Massage therapists have enjoyed successful careers throughout human history; but it was not until modern times that comprehensive training programs in the field existed. With professional training, massage therapists can help clients work towards healthier, more relaxed bodies that are spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced. Massage therapy certification is provided by reputable schools across the U.S.; classes cover new and old massage techniques. Schools teach massage techniques from around the world. Swedish massage is the most popular, but classes in acupressure, chair massage, and deep tissue massage also instruct students in techniques for helping to heal the body and correct chronic conditions and injuries.
I am always surprised by the number of people who carry tension in their chests. Bad posture; sitting cramped over a desk; hunching over a steering wheel; certain sports, such as golf; and illnesses such as asthma, can all cause strain and tension in chest muscles. The chest muscles shorten and contract, causing the muscles in the upper back to become overstretched. This results in rounded shoulders and tight, inflexible muscles in the neck and shoulders. Massage can really help to stretch and relax the chest muscles, and thus alleviate aching in the upper back and neck. Working on the muscles between the ribs can help to straighten out the shoulders.
Continue the chest and shoulder massage with gentle stroking movements. This will gentle stroking movement. This will disperse the oil and soothe the area at the same time. Spread the oil by stroking the whole chest and shoulder area with firm, flowing movements. Start with your hands next to each other, just below the clavicle at the base of her neck. Stroke down the chest toward the breast or nipple, keeping the pressure smooth but firm. Then fan out your hands and, keeping them relaxed, glide out across the chest toward the shoulders. Making sure your hands mold to the contours of your partner's body, stroke over the shoulders. Cup your hands over the shoulders and gently press the shoulders toward the feet or down onto the floor.
Although massage has been around for centuries in Eastern cultures, it didn't really take off in the West until the 19th century. Under the influence of a Swedish physiologist and fencing master, Pir Henrik Ling (1776-1839), a system was developed that combined massage with physical exercise. This became known as Swedish massage, and is still the basis for most massage practiced in the West today. Ling gave French terms to many of the movements he devised, and they are still in use today: effleurage (stroking); petrissage (kneading); frictions (circular pressures); and tapotement (percussion). In order to keep everything simple I will use the translations as these are the words I have used throughout the book.
Massage is practiced all over the world by many different cultures. Simply speaking, it can be divided into two main types, or systems, depending on whether it originates in the West or the East. Most of the massage done in developed countries is based on so-called Swedish massage, which started as a form of physiotherapy in the early 19th century. A different system that involves softly palpating the skin is known as manual lymphatic drainage. Passive movements Clasp the toes with one hand and give the ankle some support with the other. Slowly rotate the foot a few times, then flex the toes gently backward and forward. Holding the ankle with one hand, raise the leg and bend the knee forward, supporting the thigh with your other hand.
The type of massage you use depends on the intensity of the headache and what your partner prefers. You can use very gentle feather stroking or deep firm pressure. It is generally best to start with slow, superficial stroking and then as the pain subsides and your partner relaxes and feels confident of your touch, you can apply firm pressures to key points. Although every headache is different, I find that I get the best results by following this general pattern. Always use smooth, rhythmic, and compassionate movements. Stroke up the forehead very gently and slowly, then rhythmically stroke the chest and shoulders, and up the back of the neck. Apply circular pressures behind the shoulders, up the back of the neck on either side of the spine, at the base of the skull, and on the scalp.
Good face massage can soothe away anxiety, headaches, and exhaustion, and replace them with a feeling of serenity and well-being. It can leave people looking and feeling years younger. By stimulating circulation, a face massage gives a healthy, vibrant glow to the complexion, and by relaxing taut muscles, it rids the face of weariness. Head massage is the perfect complement to face massage, and the result is relaxation in every part of the body. A thin layer of muscle covers the skull, which tightens when we are tense, leading to headaches and stress. A head massage can relax this muscle and generally ease tension and anxiety throughout the body. Stroke away your worries A face massage can literally stroke away tension.
As you approach the end of the face massage, you should go back to stroking. Place one of your hands across the forehead and stroke up toward the hairline, molding your hand around the forehead. Lift your hand away and begin stroking with your other hand, returning the first hand to start again. For the final touch, cup your hands over the forehead. Hold them still for a couple of seconds, then slowly and gently press down. Hold the pressure for a moment then release it very gradually so that your hands lift slowly away from the forehead. This simple technique seems to consolidate the whole face massage, and it feels as though you are pulling out the last vestiges of tension from the body.
Now move down to pay attention to the neck and jawline. Working with both of your hands on one side, stroke with one hand firmly up the neck from the shoulder to the ear. Then, lift your hand away and start stroking with your other hand on the same side. Repeat this move six times on each side. Continue stimulating the jawline by patting and slapping under the chin. Use the ring and middle fingers of each of your hands to slap under the jaw. This is a bouncy percussion movement, which should stimulate but not sting. A cheeky little massage Now move up the face slightly to the cheeks. Make small, upward circular movements around the mouth with the tips of your middle fingers.
Being one of the greatest sources of tension in the whole body, the neck can benefit hugely from a good massage. Bad posture, stress, drafts, and poor working conditions can all cause neck pain, but even the sheer weight of your head can often cause your neck to ache. As with chest and shoulder massage, work standing or kneeling behind your partners head. Side stroking Your partner should be lying on his or her back. Using both of your hands together, stroke one side of the base of your partner's neck. Lean slightly toward the side you are working on, and stroke with one hand from the shoulder up the neck to the base of the skull. As your hand reaches the ear, follow the movement with your other hand.