Learn our 5 top tips for how to give a massage that will move your partner, friend, family member or whoever is lucky enough to be getting a massage, into a state of bliss.
The good news is that pretty much anyone can give a decent massage! And you can do it without feeling like your thumbs are going to fall off.
Five tips for a blissful massage
1. Use your full body to give your thumbs a break
You might want to start the massage using your thumbs for a neck, hand or foot massage, but when they start to hurt, try using the fleshy part of the your hand, where the thumb connects. Not only will this give your thumbs a break, the change for the person your massaging will feel good. You can also use your forearm to apply pressure, making sure you don’t lift your shoulder while doing so. If the person you’re massaging is lying on a softer surface, try using your knees to press onto their mid-calf, mid-thighs, and buttocks. This will allow you to apply more pressure to these stronger, larger muscles. Always check to make sure the if the pressure is not too much.
2. Get set up properly to use your body weight
Take time to get the person your massaging sitting or lying in a good position. This will make your job much easier and the experience more enjoyable for them. When doing a shoulder massage, have your patient sit on a chair so you can apply pressure downwards. Make sure you're not lifting your shoulders to give the massage. When using your knees to massage calves, thighs or buttocks, make sure your patient is lying on a soft surface and you're in a position where you can easily control the pressure you are applying by leaning on your arms.
3. Target the common problem areas
As most of us sit for long periods of time, lower back, legs and shoulders usually ache more than other body parts. These are the problem areas that are worth focusing on. It is wise to pulse or rock the body a little bit before applying pressure or even ask the person to shake the body gently, a jelly type shake, without any straining. The vibration created by this process helps the patient to release tension and let go of what’s causing the aches and strains.
4. Don’t neglect the head
As my gym trainer used to say to me, it’s not your body, it’s your mind that we're working on. Well, why not work on it directly with a relaxing head massage. Head massages are extremely beneficial, and they feel wonderful. The release of tension can give you goosebumps. Start by guiding the person to breathe slowly, then gently move the head to the sides, backwards and forward, supporting the forehead and the base of the skull. Try massaging the scalp using the shampooing movements, softly squeezing the skull with your hands, and gently brush and pull the hair with your finger tips.
5. Get creative and make use of your furniture
Having the right props can make all the difference. Use what you can to get yourself into a position to be able to apply the right amount pressure to the right spots. While giving a massage at home, have your patient either sit or ride on a chair, leaning on the back rest or leaning forward resting forearms and head on a table. You can use your bed when kneeling to apply pressure or even walk on the fleshy parts of the body. For a standing massage, if you're shorter than the person being massaged, try using an ottoman or a step so you can are in a position higher than them. This will make it easier to apply downward pressure which will make you much more effective at giving a massage.
So there you have it, 5 tips that will help you give a massage that your patient will never want you to stop. It’s a great way to connect and help the people you care about to relax, release tension and experience the many health benefits that massage provides. Your only problem may be that once they get a feel for your newly found skill, your massage services may become in high demand! Not a bad problem to have if you ask me ;)
Camelia Iordache is the owner-operator of Relache Holistic Body Therapy. She has 10+ years as a massage therapist and has trained in a range of techniques from deep tissue to aromatherapy massage. She is deeply passionate about using massage therapy for body and mind maintenance, to help people relax, get in flow and achieve a happy and health state.