An at-home massage starts with knowing the right strokes to use and sticking to the gentle techniques of Swedish Massage. Here are three basic massage techniques, you can use to give anyone an effective and relaxing massage to relieve tension.
The most relaxing of the Big 5 strokes of Swedish Massage. If you are looking for a romantic massage idea, then this is the perfect stroke. Its smooth, long, and nurturing application helps a person to relax and their nervous system to return to ‘rest and digest’ (activates the parasympathetic nervous system). Effleurage encourages blood flow and helps to get the lymphatic system moving and the body to get rid of unwanted waste. Not only is it relaxing but deeply effective for warming the muscles for the deeper techniques needed to release held tension, see Petrissage. You can use both your hands and forearms to provide effleurage, always aim in the direction of the heart. For a home back massage, the technique would be to start at the base of the spine and work your way towards the shoulders. Keep your hand flat and the palm of your hand in contact with the body the whole time. You don’t want the touch too light, but enough pressure to feel the muscle. As you move the hands it is common to see the skin get pink as the blood flow increases and rises to the surface with the heat from your hands.
Once the area you are working on is nice and warm to touch you can begin to work deeper into the muscle. This is not to be confused with Deep Tissue. Performing Deep Tissue massage requires specialised training in Remedial Massage techniques. Petrissage is known in the western world as kneading because the technique used on the muscle is like kneading bread or pizza dough. Kneading works to break up knots (adhesions) in muscles and can help to release tightness in the fascia (the spiderweb-like structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles like a fine skin). Kneading is effective for a seated neck and shoulder massage. Make a C shape between your thumb and fingers, your hand should look a little like a crab claw. Use this technique for the tops of the shoulders, picking up the muscle and skin. Your fingers will be facing towards the collar bone. Move your fingers and thumbs towards the neck and out to the shoulder across the top of the shoulder muscles. You can also use this C shaped technique to knead either side of the neck. Make sure you move right to the base of the skull to reach the hard-working muscles there. Use your non-kneading hand to support the forehead of the person if they are sitting. This will also allow you to work deeper into the neck.
Now the muscle is warmed, and adhesions have been broken up, the muscle needs to remember what it is like to lengthen. Think about a knot in a length of rope if you were to pull on that rope at either end it would never fully be its ultimate length as the knot would stop that from happening. This is just like a muscle adhesion which will stop the muscle from being able to contract properly (lose strength) and lengthen properly (increasing overload on the muscle leading to injury). Stretching is used successfully in many forms of massage, particularly Thai Massage. This is as close as you will get to home Thai Massage without the proper training. Move the joint gently for the person triggering the muscle to stretch. For example, if the person is lying face down, you can gently pull the arm above the head until you feel a barrier or the person tells you enough, then place the hand on the small of the back making a V shape with the arm. Support underneath the shoulder with one hand as you gently lift the elbow towards the spine and the ceiling, successfully stretching out tired office slumped shoulders.
JUST REMEMBER: A mixture of these above techniques will provide you with great results that can be easily shared with others without causing injury or harm. Just remember that your partner should never feel discomfort or pain, and if they do, you should stop immediately. Leave the deeper work for professionals who have put long hours of study into understanding muscles, fascia, nerves, tendons and ligaments and the way they interconnect to work on injury and long term Musculoskeletal dysfunction.
Make massage a career…
If you discover that you love giving massages and would like to turn it into a career, it’s time to enrol in the Diploma of Remedial Massage. In this remedial massage therapy course you will take a fascinating in-depth look into the function of the body and the body-mind connection to help people improve their quality of life.
Enrol in the Diploma of Remedial Massage at Demi International now.