tagHow ToBasic Massage Considerations

Basic Massage Considerations


This is a very general guide showcasing a few basic tips and techniques to give a relaxing massage. If you are interested in anything further, please seek out an accredited school for massage therapy. There are good schools in most areas that will be more than happy to have another student.

We will be covering a few topics that can change the entire face of the massage and will have an impact on the end effect. First is positioning of the recipient. This includes the environment. A quick chair massage on the corner of a busy street will have a different feel from an hour session in a darkened, quiet room. We will concentrate on the latter, as they tend to be both more relaxing and a bit more sensual. This is an erotica site, after all. The most relaxing environment for most people is actually fairly similar to what most consider to be romantic—a room with the harsh light blocked, perhaps with a low wattage lamp or a few candles burning, or with window shades and curtains drawn to mute the light of the outdoors. Temperature should be set at a level that's comfortable for a naked person without being too warm for you. It's very possible to literally work up a sweat if the temperature is just a degree or two too warm. Soft, soothing music or nature sounds can add to the overall effect. Another option is to set up outdoors, preferably in a screened area. A sudden mosquito attack has ruined more than one good massage.

It's also important to have a good working surface. This should be stable and hard enough to hold up to quite a bit of pressure without breaking, yet soft enough to be comfortable for the person being worked. My personal table has been tested for over 500 pounds of working pressure. Even weighing just over 100 pounds, I have been known to put nearly 300 pounds of pressure on a person. This in addition to their weight adds up quickly. Whatever surface you use should be sturdy enough to handle this. It should also be at a comfortable height. A good height for most people is at about crotch level. When the client lays down at that height, your hands will generally rest at just under waist level. Something in that general area will allow you to put downward pressure on a person fairly easily without having to bend and strain your back. The working surface should be covered. If your room is a bit cool, an electric blanket on a low setting covered by a sheet is a nice touch. Your client would lay on top of that, then be covered by another sheet and possibly a light blanket.

Once your area is set up, positioning your client is fairly simple. They should be between the layers of sheets and laying in a way that is comfortable to them. If on their stomach, it can be useful to tuck a pillow under their ankles. This provides support for the ankle joints, and will put less strain on them while you work on their calves and hamstrings. If on their back, tuck the pillow under their knees. This will keep strain off of their lower back, hips, and knees. They should be under at least one sheet, possibly more if the room is cool. It's better to have the inconvenience of having to fold back a sheet to keep them comfortable and warm than to have them chilly and unhappy.

Also take into consideration what type of lubricant would be best. There may be a reaction to certain types. For example, if the person you're working on is allergic to nuts, it would be best to avoid almond oil and lotions that contain nut bits. If they are prone to acne (or backne) it's better to use something a little less greasy and no oils whatsoever. I personally prefer to use either pure jojoba oil or a crème made by Massage FX. Both have a pleasant scent, and neither have caused any sort of reaction so far. No matter what kind of lubrication you decide upon, please remember that you are not greasing a pig. Use it sparingly. Enough oil or lotion to make your hands glide smoothly feels good. Swimming in puddles of the stuff does not. It's easier to add than it is to take away.

It feels better to the person you're working on if the oil is heated slightly before touching their body. A simple but effective approach is to squirt a small amount into your palm, then rub your hands together. It serves a dual purpose—to heat the oil and to lubricate your hands. This is important, as most of relaxation massage is a gliding stroke, not a rough pounding (tapotement) or kneading (petrissage). It's difficult for your hands to glide smoothly over the skin without proper lubrication, and the rough feel can be less than pleasant.

Your hands are your tools in massage. Each shape your hands make can be used as a different tool. The two that are easiest to use are the heel of your hand and a loose fist. These are fairly self explanatory. The heel of hand is an open hand, with the palm following directly behind the fingers. Turn your hand to lead with the side of your hand for another tool. If you fold your fingers in to the palm of your hand loosely and use the part of your fingers between the first and second knuckle, this is referred to as the loose fist. These are used to make broad strokes along the muscles. Each has a different feel, but does essentially the same thing. Another broad tool is often referred to as the 'double V' and consists of using both hands as one. Simply move your thumb out from your palm to form a V shape, then tuck the heel of your other hand into the space made. It's a natural motion for the second thumb to open out and lay against the pointer finger of the other hand, making the second V shape.

Any of these are good for your first stroke. It's better to start with either heel of hand or side of hand, however, as you can lay down one edge of the tool and roll the rest of your hand down onto the skin from there instead of slapping an open hand or fist onto the person you're working on. It's a little more pleasant for them. Any of these can be used either with or against the grain of the muscle, depending on how you would like the stroke to feel. It tends to be more relaxing to go with the muscle grain.

After the first few strokes it's important to find a nice working pressure. It should be comfortable both for you—no need to hurt your joints—and your client. I've found that most people are comfortable with a pressure that allows your hands to sink into their flesh slightly. If you were to push down and forward in a long stroke their skin and muscles would bulge slightly, or make a small 'hill' in front of your hand. Always ask to make sure this is comfortable for the person being worked on. Some people can not take that type of pressure for any number of reasons.

This is the time in which you should try to feel for any little bands or lumps that feel as if they should not be there. Some of them are pretty obvious, others are more subtle. One indication of a possible problem area is reddening of the skin, caused by increased blood flow to the area. When you run across an area that needs extra work it is necessary to judge the general size of it. Large bands are usually found in the lower back and legs. These can be worked out with the tools already explained used in a repetitive hand over hand motion. Simply concentrate on the lump or band of tissue. Smaller lumps and bands usually need a narrower tool such as a fingertip or thumb. The narrow tools go deeper into the tissue using the same amount of pressure, so a bit of extra care is needed when they are used. They can be used with the same tool-over-tool motion as the broad strokes, or can be concentrated in a smaller area using a circular motion, such as what you would do on the hands and feet.

Some precautions do have to be made. Ensure your pressure is all right. You don't want to bruise a person, or possibly cause a more serious injury, by pushing down too hard. There are also a few areas to avoid due to the way the human body is built. The area around the belly button, the front of the neck, the bend of the elbow, the armpit area, the bend of the knee, and the groin area should all be generally avoided. If you do go over these areas use a light touch to avoid injury. Most of these areas also contain lymph nodes, which can be hurt fairly easily.

From this point massage is more an exercise in learning what you like and what the person you're working on enjoys. Each person is different, and what is pleasurable can change from moment to moment. Use what you have, play, experiment, and have fun with it. You never know where a good rubdown might lead.

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