Massage is a non-addictive tranquilizer with absolutely no harmful side-effects. It relieves aches, pains and tensions and unknots the tangled muscles at the end of the day, and as the body relaxes so does the mind. But it seems strange that most of the people still consider massage slightly shocking, permissible for athletes or medical purposes. Perhaps it has something to do with the rather dingy associations with dubious massage parlors, but massage is something which we all ought to learn how to do. There is nothing strange or mystique, no lying on of hands, but a simple, warm extension of human care and touch. However, there are different kinds of massage techniques which have therapeutic effects on human body.
Different Kinds of Massage Techniques: How to Massage
Work in a warm, well-ventilated room and as the person, you are going to massage to lie on a firm bed or a mattress on a table or the floor. Be sure that you are working at the right height. You must be comfortable. If you are bending too low over someone your back you will feel tired and ache. It will surely spoil the flow of the massage movements. If you are working on the floor, kneel down beside the mattress and you will be able to put your whole body into the massage. Wear comfortable clothes and either low heels or, better still, work in bare feet. Obviously, if you are massaging yourself, take off all your clothes and get really comfortable. Remove any jewelry that you are wearing or from the person you are massaging if it is likely to snag or scratch and, although your fingernails don’t need to be short, make sure they have no rough edges. Both you and your subject should be relaxed appropriately before you start work. Deep breathing or music is helpful. If you are not relaxed, your movements will feel stiff and jerky to the person under your hands. But if you are relaxed, your subject will be able to relax, too.
Warm and loosen your hands by rubbing them together and shaking them. Put on oil to ensure that they move smoothly without dragging the skin; a little light vegetable oil will do.
Different kinds of massage techniques involve using different parts of your body. You should use your whole body when you massage, not just your hands and wrists, or you will tire very quickly and the massage will be taut and jerky. If your work with your whole body it gives a stronger, but less rigid, pressure which is less likely to hurt. Use a strong pressure, the person you are massaging will soon tell you if it is too strong; light massage will only tickle and irritate and cause more tension, which defeats the object of the exercise. Keep your hands relaxed and supple so that they can adapt to the size, scale and contours of the body they are working on. Really feel the body, don’t just touch it. A good massage flows from one movement to the next, with hands in continuous contact with the body. Never move hands jerkily or lift them suddenly or you will lose the flow and irritate your subject. Massage should both soothe and stimulate, so change the movements to give a variation of pace and pressure and glide imperceptibly from one movement to the next, touching with rhythmic continuity. To get from one place to another fill in with basic stroking and circling so there are no abrupt changes. Practice your technique with a friend and criticize each other until you get the right flow and strength to your movements. You will find it tiring work, but well worth the effort once you have mastered it.
Warnings: Never massage
- yourself or anyone else on a full stomach.
- the stomach of a pregnant woman
- any varicose veins
- any part of the body you know to be weak or injured
- anyone undergoing medical treatment
- anyone with a temperature
- a cardiac patient
- skin that is infected or inflamed scarred or bruised.
Stop if any pain is experienced. The rule to remember is “When in doubt, don’t massage.”
Different Kinds of Massage Techniques: Basic Massage Movements
Variety is the key to a good massage. Different kinds of massage techniques apply a range of movement and variety of pace, strength, and size of the movement. Below is a list of the most useful massage movements. Try to learn and use them all, for a thorough, satisfying and really effective result.
Stroking and Circling:
This movement is exactly as the name implies. Keep your hands easy and relaxed and just stroke up the limb or the body toward the heart. Do it gently or firmly. It will stimulate the blood flow and soothe and relax. Use it first of all to apply oil to the part of the body you are going to massage. Then work varying the rhythm, size, and strength of the storks. Move from large, flowing, basic strokes, using the whole hand in sweeping, flowing movements, to smaller circles with alternating hands, or stronger movements using both hands placed one on top of the other, or stroke with flats of hands in opposing directions, crisscrossing strongly over the body.
Pretend you are kneading bread; pick up flesh and squeeze it. It is like pinching but a larger movement using the whole hand, pressing the fat between the fingers and the palm of the hand and thumb. Used properly it stretches and relaxes tight, contracted muscles. It also improves circulation and helps to eliminate fatigue. If it is strong and deep it is an effective aid to sport reducing.
This movement is exactly as it sounds. It involves firm pressure with the fingers, running backward and forwards across tense muscles as though you were picking out a tune or playing scales.
This massage is the same as kneading, but using thumb and forefingers only.
Using thumb or fingertips, these are small circling movements using a rather firm pressure.
Hacking, Pounding, Clapping or Cupping:
All of these are brief, brisk, rhythmic, bouncy movements applied with alternate hands to stimulate the flow of blood to the surface and help to break down fat. Hacking is done with the sides of the hands, with fingers straight but loose and relaxed. Try the movement on a table or gauge the strength you should use; if it does not hurt you, it shouldn’t hurt the person you are massaging either. Pounding means using the side or flat of the fist, either loosely or more firmly clenched. Cupping or clapping is putting a cupped hand downwards on the flesh to give a loud clapping sound. Vary the speed and strength of all these movements, but do not use in an area where there are broken veins.
Wringing and squeezing: Work with both hands, imagining that you are wringing out a cloth. Pick up the fat, twist and squeeze it. This movement is especially good for shifting the surplus fat that collects on thighs and upper arms and around the waist.
Different Kinds of Massage Techniques: Lifting a Headache
There are different kinds of massage techniques for lifting a headache. Here are four invaluable methods of lifting a headache. Unfortunately, you cannot do them for yourself. So teach them to your husband or a friend so that you too can get relief. Massage is far better for you than taking aspirin and much more pleasant. A dark and quiet room is ideal for doing these movements.
- Place both hands on the top of the head and stroke the hair and head lightly with outspread fingertips. Bring the hands down to the end of the hair, flick them off and begin again, this time from the front of the head. Repeat both movements for several minutes.
- Place thumbs on top of each other and press down firmly, making a series of small pressures from the bridge of the nose, up across the center of the forehead, continuing in a line over the head and down to the base of the skull.
- Cup hands one over the other and press down firmly on the forehead, release, and press down again. Repeat several times.
- Run your fingers through the hair, pulling it gently but firmly towards you.
Different Kinds of Massage Techniques: Back Massage Techniques
Among different kinds of massage techniques back massage techniques are fundamental. We feel most tensions up and down the spine, in and around the shoulders and the nape of the neck, and at the base of the spine. Thus the most critical part of the massage is the back. Once this is relaxed, all tautness is gone and knotted muscles smoothed, the person you are massaging will be well on the way to feeling completely relaxed all over.
Back massage movements: Back massage movements are mostly from circles and triangles. Circles sweep right up from the base of the spine to circle the shoulder blades. You can apply smaller circular movements on the buttocks and shoulder blades separately. Circles also move up from the buttocks, out across the pelvis, up the back, and over the shoulders. Small rotary thumb movements flow the arrowed lines up both sides of the spine, from the top of the buttocks up towards the waist, from the top of the spine out to the shoulders, and up the back of the neck on to the skull. Supplement these movements with lots of circling an d stroking. Kneading, wringing and pummeling any bulges of surplus fat.
Massaging someone else should be hard work, but it is also a warm and satisfying experience. You must use different kinds of massage techniques to get the best result. You have to use your to the whole body to give strength and flow to the various movements, so wear comfortable clothes and kick your shoes off. Always warm and oil your hands first. Changes of pace and pressure are the secrets of a good massage. Keep your hands in continuous contact with the body.
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