Massage Top
 
Massage is the practice of applying pressure or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints. As a form of therapy, massage can be applied to parts of the body or successively to the whole body. It is used to heal injury, relieve psychological stress, manage pain,
improve circulation and relieve tension.
 
"Therapeutic massage therapy" or "manipulative therapy",  is the term often used to denote instances where massage is used for its physical and psychological benefits.
 
Massage Basics
The environment in which individuals are massaged can add to or detract from their overall experience.  To maximize the experience the giver should:-

- Wash their hands.
- Take off jewellery, particularly  rings.
- Cut their nails, ensuring that there are no uneven edges.
- Shake their hands and wrists to relax them.
- Discuss their plan of action with the receiver as this information will reduce the likelihood of surprises, which can
  be unsettling and increase the level of relaxation and comfort.
- Avoid massaging:
        - anyone who has arthritis
        - the abdomen of anyone who is pregnant.
        - areas:
               - with broken skin
               - with recent scars
               - with any swelling
               - with varicose veins
               - with warts
               - that itches
               - is sensitive
               - that causes discomfort
- Persuade the recipient to tell you what is enjoyable and also what is uncomfortable.
- Talk only when required as this can decrease mutual concentration.
- Ensure they are kneeling, standing or sitting in a comfortable position.
- Keep their back straight and move through their pelvis.
- Use a lubricating oil to void friction, choices vary from massage oils one containing rich plant extracts to
  something as simple as baby oil.
- Always warm the oil by rubbing it in their hands prior to applying it.
 
Types of Massage
Whole Body Massage Techniques

 

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Massage Strokes
The best technique is to start gently and superficially, then slowly increase the pressure until you have gone deep enough to pass through the muscle layers to the joints below.  If you decide to break contact e.g. to replenish the oil or move to a different location, make sure that you do this slowly, reducing the pressure in stages,  until you once again are making gentle contact.  To re-establish contact, repeat the process described above.
 
There are four basic massage strokes. They are described below in ascending order of pressure applied.

• Light (Effleurage) consists of stroking movements. Effleurage movements commence and complete a massage routine,  they are applied with the entire palm of the hand and commence with superficial strokes.  The hand should contour to the shape of the area under treatment and exert equal pressure over the entire contact area. The thumb and fingers are kept closed together in a flexible manner.
• Light Pressure (Petrissage) strokes consists of compression movements. These include kneading, skin rolling, frictions with finger or thumb and wringing. Petrissage movements are performed with intermittent pressure either with one or both hands. The pressure is smoothly and firmly applied, then relaxed. The movement is then progressed to an adjacent area and is then repeated.
The pressure used should be varied in accordance with the purpose of the massage and the bulk of the tissues under treatment. The rhythm and rate of the movement are equally important as the pressure is applied intermittently. Care must be taken to avoid pinching the skin at the end of the strokes.

• Penetrating (Tapotement) strokes include beating, pounding, cupping and hacking. All these movements are stimulating and should only be used if a general toning effect is required from the massage rather than relaxation. Cupping is performed with hands forming a loose cups which rhythmically strike the body. Beating is when the hands are formed into loose fists dropping from shoulder level to strike the client's body. hacking is a light and fast movement performed with the hands at right angles to the wrists. The fingers touch and leave the skin's surface very rapidly with the outer three fingers of each hand the most involved. Hacking his very stimulating both to the circulation and to the sensory nerve endings. Be as firm as you can without hurting.

•  Vibrations strokes include thumb vibrations and finger vibrations. They are fine light fluttering movements performed on or along the nerve path e.g. along the length of the spine by the fingers or the thumb.

Whole Body Massage Techniques

 

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