If you’re going to treat your partner or a friend to a massage, you probably want to do as effective of a job as possible. In order to improve your massage technique (and ensure your friend or partner has a completely indulgent experience), follow these tips.
Immediately digging into cold muscles with firm pressure can feel painful rather than relaxing. Start your massage with gentler strokes that barely sink into the tissue. Then, slowly add more pressure over time as the muscles warm up. Firmer strokes will feel better once the muscles have been warmed and loosened so the fibers can move past one another more easily. You should also finish your massage with more gentle strokes to let the muscles slowly cool down and relax again.
Concentrate on one area at a time.
If you bounce around from the shoulder, to the spine, to the neck, and back again, you’re probably not going to ensure each area is addressed equally. Also, the muscles will cool off and stiffen up each time you leave them for another muscle group, so that each time you come back to them, you’ll be starting at square one again. These problems can be avoided by working on one area at a time. For instance, you can start with the neck, then massage the right shoulder, then do the left, and then work your way down the back.
Don’t press into the bones.
You’re not meant to be massaging the bony areas — this will just be painful for your partner or friend and may even cause bruising. Be especially careful not to press on any of the vertebrae in the back or the shoulder blades. Concentrate on the “meaty” muscular areas only. After all, a massage is a treatment for the muscles — not the bones.
Use massage oil.
Your fingers will glide over the flesh more easily, allowing you to give a much more effective massage, if you use some sort of oil. While scented massage oil is nice, you can use plain olive or coconut oil if you don’t have time to run to the store. Even a few squirts of lotion is better than nothing. Warm the oil by aiming a hair dryer at it for a minute or two before you use it. Don’t heat it in the microwave or stove — you may make it too hot and burn your partner.
For a professional massage, contact an organization such as Minoru Massage Therapy Clinic Massage Therapy.