If you are looking for ways to relax more a great option is to schedule a nice professional massage once a week. If you do not have the time and do not want to invest that much money, or simply are searching for something a little more time flexible and spontaneous another way to get you to relax more often would be to partner up with one of your loved ones and learn a few simple massage techniques yourself!
Yes, it might not be as good as a 60 or 90-minute massage in a spa or wellness salon. But you could easily use it while watching a nice movie with your loved ones. Or maybe just a few minutes before you go to sleep. Maybe you could spend your lunch break giving a quick but nice hand massage to your co-worker and have him/ her give you a hand massage as well.
The more you are relaxed, the happier you will feel. The more positive energies and vibes you will radiate to those around you. Treating your loved ones (that includes friends and family members) with a nice massage, will make them more relaxed and let them feel happier as well which will end up with all of you being more in love with life.
Which is why I believe we should get started straight away!
Keep in mind though; a massage is supposed to make the other person relax. It is not, in any case, a speed race or strength contest.
Rubbing hard and fast will simply irritate the other person’s muscles. So instead of trying to speed things up, try to use slow, even strokes with the palms of your hands, thumbs, or finger pads (the fleshy part of your fingertips).
Never push directly on the spine and be careful not to put too much pressure on muscles that run over the ribs and shoulder blades. If someone has thin muscle tissue, you can bruise bones by going too hard.
Sounds too difficult? No worries we have prepared a collection of a few really easy techniques for you.
So keeping those facts just mentioned in mind, let’s get started with a simple neck and shoulder massage technique, shall we!?
Neck and shoulder massage techniques when being in a sitting position
First of all, make sure that the person receiving the massage sits up-straight, preferably on a chair.
Then stand behind the person receiving the massage. Start by resting your forearms on the top of his/ her shoulders as close to the neck as possible. Keep your palms down in order for the fleshy part of your forearm (not the bony part, we want the person receiving the massage to be relaxed, not to be put in pain by you) to lie on the muscle.
Continue by letting your weight fall straight down onto their shoulders toward their seat. Avoid pushing them forward and be careful that you don’t lean on their head. Hold this posture for ten seconds (by including to use bodyweight for the pressure you will need less energy to be able to give a good massage and will in return have more energy to keep going a little longer if time permits).
After ten seconds slowly lift your arms and move them about one inch (roughly two and a half cm) further down the shoulder. Continue by repeating the first process, holding it again for about ten seconds before moving one inch further again.
As soon as you start to feel the bony part of their shoulder under your forearm, stop, bring your forearms to the starting position and repeat the technique.
This is a very simple but extremely relaxing method. Give it a try! It is was one of the first ones I learned as well!
Let us move on to the second technique. Start by feeling the tip of the shoulder with your fingers. Move your fingers toward the neck until it stops feeling bony and hard, and you feel some soft muscle under your fingers instead. Place both of your thumbs on that soft spot by putting one thumb on top of the other for reinforcement. Slowly press straight down with your thumbs, then hold the thumbs for about five seconds and then slowly release the pressure again.
Move about the width of one thumb towards the neck and repeat the process. You should be able to do this four to six times before reaching the neck. Once you reach the neck, start from the first spot again and repeat the whole exercise. Once you are through with that move to the other side and repeat this practice on the other shoulder.
Now locate the base of the skull with your thumb. Move the thumb to the right to assure it's not in line with the spine. Move the thumb in small circles as you apply pressure. Repeat this for about five to six times before moving on to the other side.
In regards to the pressure, do not hesitate to ask how the person receiving the massage likes the pressure, some people prefer more pressure while others might prefer less, besides depending on how tensed the person is, the preferred pressure might even vary from one day to the other.
I think you are starting to get the hang of it. So let us continue with the next technique. Shall we?
Put one hand on top of each shoulder as close to the neck as possible. Slightly squeeze the soft muscle part between the fingertips and the heel of the hand. Keep your thumb beside your index finger in order for it not to get in the way. Hold this squeeze for five seconds and then slowly release your grip.
Move out about one inch toward the shoulders and repeat the whole thing. You should be able to get three or four squeezes in before you run out of muscle. Be sure that you have the whole muscle in your hand so that you don’t pinch the skin.
That was not so difficult, was it!?
If you are standing on the right side, make a c-shape with your left hand and vice versa. Put your hand softly over the back of your loved one's neck. Gently press into the sides of the neck with your fingers and thumb. While keeping soft pressure, try to do about five or six large circular kneading actions with your hand. Then move up the neck about one inch and repeat the process. Continue doing so until you have massaged the whole neck.
The person enjoying the massage should be quite relaxed by now.
Let us go ahead and do a little kneading to the base of the skull (more or less where the neck starts). Place one hand on the base of the skull and the other hand on the forehead to give a little support to the head. Now start moving the fingers, which you placed at the base of the skull, in a small circular motion (about 6 to seven times), pressing softly into the skull while massaging. Once done, slightly lift your fingers and move them a little closer to the center of the skull and repeat the exercise about 5 to 6 times. Continue by moving to the other side and repeating the same process on the other side of the skull.
A great way t finish off your massage is with several gentle stroking actions down the head and back.
Smile you just managed to give your first mini massage.
Neck and shoulder massage techniques when lying down
Sitting upright on a chair is nice and handy when giving someone a quick lunchbreak massage or, please take a break from your computer work at home massage. But it is even better to receive a massage when lying down comfortably, isn’t it?
