The use of percussion in massage therapy is also called tapotement and is done by tapping, punching, patting, beating, hacking, chopping, slapping, pounding, or drumming on the soft tissues of the receiver.
Percussion (Tapotement) is a well-known massage technique applied in Classic Massage (Swedish Massage), but it’s very widely used around the world in a variety of massage modalities, notably in a range of Asian traditional massages.
The technique is typically applied at the end of a massage session or at the end of massaging an area of the body to re-invigorate, further loosen-up soft tissues, and promote blood circulation.
It’s done with one or both hands, using the fingers, fists, knuckles, cupped hands, side of the hands, and applied in a rhythmical fashion with a fast pace.
Tapotement is applied from out the hands and wrists of the therapist while keeping them relaxed and not engaging the elbow or the shoulder. It’s a relaxed way of tapping or drumming on body parts of the receiver, although it can be applied both in a gentle or rather tough manner depending on what the therapist thinks the receiver needs.
As a rule, percussion is not applied directly on internal organs, the spine or bony structures.