How to Massage
Easy Tips On How To Massage
Touch is one of the most important senses. It creates a bond between mother and child. It makes us feel secure and loved. Massage is the art of touch, a therapy that has deep healing powers for both mind and body.
It comforts and reassures, releases muscular tension, boosts the circulation, and makes us feel nurtured and loved.
The Origins Of Massage
Massage began in the East, namely in China and Japan. Shiatsu, acupressure and reflexology were brought from the East by therapists studying these highly effective techniques, and have been adopted in the West by alternative practitioners. India also has a strong tradition of massage. Head massage is part of daily life in most Indian regions and is practiced in roadside barber shops.
Surprisingly, Swedish massage also originated in the East. Developed by gymnast and physiologist Per Henrik Link, a Swede who traveled to China in the 19th century, it combined his own western ideas with those of Eastern massage.
Eastern philosophies tend to be based on the notion of the flow of energy – the Chinese call it qi or chi – and massage is the perfect way for unblocking built up energy so that the body can be re-balanced and heal itself.
Self massage can also be beneficial enjoyable and relaxing as well as going to see an experienced massage therapist. You can also use massage to comfort your partner, console a friend, soothe a baby to sleep, or strengthen the bond between you and your child. Massage has far-reaching effects and should become a part of your own relaxation program.
You can use these basic strokes on yourself or a friend, or of course you can book a professional massage therapist.
This is the rhythmic rolling lifting and squeezing of the muscles with your hands. This encourages the flow of blood and takes away toxins from these muscles. Use firm movements and take hold of the flesh between the thumb and fingers and knead like a piece of dough.
This uses cupping, slapping, chopping and hacking and improves muscle tone.
These are long stroking movements up and down the body for relaxation. Using a massage oil, it warms up the muscles and stimulates the lymphatic system.
This movement like the name suggests, consists of rapid strokes with the palms, which help to disperse deep muscular tension.
- Make sure you are comfortable and the person to be massaged is comfortable.
- Use either a bed or if you have access to one a massage bed. Put down towels and use a carrier oil with essential oils in it.
- Put on some relaxing music, light candles and relax.
- Massage is just as much about the energy so take a couple of deep breaths and let them go before you start so you have calm energy.
- Use some massage oil, and if possible, add in your favourite essential oil scents.
- Establish contact by stroking in upward movements, from the buttock or base of the spine up to the shoulders and neck. Use light, even strokes to begin with, and gradually increase the pressure.
- Use friction movements to warm up the muscles and tissue followed by petrissage. This is little flesh on the back but the kneading and squeezing, especially on the shoulder muscles that lead to the neck can feel wonderful.
- Use firm and even finger pressure to stimulate the reflexology points down the neck, shoulder, spine, hips and buttock. Don’t press too hard and not directly on the spine, just on the two muscles that run down either side of the spine.
- Finish with long effleurage strokes as if you were stroking a cat, and work down to the back and buttocks and back up again.
Leg Massage (Backs of legs)
- Massage each leg individually. Start by stroking lightly down the leg, then up again to the buttocks with a firmer pressure.
- This will stimulate the blood and lymph circulation. Use brisk friction movements on the back of the knee and the ankle.
- Follow by working on the pressure points of the leg then use petrissage and tapotement.
- Stroke down the leg three or four times with effleurage and use even pressure. Massage the foot and ankle.
- You should now ask the person to roll over on to their back when they are ready.
- As with the legs, massage one arm at a time.
- Start by holding the recipients hand in one hand and massage up and down the arm with your other hand in long gliding strokes.
- Let the arm fall gently onto the bed and use petrissage to work your way up the arm, always working towards the shoulder.
- Massage the hands and palms with circular movements and massage each finger gently.
- Always massage the stomach clockwise as this is the way the digestive system works.
- Do large circular movements clockwise on the stomach, do this gently and slowly.
The fronts of legs
- Use the same techniques as the backs of the legs, do reflexology on the feet, pressing into the feet with thumbs and knuckles
- This can be very relaxing. You can incorporate into a mini massage, massaging just the head, neck and shoulders.
- Kneel behind the person’s head while they are still lying on the floor or sit on a chair and let them lean their back against your legs.
- Lightly stroke up the forehead, over the top of the head and down the neck.
- Repeat a couple of times. Then work from the temples, across the ears and down the other side of the head.
- Gradually increase the pressure.
- Now use your thumbs and fingertips to work up from the forehead to the crown, using small and brisk circular movements.
- Follow by firmly massaging the whole head with your finger tips. Gently stroke the head and hair.
Allow the person to rest for five to ten minutes before they get up and give them a glass of water to re hydrate.
There are no hard and fast rules as to the sequence in which a massage can be done or strokes that can be used.