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A Basic Guide To Massaging The Body

A Basic Guide To Massaging The Body

Have you ever been interested in learning the different techniques used in aromatherapy massage? This film will give you a basic introduction to these techniques and give you an insight into the power of touch. Sit, back and watch this video about massaging before relaxing to the massage techniques described.

Step 1: You will need

  • Massage oil (sweet almond oil or something similar)
  • sheet (to catch any excess oil)
  • Towels (to help cover the person)
  • Pillows or cushions (to help support the person)
  • Massage table, mattress or matt

Step 2: Getting started

Massage can be done just about anywhere, but it is much easier to relax a person if you find an area that is quiet, softly lit, and warm. You can even light some candles or play some soft music to help set the mood. Most people don't have access to a massage table, so the next best thing would be a mattress or find a open space on the floor with some sort of carpet or matting.

The most important thing to remember is that the person being massaged should be as comfortable as possible to enhance the relaxation and deepen the benefits of the work.

To begin, undrape the part of the body we are going to massage. Put some oil in a cupped hand and warm it by rubbing the hands together.

Step 3: Stroking

Apply the oil using long smooth strokes with open hands, making sure it is spread evenly. This is one of the most basic techniques, but also the most used. It is an opportunity to find out where there are any tension spots or sensitive areas, and it also serves as a smooth transition between the other techniques. You can vary the tempo and the pressure to explore the range of sensations, but it is generally recommended to use the greater pressure towards the centre of the body.

Step 4: Lifting

Now that you've applied the oil, you'll begin lifting the muscle to free up any stuck fibres. With the hands parallel, grasp and lift the muscles with the little finger side of the hands. Try to keep in contact with the person at all times, even when “letting go” at the top of the lift. Move the hands in towards the person's centre and repeat. When you reach the draping, stroke back down and start again. You can also lift with the individual hands which is useful on the smaller parts of the body.

Step 5: Friction

Once again stroke down from the body, and you'll begin applying friction to the muscle, in this case by twisting. Let one hand reach around while the other stays on the side closest to you. With a fluid motion, bring the far hand close while reaching around with the other. Friction is very close to stroking, but usually a bit deeper, moving the fibres of the muscle. Move towards the centre then back down again. When you find a tight muscle or knot, you can be more specific, often using thumb strokes to apply friction the tension area.

Step 6: Pressure points

If friction doesn't reduce a knot, slow direct pressure can help ease the tightness. You want to feel the force coming from our own centre as we gradually increase the pressure, hold it up to 8 seconds and then release. Never apply strong pressure to joints, major blood vessels or the spine itself. Usually the thumb is the best way to apply specific pressure, keeping it straight in line with the arm, but other fingers can be used, or even a knuckle or an elbow with practice. Remember it is very important to communicate with the person to make sure you are using the appropriate amount of pressure.

Step 7: Percussion

By this time, the muscles are starting to loosen up, increasing the blood flow and allowing the nervous system to perform the body's self maintenance. Start gently tapping the muscles, using the little finger side of loose fists. You can change the tempo and pressure depending on the part of the body, as well as opening the hand and using a “karate chop” or using the finger tips on sensitive areas like the face and head.

Finish the body part with more stroking, gradually letting the hands break contact. Re-drape, and move to the next area. By using these 5 techniques on the arms, legs, stomach, back and head you can give a complete full body massage.