How to Give a Massage ...
relaxing techniques for face, scalp, neck, back, leg and feet!

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 massage in school, as well as how to perform a variety of 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 colic.
  • 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 of how to give a massage:

  1. 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.
  2. Use warm massage oils, lotions or cream. Warmth tends to instantly relax your client.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. Add light pressure at sinuses as you move down toward the cheekbones. Use thumb and index finger to move slowly along jawline. Repeat twice.
  9. End the upper shoulder/face massage with scalp massage for 2-3 minutes 

Arms/Hands

  1. 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 finger
  2. Massage the underside of the arm- not just the top. 

Legs and Feet

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Now, 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.
  5. Use circular motions on the low back area.
  6. Starting at the low back, using the palms of hands, push upwards toward the neck, along the spine.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Use your last few seconds to give the client a nice scalp and head massage on the back of the head.
  10. 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

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