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How to massage

How do I give someone a massage?

5190 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
There are many massage techniques, but the type most people are familiar with is traditional "Swedish" massage.

You are not a massage therapist. Do not give a massage to someone who receives massage therapy due to injuries or lymphadema without consulting their therapist: failure to do so may cause nerve damage. If the person you are massaging has back pain coupled with injury or illness, consult a doctor. I am not writing this for liability reasons: You can cause serious injury if you work on someone who is susceptible to nerve damage.

Swedish massage can be broken down into three steps:

1. Effleurage: Make long, light strokes that help relax the muscle. This helps get circulation going on the surface, and lets the person receiving the massage relax.

2. Petrissage: Press down hard enough that you can feel the muscle, and move across the tissue and around the edges using your fingers or arm. This can be done in straight or circular motions.

3. Tapotement: These are percussive movements over muscles, either by "cupping" with the hands, or "hacking" like a karate chop. All of these techniques should be done with movements that start at the wrists to avoid using too much force. Never perform tapotement over the kidneys. If you are aiming to completely relax someone, skip this movement.

The hands should glide along the skin, not drag. Use massage oils to decrease friction, but go lightly as too much will prevent you from putting pressure on muscles. Avoid placing direct pressure on bones.

You can see some of these moves demonstrated here:

What are these toxins she's talking about?

When your muscle tissue is damaged, the body releases a protein pigment called myoglobin. Along with making meat red, it also can be toxic. Massages release this compound from the muscles, as well as lymph fluid, the trash that your lymphatic system filters out of your blood.

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