Tennis Elbow

Effective Massage Techniques for Tennis Elbow Relief

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Tennis elbow, a common ailment among athletes and non-athletes alike, can be a source of significant discomfort. Fortunately, there are effective methods to alleviate this condition. This comprehensive guide will explore professional sports massage techniques and self-massage strategies, offering a well-rounded approach to massage for tennis elbow relief.

Professional Sports Massage Techniques

Professional sports massage therapists employ a range of techniques to provide relief from tennis elbow. These methods target the soft tissues involved in the condition, ultimately reducing pain and improving mobility.

Compressive Effleurage

Compressive effleurage is often the starting point for addressing tennis elbow through sports massage. It involves circular stroking motions, applied gently at the outset of the treatment. The primary objectives are to enhance blood circulation and induce relaxation.

Using light pressure, this technique raises the temperature of the soft tissues and stimulates the lymphatic system. Its benefits include increased lymphatic drainage, improved venous return, and the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, promoting an overall sense of well-being.


Petrissage, a kneading, squeezing, and stretching technique, targets the muscle fibers contributing to the tennis elbow. It also stimulates the lymphatic and vascular systems, facilitating the removal of toxins and waste products from the body. When applied with adequate pressure, petrissage can break down adhesions that compress nerves and restrict wrist and forearm mobility.

Cross Friction Fibre Massage

Cross-friction fiber massage alleviates tension within the tendons and reduces pain. This technique employs the thumb and fingers to manipulate localized soft tissues in the arm. The goal is to disperse tissue fluids and promote connective tissue repair through a gentle back-and-forth motion. Pressure is gradually increased until tenderness dissipates, effectively relieving discomfort.


Massage therapists incorporate wrist extensor stretching to prepare the wrists and reduce muscle tension. This method enhances circulation, improves flexibility, and reduces pain. Additionally, therapists often conclude sessions by stretching the extensor muscles, further contributing to recovery.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points play a crucial role in tennis elbow injuries. They are key areas of tension and discomfort that, when identified and treated by sports massage therapists, can lead to significant relief. One common trigger point is located near the edge of the elbow, where the muscles on the back of the arm converge.

Therapists use trigger point release therapy, applying deep pressure with both thumbs to target knots and trigger points. This technique breaks down scar tissue adhesions and releases trapped toxins. Continuous administration is continued until the client experiences relief.

Tennis Elbow Relief

Deep Tissue Massage

Many therapists favor deep tissue massage to address tennis elbow. It enhances blood circulation, breaks up scar tissue, relieves muscle contractions, improves flexibility, and reduces pain. Therapists focus on the core of the muscle connected to the affected tendon, providing effective pain relief. Deep tissue strokes also increase muscle elasticity and reduce tensile stress on tendon attachments.

Deep Transverse Friction

Deep, transverse friction involves massaging the affected area diagonally to the direction of tendon fiber attachment. Although uncomfortable, this technique is valuable in alleviating tennis elbow pain. Continuous administration gradually reduces discomfort levels.

Gentle, Circular Motions massage

Initiating self-massage with light, broad pressure is recommended. This serves as a warm-up for the muscles, preparing them for deeper massage. It also allows you to determine the pressure that feels most comfortable. A quick routine to warm up the arm muscles involves extending the affected arm gently and resting it on a surface.

Your opposite hand can then apply light pressure to the muscles above and below the elbow, using your fingers to perform gentle circular motions. Repeat this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Massage Gun

Massage guns, popular in the athletic world, can effectively relieve tennis elbow. You can target the extensor muscles below the elbow using a small massage gun with a soft, round attachment. Gradually increase the pressure as you move along the muscles, avoiding painful areas. Spending up to two minutes on this massage can reduce pain and tension.

Hands-On Myofascial Release

Hands-on myofascial release is an excellent self-massage option for tennis elbow. It involves using your hands to grasp, squeeze, and roll muscles and soft tissue. This technique can boost blood flow, relieve stiffness, and alleviate pain.

A simple myofascial massage routine includes lightly kneading the muscles around the painful elbow, followed by using a “C” shape with your fingers and thumb to apply linear pressure on the extensor muscles. Finish using your knuckles to massage the forearm muscles in a linear motion.

Lacrosse Ball

For straightforward self-massage, a lacrosse ball can be highly effective. Applying moderate pressure to roll the ball along the forearm muscles can help break up tension and trigger points. Extend your arm fully for a deeper massage, and roll for five minutes once or twice daily.


Tennis elbow doesn’t have to be a persistent source of discomfort. You can effectively manage and alleviate tennis elbow pain by combining professional sports massage techniques with self-massage strategies. Whether seeking the expertise of a sports massage therapist or practicing self-massage, these methods provide a well-rounded approach to finding relief from this common condition.

Also, read this: What Are Effective Strategies for Shoulder Pain Relief?

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