A Complete Guide to Cardiac Massage Techniques
Cardiac massage techniques combine a series of tactics designed to help the heart as well as the nervous and circulatory systems.

This type of massage, also referred to as Kinesiotaping, is an innovative and unique method for treating the heart muscle. It is mostly used in athletic training but can also be beneficial for people who are suffering from different heart conditions.

Today the world is going through a health flood and more and more people are reporting weak hearts and damaged arteries.

When Should You Employ Cardiac Massage Techniques?
Cardiac massage helps restart the heart–but it mustn’t be confused with CPR. The process should be performed if:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been performed and the heart has not started beating again.
  • The person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing or coughing.
  • The victim seems to have no pulse but you are not sure and you do not know how long ago signs of circulation stopped.

The takeaway: heart massage should commence only after CPR has failed to restart the heart.
What Happens During Cardiac Massage?
Cardiac massage is often referred to as “massaging” the heart, but this is a misnomer. The technique does not involve any actual manipulation of the organ; rather, it involves firm but gentle pressure on the sternum (breastbone) between the nipples.

It is performed with the victim in a supine (face up) or Trendelenburg position (face down) and can be performed using one hand or two hands. The massage involves long, firm strokes that move along the heart’s surface.

Medics training on Cardiac Massage Techniques

The pressure is applied using both hands, with palms facing down and fingers pointing toward the feet. The pressure applied to the heart with cardiac massage helps to stimulate circulation in the coronary vessels and can help reduce swelling and relieve pain in the heart.

This technique should mimic the way you would press down while kneading dough.

Cardiac massage is also known as closed-chest massage, chest compressions and cardiac compressing. While the term “cardiac massage” may seem to imply a gentle rub, this type of massage is anything but gentle. You should never perform this technique on a person with a healthy heart.

Also, remember that the person you’re helping probably doesn’t want you to do CPR first aid on him or her. Your goal is to give them enough blood flow to keep oxygen flowing through their body until medical help arrives.
Who Should Perform a Cardiac Massage?
Cardiac massage should only be performed by medical professionals because it can injure the ribs and sternum if not done correctly. It should only be done when there’s no heartbeat or pulse and you’ve already tried CPR.

Though it isn’t always possible to do cardiac massage along with CPR and other lifesaving techniques, doctors recommend that you try this procedure as soon as possible if it’s available to you.
Cardiac Massage Techniques: Types of Heart Massage
Cardiac massage compresses the heart to force blood through the veins and arteries. The method tries to treat cardiac arrest if the heart stops beating regularly.

This massage can also help with angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow) and may improve survival rates after a heart attack.

There are two types of cardiac massage — closed-chest massage and open-chest massage.


Closed-chest massage involves pressing on the chest of someone who’s in cardiac arrest to try to restart their heart. This is usually done in combination with other treatments such as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, defibrillation and drugs to improve the chances of restarting the heart.

<h3>Open Chest</h3>

This type of cardiovascular compression involves placing your arms inside the patient’s chest cavity through an incision made in their chest wall. The organs are moved aside so your fingers can access the heart.

Open-chest massage involves cutting open the breastbone (sternum) and massaging the heart directly. This can be done in an attempt to restart a heart that’s stopped beating, or if someone has an irregular heartbeat but isn’t in cardiac arrest.

Open-chest massage may be used instead of defibrillation if it’s thought that a shock could cause more damage than leaving someone in an irregular heartbeat.
Cardiac Massage Versus CPR
The purpose of any form of CPR is to circulate oxygen in the body while waiting for paramedics or EMTs (emergency medical technicians) to arrive on the scene. Cardiac massage is no different; its purpose is to get blood circulating in someone whose heart isn’t beating effectively enough.

Perhaps you’ve even been told that cardiac massage is simply CPR for the chest—but there’s much more to it than that.

The difference between cardiac massage techniques and CPR is primarily the focus. While both techniques attempt to push blood flow around the body, CPR focuses on breathing and circulation, while cardiac massage focuses on heart function.

That makes sense when you think about it– the heart is what pushes blood around the body, so without a functioning heart, your body can’t get oxygenated blood anywhere.

Response to cardiac arrest often begins with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, which can include chest compressions. However, if someone’s heart doesn’t respond to CPR, it needs additional help to reestablish effective circulation. Cardiac massage can help the heart pump blood more effectively.
How Does Cardiac Massage Save Lives
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics perform this massage to restart the heart of a person who is not breathing or whose heart has stopped beating.

Cardiac massage is sometimes done in conjunction with electric shocks if automated external defibrillation (AED) devices are not immediately available.

Cardiac Massage Techniques

The procedure may also be performed on a person whose heart has stopped beating due to severe trauma (for example, a car accident or major fall), drug overdoses, electrocution, drowning, or other causes.

Heart massage involves rhythmically compressing the lower third of the breastbone using your hands. This compresses the heart and forces blood out of it, circulating it through the rest of the body.

The EMT or paramedic performing cardiac massage should be able to feel and see the chest rise and fall as he or she performs the compressions.

While CPR focuses on breathing and circulation, cardiac massage focuses on heart function. That makes sense when you think about it: The heart is what pushes blood around the body, so without a functioning heart, your body can’t get oxygenated blood anywhere.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects?
Cardiac massage techniques may also cause discomfort. There are several methods used to perform cardiac massage and each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Applying pressure over an artery near the surface of the skin can cause pain when pressure is applied over an artery that is not receiving enough blood flow (ischemia). The application of firm pressure over a healthy artery can also be uncomfortable for sensitive clients.
Cardiac massage may cause bruising if it is performed too vigorously or over weak, fragile veins. Bruising may appear as small pinpoint areas of discoloration under the skin at the site of application. If bruising occurs, it should resolve within days.
Punctured aorta
But the most serious of these is a punctured aorta, which can cause profuse and fatal bleeding. This complication typically occurs when the person performing the massage applies excessive pressure on the chest.
Air embolism
Other risks include air embolism, where the air gets into an artery, and arrhythmias, which are irregular heart rhythms that can potentially lead to cardiac arrest.

More possible complications include:

  • Broken ribs,
  • Punctured lungs,
  • Internal bleeding,
  • Lung collapse,
  • Heart attack.

The bottom line is: If you are ever in a situation where you need to perform a cardiac massage on someone who is not breathing, you should seek professional help immediately.
Final Words on Cardiac Massage Techniques.
Cardiac massage is one of the skills taught and practiced by professional first responders who have done CPR or have had hands-on training. It is used to help restart the heart by massaging the heart at a very specific point in a quick and forceful manner.

The point of applying pressure is important as it is the point where all cardiac impulses begin their journey to the rest of the heart and body. This makes it a crucial step when trying to get someone’s heart beating again.