Massage is a fine art, it requires years of training and dedication to master it fully. It can be difficult to get right, but even if you are a beginner there is plenty you can do to improve the massage experience for yourself and the person you are treating. Whether you are practicing a specific massage or any other variation, you will hopefully find something here to improve your overall technique. If you’re targeting the shoulders, back, feet or legs, here is a list of the best massage tips you may not have known about:
Think about the location. Setting is key- you want it soothing and ambient, with a little mood lighting and perhaps some soft music. Whatever you can think of to make the other person comfortable. Make sure your phone is switched off- you don’t want any unnecessary distractions- and ensure the temperature is warm and pleasant. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of the atmosphere in creating an initial relaxed sensation conducive to relieving tension.
Keep your fingers together and your palms flat. This is the recommended approach for novice masseurs because it allows you to warm up the muscles and build up pressure, without the risk of pinching or causing any unnecessary discomfort. It will enable you to create friction and relieve tension in the tissue, but as you get into it and the pressure increases, you will then be able to start flexing those fingers and really digging into the muscles.
You’re going to need oil. But choose wisely! Finding the right oil or lotion for your massage is a delicate task- it can make or break the massage experience. It’s all about reducing friction, but you should also avoid excessive slipperiness, because this will make it more difficult for you to gauge pressure. If you are going for a scented option, make sure you select something that’s not too bold. Coconut or lavender are both pleasant without coming on too strong. And lastly, it’s always recommended that you keep the oil in your palms a moment or two to warm it up, to make sure that first contact is not chilly or uncomfortable.
There are some areas to avoid. Foremost among these is the neck, which is essentially a narrow tangle of arteries and nerves- it’s highly sensitive and not to be messed with. Go gentle on the lower back, too- there’s a lot of sensitivity around the kidneys. Generally speaking, take note if your massage partner complains of any tingling or numbness in the limbs. That usually means you are hitting the wrong spots and need to readjust.
Relax. It’s important to keep your own muscles nice and loose. If you are comfortable this will improve your overall massage technique, and your massage partner will really feel the difference. It’s also good to ensure you don’t over-stretch yourself or cause any unnecessary strain. After all, if you over-exert yourself in the act, you are defeating the purpose of massage: to foster wellbeing.
Choose the right one: If you are interested in just getting a massage you have to make sure you choose the right one for your specific needs. Every massage has a specific duty that it fulfills towards your body, so if you just want a relaxation then go for a deep tissue massage, if you want a post workout one then go for a muscle relaxation massage, if you just want an overall whole body one then go for a traditional Hong Kong massage, there are so many different techniques and things you need to keep in mind with this because if you do, then you can hit the spot every time with ease.
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