, and soreness collagen fibers build. Therefore, it increases the flexibility and movement of the muscle while alleviating pain.

Increasing Blood Circulation: The therapist stimulates the muscle by means of compressing and relaxing the tissue, which is apparent in the kneading process. The stimulation of muscle heightens the temperature, which, in turn, enhances the two significant themes of blood circulation.

  • Vasodilatation: Process of widening of cells in the blood vessels.

  • Capillarization: This is also the heightened level of blood cells.

Therefore, this process increases cellular exchange and overall blood circulation.

Healing of Deteriorated Tissues: Healing is the potent result of the above two processes of kneading. The increase in temperature increases cellular exchange. Cellular exchange is meant for intaking essential supplements and excreting waste products through blood. So, here it allows oxygenated blood and nutrients to the blood vessels while leaving out the metabolic and other waste substances. The excretion of waste is the significant process of healing damaged tissue.

Range of Movement: Kneading works on loosening and stretching the muscles on gentle takes. It increases the muscle’s range of movement.

What Is the Circulation Technique of Kneading?

The circulation technique of massage is the typical one among the forms of kneading. This compresses the muscle and adjacent soft tissue with a sound lift, roll, and squeeze, which is then followed by a backward motion toward the bone. So, the tissues are massaged in a circulatory motion in a way resisting the underlying structures.

What Are the Applications of Kneading in Physiotherapy?

Kneading in an appropriate and tailored plan toward the client’s goal treats a number of conditions concerning tissue and muscle damage. It can be applied and treated in many aspects of the body, where the common applications are as follows.

  • Shoulder.

  • Neck.

  • Thigh.

  • Calf.

  • Upper back.

  • Lower back.

What Are the Benefits of Kneading Therapy?

The benefits of kneading therapy include the following:

  • Diminishes muscle pain and discomfort.

  • Increases joint flexibility.

  • Enhances healthy blood circulation as it creates great friction effects.

  • Increases temperature yet promotes relaxation.

  • Reduce cramps.

  • Minimize the muscle spasm.

  • Release of endorphins to relieve pain and stress.

  • Reinforcement of muscles and joints.

  • Regeneration of tissues.

  • Decrease in stress and anxiety.

  • An improvement over fatigue states.

  • Increases range of motion.

  • Restores muscle and joint function.

  • Enhancement of the immune system.


Kneading is a massaging technique in physiotherapy that help relieve various pain concerns and muscle damage. It is done by lifting the muscle tissue in circular and upward movements. The physiotherapist applies deep intense pressure since it compresses the underlying tissues and muscles. The kneading technique possesses numerous benefits, including improvement in blood circulation, alleviation of pain, improvement in flexibility of joints, and reduction in feelings of fatigue. One can get the therapy by discussing the potential benefits and risks of an individual with the physiotherapist.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra


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