by O. Bouimer, LMT and Ross Turchaninov, MD

I. M. Sarkisov-Sirasini, MD was the principal scientist who developed the concept of Russian Sports Massage. In 1957, he proposed the use of friction which combined deep-pressure effleurage with friction in the circular mode. As a sign of respect, this technique has been named after the author. SSF is to be used on large, flat areas of the body: e.g., along the vertebral column or on the thigh.
All videos in this article are from our Video Library of Therapeutic massage.


SSF is a bi-manual technique. The contact areas on the active hand are the thenar eminence, the palmar surface of the thumb, and the fingertips of the 2nd-to-5th fingers.

The beginning of the video shows the position of the active hand. The thenar eminence and thumb of the active hand are pressed into the soft tissue and the fingertips of the 2nd-to-5th fingers start to perform circular friction.

As soon as circular friction is established, the supportive hand is placed on top of the thumb of the active hand to elicit additional pressure (the white arrow in the video). After pressure has been applied, the supportive hand pushes the active hand forward while the fingertips of the active hand continue to perform circular friction.

Be sure that active hand busies itself simply with the circular friction and that it is the supportive hand that assumes responsibility for the forward movement of the hands.


This video shows the clinical application of SSF on the posterior thigh, on the hamstring muscles.

To effortlessly execute SSF the practitioners must use the correct body mechanics. The propulsion of the active and passive hands comes from the practitioners’ body leaning forward. Such approach unloads the hands and arms and makes the execution of SSF easier.

The practitioner can easily incorporate SSF in any stress reduction or therapeutic massage session when he, or she, work on large parts of the body.


SSF targets the skeletal muscles as well as the fascia and aponeurosis. Because of the significant pressure applied, all muscle layers are affected. However, the technique does not induce pain, even in areas of hypertonus or trigger point, owing to the fact that the contact area employed is large (thumbs and thenar eminences) and that pressure is distributed equally.

SSF is very effective as a preparation of the muscle with hypertonic muscular pathology for the medical massage treatment, especially trigger point therapy. To apply this technique in cases of the trigger point, place the thenar eminence of the active hand on the area of the trigger point and compress the tissue. Do not move through the massaged area, but rather remain in the same spot. In this case, the moderate ischemic compression achieved, combined with friction of the surrounding tissue, has the advantage of diminishing the activity of the pain analyzing system in the area of the trigger point. This approach is especially helpful when the patient has a very painful trigger point or hypertonus.

Sarkisov-Sirasini. I.M: Sports Massage. Fizkultura i Sport, Moscow, 1957.

Oleg Bouimer, LMT
Oleg Bouimer, LMT, graduated from State Institute of Physical Education in Ukraine in 1985. Currently he has an extensive private practice in Los Angeles. Among his clients are celebrities, famous politicians and sports stars. The NBA, NHL and NFL widely recognize Oleg and the system of Russian Sports Massage. He teaches nationwide and has founded a Medical and Sports Massage Club in Los Angeles. Oleg is author of many articles in American and European professional journals. He can be reached by e-mail:

Ross Turchaninov, MD
For Dr. R. Turchaninov bio click here

Category: Sport Massage

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