The massage was practiced as far back as 400 BC as a means of alleviating many ailments and revitalizing tense and tired bodies. A good, rhythmic massage can have a pleasant and deeply relaxing effect. It is an excellent way of improving physical and mental well-being. Human touch can have a magical effect and can often be incredibly healing.
Note, however, that massage should not be given to pregnant women, to anyone who has a high temperature, sore joints or any kind of infection. An abdominal massage should not be given where there is inflammation or ulcers. Remember too, that massages should be enjoyable and not painful!
Environment: The room being used should be warm and well ventilated. There should be minimum disturbances while carrying out the message. Your hands should be warm before you start the massage. If using oil, pour it onto your hands first; don’t pour it directly onto the person’s body as this is not always pleasant.
As you massage, don’t break contact with the person’s body. Keep your movements continuous and flowing; help the person relax with the stokes by keeping a good rhythm. Use gentle strokes on bony areas and deeper strokes on more fleshy areas and always massage towards the heart. That is upward strokes on arms and legs.
Basic Massage Strokes
Your touch should be gentle and soothing; your aim is to soothe the nerves and induce relaxation. Use both hands when massaging large areas such as the abdomen, the trunk, and the back. Begin with gentle strokes and allow the pressure to slowly increase as you distribute oil and soothe the skin. This type of massage should be used at the beginning and end of every session. Long, smooth stokes help stimulate circulation.
This is a deep, invigorating massage stroke. Care must be taken not to bruise or injure the skin. Use every part of the hand in kneading, the fingers, the thumbs, and the palms should knead larger muscles but again, use gentle, not jerky movements. When massaging the limbs, both hands may be gradually moved upward in a series of movements known as squeezing. Use the thumbs and pads of your fingers to roll and knead the flesh in small, circular movements. This is an ideal massage stroke for relieving knots of tension in the shoulders.
A stimulating, hitting movement which is useful in fatty areas like the thighs and buttocks. Here, the edges of the hands are brought down in short, rapid strokes, first one hand and then the other. Pounding is a heavier form and this should be done by lightly closing your hands and applying your wrists, rhythmically but lightly on the skin.
This is for the treatment of sensitive areas. Use your hands as if you were playing the piano, allowing your fingers to massage in gentle tapping movements.
Massage is not always easy but in time, you will gain the skill which helps you give the right degree of pressure. The results, we are sure, will be enjoyable both for you and your partner!
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