If you’re not lucky enough to own a top of the line massage chair, such as the Kahuna Massage Chair Space-Saving Zero-Gravity Full-Body Recliner LM6800, then brushing up on massage tips for a beginner isn’t a bad idea, especially if your partner loves a massage after a long day at work or you’d like to learn how to do self-massage.
Key Takeaway: When giving a massage, communication can be very important. It allows you to determine how much pressure to use, what areas to focus on based on tightness and discomfort, and it helps you to learn what type of technique is the most effective.
Continue reading to learn more about how to give a great massage your partner will love.
What You’re Doing Wrong
You have the best intentions when you offer to give your partner a massage, but you find that your hands usually start to kill you about five minutes in. You’re probably wondering how a massage therapist is able to almost effortlessly give a massage for an hour. So, what’s the trick here?
Most beginners make the common mistake of applying too much hand strength as opposed to using their body weight. This can also have to do with your positioning. A great massage is more about the massager’s use of gravity and stance than it is about their grip.
Another common problem is using too much force, applying too much pressure. This can be affected by your position as well as your partner’s position.
Instead of trying to massage your partner when you’re sitting next to them on the couch or standing right beside them, have your partner sit on the floor while you sit in a chair or on the couch, or you can have them sit on the couch as you stand behind them. Your partner can also lie on the floor on a mat. Basically, you or your partner should sit or lie in a position that’s comfortable for both of you.
Click here to learn more about what happens during a massage.
Massage Oils and Lotions
Massage oils are very important when it comes to helping the massager’s hands to glide easily while also preventing uncomfortable friction. You can use massage oils, olive or almond oil, or even lotion. However, make sure you pour the oil or lotion directly in your hands instead of directly on their back, in order to void a serious mess.
A Firm, Gentle Touch
Avoid roughly grabbing muscles or pinching the skin. On TV people often get the mistaken impression that using more power behind a massage equals a more effective massage, but this definitely isn’t the case. Unless you’re trained in the art of shiatsu massage you’re going to want to start off using light pressure in order to avoid adding to your partner’s pain and discomfort.
Applying too much pressure or causing pain and discomfort when giving a massage. This can easily be prevented by using your whole hand to massage and keeping your fingers together. When massaging, start off by using softer strokes, which helps to warm up the muscles, prior to kneading them and working out tough knots.
Communication is Key
When working on your partner, remember to ask them if you’re using the right amount of pressure. Too much can leave the muscles feeling sore and can actually make for one uncomfortable massage. A massage shouldn’t feel painful. Instead, your partner should feel some pressure. If your partner wants a deeper massage instruct them to lean in more and use your body weight. To boost the intensity of the massage you can also use your knuckles. This can also really help when you’re trying to work out knots.
Neck and Shoulder Massages
This type of massage can work wonders when it comes to relieving stress and tension in the upper body.
The neck and shoulder massage is probably the most common because it’s where the body holds onto tension the most.
A neck and shoulder massage is also one of the easiest massages to give because you don’t have to be quite so careful regarding how much pressure you use. Often, using an increased amount of pressure is more effective because this area is prone to knots and general soreness.
To do, begin by making a loose fist, using the base of the hand to apply pressure to the shoulder and running your other hand up the side of the person’s neck until you’ve reached the base of the skull. Next, you’ll move back down and repeat on the other side without breaking contact with the skin. This should be done a couple of times on each side.
This is the next most common massage type requested and it can be more complicated than a neck and shoulder massage because there is so much more space to work on, which can mean more knots to work out. The back is more prone to injury compared to other areas of the body. Most people with physically demanding jobs will injure or strain their backs because they’re lifting with their backs as opposed to lifting with their legs. This can put the back under a lot of stress and often leaves a person sore and in pain.
Obviously, if a serious injury is a possibility, it’s best to avoid massaging the back until you or your partner has been assessed by a healthcare professional.
If back pain and discomfort is due to knots and general strain then a back massage can be the best way to help alleviate the pain quickly.
When massaging the back, begin by using the pads of your thumbs and the base of your hand to rub circles up and down the spine. This helps to warm up the muscles before you start working on the knots. During the massage, be careful not to press directly on the spine. Your partner can lean forward as you move down the spine if they want more pressure. For tense muscles, press both hands on your partner’s back, leaning in slowly in order to apply more pressure using your body weight.
Last of all, use a kneading motion using your whole hand to knead and squeeze the muscles along the spine, gently.
If you normally enjoy a good massage, but you can’t afford expensive weekly trips to a massage therapist, then learning how to give yourself a massage can be the next best thing.
To give yourself a good shoulder massage, use the hand opposite the shoulder you want to work on and bring it across the shoulder. Press gently into the shoulder, running your thumb along your neck. This should be repeated on the opposite side.
Using a pencil with an eraser, place your hand palm up, pressing the eraser first into the fleshy portions of the hand and move it in circles. You can go as deep as needed.
One of the best techniques you can use to relieve wrist pain involves pushing the hand back towards the elbow. This can be done several times throughout the day. You can also stretch the fingers and hands during this time to get the blood flowing and relieve tension and stiffness.
Giving yourself a back massage is actually pretty easy, as long as you have a stability ball or yoga ball lying around. To do, begin by lying on your back on the stability ball and roll around. This is a great way to align the spine. Doing this type of gentle massage often can also help you to improve your balance and can even improve core strength.
There’s no arguing that a foot massage can be pretty amazing, but if you can’t talk your partner into giving you one you can easily do it yourself. Before you begin rubbing your feet you should first start by soaking them in a tub of warm water with a little Epsom salt. This can do wonders in terms of relaxing the muscles in your feet before a massage. During a massage, you’ll need to use more pressure on the foot and arch, working your way toward the toes. Using firm pressure on your toes and a back and forth motion will instantly relieve any pain and discomfort in this area.