How to Give a Massage
Learning how to give a massage that's relaxing, and provides pain-relieving health benefits for your family or friends can be easy and fun to learn. Headaches, muscle cramps, neck pain, and back soreness can all be eased with a few minutes of massage.
Therapists learn how to give massage in massage school, as well as how to perform a variety of massage techniques, but if you just want to learn how to massage a friend or family member when they hurt, we want to share great techniques that can help you...help them!
Step-by-step massage tips for :
- Upper Back Massage - types of massage for upper back pain around shoulders and neck, as well as mid back pain
- Lower Back Massage - how to massage to reduce pain associated with sciatica, piriformis syndrome, disc herniation,
inflammation, bone or joint conditions, pregnancy, kidney problems,
ovary problems and many other issues that cause back pain
- Neck Massage - often where headaches originate, how to massage and what trigger points to work
- Hand Massage - how to massage hands for pain of arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or just aching joints from overuse
- Foot Massage - how to massage for plantar fasciitis, heal pain, toe or joint pain, and reflexology tips
- Head Massage - how different types of head massage can help ease pain and stress, as well as sinusitis and TMJ symptoms
- Leg Massage - how to give a massage for muscle cramps, shin splints, hip pain and sprained ankle. Great for increasing circulation, decreasing edema (water retention) or loosening muscles due to cramping.
- Abdominal Massage - types of massage therapy often used for women with
fertility issues, those who suffer from constipation, or babies with
- Face Massage - teaches different types of massage for the face using circular movements around
the temples, neck, cheekbone, mouth, and across the forehead.
You may also be interested in learning how to massage a family pet with hip dysplasia, scar tissue from surgery, or just to help him/her relax and de-stress from a traumatic event.
Steps for Full Body Massage
- Start the massage with a gentle 3-5 second touch. Either start at
the top of the arms or cradle the face with your hands on each side,
just a gentle touch for a few seconds.
- Use warm massage oils, lotions or cream. Warmth tends to instantly relax your client.
- Begin the massage at the shoulders and move hands around
deltoids, curling hands to the back, using light pressure at the
rhomboids, and move up the back of the neck.
- Concentrate on upper trap muscles for a few minutes and move to
the back of the neck, paying extra attention to the muscles at the base
of the skull. Continue neck massage for 1-2 minutes, working each side.
- Gently pull the head toward you and then move your index and
middle finger to add pressure to the occipitals, one side at a time.
When learning about how to give a massage, learning relaxing face and scalp massage is critical!
- Gently move to the back of the ears. Massage lightly
4-5 repetitions (both sides at the same time). Now, gently pull the ears
at the lobe.
- Now, slowly move to the face. Start face massage by massaging temples for a few seconds, and move on do circular motions on the clients forehead
- Add light pressure at sinuses as you move down toward the
cheekbones. Use thumb and index finger to move slowly along jawline.
- End the upper shoulder/face massage with scalp massage for 2-3 minutes
- Arm massage should include slightly deeper massage
around the deltoids and back of arm. Remember to pull or "milk" each
finger and pay special attention to the muscles between thumb and index
- Massage the underside of the arm- not just the top.
Legs and Feet
- As you do leg massage,
be sure to include the hip area. Many therapists just do not work hips
at all. If you are just learning how to give a massage, start adding hip
massage to your routine now, and you won't even think about it, it will
always just be routine.
- As you end your leg massage routine, gently give
the leg a pull, stretching hip muscles slightly. Then, gently move your
hands to lift the underside of the leg as you move back to the top of
the leg. Do this for upper leg and lower leg (when client is in both
prone and supine position).
- When doing the foot massage,
slide your fingers (one finger between each toe) and gently pull at the
ball of the foot. It feels so good and it's a simple move.
- Be sure to pull the leg at the end of the leg
massage. It helps to stretch the muscles in the low back and hip. When
learning about how to give a massage, it's really important to remember lower back massage techniques because so much stress is held in this area.
Steps for Back Massage
- Using both thumbs together, begin the back massage at the top of shoulder and add light pressure down the back along the spine. Repeat 3 times for left side, and do the same when you move to right.
- Take your first three fingers and add pressure, again running down the back along spine. Repeat 3 times, and do the same when you move to the right.
- Using your forearm and very light pressure, move forearm along the shoulder blade (between blade and spine).
This is a very important point when learning how to give a massage...Do not add direct pressure with elbow!
Do this 3 times on each side.
as you move through the massage, gradually begin the lower back
massage. Using both of your entire hands, add sustained pressure to the
low back area just above the sacrum.
- Use circular motions on the low back area.
- Starting at the low back, using the palms of hands, push upwards toward the neck, along the spine.
- Next, work neck area with massage to each side, adding more pressure at top of neck /base of the skull. Neck pain is very common anymore, with so many people working on computers all day, so be sure to work these muscles very well.
- Sweeping motions are always great at the end of a
massage. Use forearms to sweep downward, along the spine, pull skin
lightly toward spine, and then a long, flowing sweep to the neck and
base of the skull.
- Use your last few seconds to give the client a nice scalp and head massage on the back of the head.
- If possible, use massage stones when giving back massage. They warm the muscles easily and tend to really relax your client!
This DVD, Therapeutic Massage at Home
teaches how to give a massage to family or friends if you
want to just learn basic skills for giving massage in a home setting,
rather than actually going to massage school to learn.
Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage from How to Give a Massage