If we are already lying down comfortably, we might as well use some massage oil. The smell usually makes it even easier for the one receiving the massage to relax, and it makes the massage technique a smoother movement for the person giving the massage as well since it prevents uncomfortable friction and helps the hands to glide easily.
The first thing is to put a little massage oil on your hands and rub it a little (this way it will not be completely cold when touching the other person's body). Then continue by spreading the massage oil on the recipients upper back, shoulders, and neck. A great way to spread the massage oil is, instead of using your complete hand flat on the body, forming your hands into “lobster claws” instead and spreading the massage oil in a circular movement. Continue to do so until you have covered the whole area (upper back, shoulder, and neck).
For the next step tuck your fingers in and make a fist with both of your hands. Now starting from the outer shoulders, pull your fists slightly along the shoulders until they reach the beginning of the neck. Once you reached to the beginning of the neck, roll the wrists to bring the larger knuckles into contact with the skin as the knuckles of the fingers continue from the back of the neck to the base of the skull. Hold this position for three seconds before repeating the process for about six or seven times.
Afterward, apply slight pressure using your extended thumb and glide it from the mid-back to the bottom of the neck. Just as the first thumb begins sliding off the top of the shoulder, slide the other thumb on the same side so as not to break the rhythm. Continue doing so for about one minute. Then go ahead and give the same attention to the other side of the shoulder.
Another technique is to apply pressure with your thumbs as you follow the muscles that are to the right and left of the spine. When the thumbs reach the shoulders, you can gently squeeze the shoulder muscles. Repeat this exercise about five to six times.
If possible, stand or sit (but preferably stand) to one side of the person receiving the massage. Extend one hand across the back while keeping the other one close to you (but still already placed on the receiving person’s shoulders). Pull the hand which is further away from you towards you while the hand being closer to you moves away. Repeat this until you cover the entire upper back and shoulders.
Want to know a really easy trick to work tight shoulders without running out of energy yourself? Grab a tennis ball and simply roll the ball all over the shoulder with the palm of your hands.
Simple hand massage techniques
Before getting started with a hand massage, apply some lotion. Ask the recipient if he/she is left-handed if he/ she is, preferably start by massaging the left hand first and vice versa. Spread the lotion over the recipient's hand and wrist using gentle, flowing, upward motions.
Continue by holding the recipient's hand in both of your hands, while keeping your thumbs on top. Apply gentle pressure to the meaty muscle area in his palms with your finger pads and slowly pull down. Do the same to each finger, but don't pop the knuckles.
Go on by pinching the fingertips (including the thumb) with generous pressure (i.e., not too little but not so much either, we do not want it to hurt). Hold each pinch for about three seconds and repeat the process for a second time, only this time squeezing the fingertips on the sides instead.
Another great technique is to wrap one hand around the recipient’s hand and placing your thumb on his/her palm. Then use your thumb to make short strokes, begin with gentle pressure and increase it slowly, in order to massage the pad of his/ her hand. Start at the center of the hand and slowly work your way outwards.
After that continue by holding the recipient's hand with the palm facing up. Lightly stroke the palm with your fingertips. Then use your knuckles to gently knead the palm in a circular motion. Repeat this exercise at least six times.
Finish by gently pulling each finger from the base of your hand to your fingertip.
Simple foot massage techniques
A wonderful way to get started with a foot massage is by starting at the base of the recipient’s foot, using both hands and slowly gliding over the top of the foot toward his/ her toes. As with all the other massage techniques mentioned so far as well, it is always nice to use a lotion or massage oil to moisturize the skin and at the same time helping to smoothen your movements.
Then, gently squeeze and pull your fingers down his/ her Achilles heel.
Proceed with circling your thumbs around the receivers' ankle, continue doing so for about six times.
Place your thumb at the downside of the receivers’ foot. Slide your thumb to the ball of his/ her foot and press down gently. After doing this for about five times, go on by making circles on the downside of his/ her foot until you manage to cover nearly the whole foot sole.
Continue with squeezing the heel. In order to do so, hold the top of the foot in one hand and the back of the heel in the other. Repeatedly squeeze and release the back of the heel for at least five to six times.
Pay some attention to the toes. Give every toe on the foot a light squeeze with your thumb and index finger, and then use your thumbs to make small circles just beneath each toe. Continue to do so for about twenty seconds per toe.
Try “foot spreading” by holding each side of the foot with both of your hands. Gently pull each side of the foot outward. Repeat this exercise, allowing the foot to “spread”.
To finish off this great “mini” feet massage, clasp the recipients' foot firmly and run your thumbs along the top of his/ her foot to finish in a relaxing manner.
No matter which massage technique you will end up using (even though we hope you will remember and use them all) try to always keep skin contact. Let’s say you are switching from one hand to the other: Try to keep the first hand on the body until the second hand touches the skin as well. Do you need some more massage oil? Try to add more massage oil while still keeping one hand on the skin of the person receiving the massage. This way it will not feel as if you are interrupting the massage and it helps the person receiving the massage to stay relaxed and comfortable.
Try to always have at least one glass of water ready after every massage, no matter how small or short the period of time for the massage might have been. This will help flush out any of the toxins that might have been stirred up during the massage.
I know a written explanation might not be as explanatory as a video or pictures, but I think the presented techniques are quite easy to understand this way as well. If you prefer videos, however, go ahead and log onto youtube. There are tons of great short videos displaying great and easy massage techniques for you to try out.
Enjoy this beautiful way of inviting more relaxation into your life and being more in love with life itself.
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