Massage is one of the oldest holistic healing powers in existence. Found and enjoyed throughout the entire world, massage can be used to relieve sore muscles and stress, to relax, to give comfort or simply to express love. Hippocrates, considered the “father” of medicine, wrote in the 5th Century BC, “Physicians must be experienced in many things but assuredly rubbing.”
Rubbing was the ancient word for massage. He thought the only way to be healthy was to have an aromatherapy bath and a massage daily. Sadly with the rise of Christianity the needs of the body were felt to be sinful, and massage something to be sniggered at and indulged in by men going to prostitutes. Thankfully today massage is given the respect and regard this holistic therapy deserves, and is enjoyed by women and men from all social classes and backgrounds.
Preparation as in most things is important.
Set the scene by firstly making sure the room is warm, somewhere where there will be no interruptions; close the curtains, light some candles, spread some warm blankets or a duvet on the floor and put some soft music on.
Before you massage make sure your hands are warm. It’s not a good start if your partner/friend jumps to the ceiling when your freezing cold hands touch their body. Rub the palms of your hands together to bring a little heat to the surface and then just before you touch your partner tell them you are about to, as a way of gaining their permission and also so that you don’t startle them.
Starting with a back massage follow the contours of the back from the base of the spine to the shoulders in an r shape. Ask your partner if the pressure you are using is Ok : “Would you like more/less pressure or is it just right?” Listen to your partner’s body with your fingers – it will let you know if there is any tension or tightness which could benefit from extra massage. Change your massage to small circular pressures and finish with simple strokes. Don’t worry if you have never massaged before as long as you both enjoy the experience.
Warning for massage oil techniques : never massage anyone who has inflamed swollen joints, has been operated on in the last 6 months, has an unhealed wound, is in the first three months of pregnancy or has or suspect they could have a terminal illness – without the written permission of their doctor.
Massage Oil techniques – Tips
- Hands should be relaxed and warm
- The direction of the massage should for most of the massage be in the direction of the heart
- Your hands should remain in contact with the body throughout the massage. It will disorientate your partner to keep taking your hands off and putting them back on their body.
Massage Oil Techniques and Strokes
Effleurage – this movement could be called stroking and is the most relaxing technique. You can use light pressure or deep pressure depending on the treatment and your client.
Tapotement – this movement is stimulating and warming to the skin. Form a hollow cup with the fingers flexed. This creates a slight vacuum within the palm when applied to the skin. Hit the skin as if you are smacking, the difference is that there should be no discomfort. This should only be applied to a healthy body.