What makes a full body massage relaxing?
A full body massage consists of every part of the body. Using the Swedish method in your massage helps relax the person on the table. Long smooth connecting strokes helps to enhance the meditative mood in the massage. I can help you understand a little bit better by letting you know how I give a relaxing full body massage.
The atmosphere of a room is very important! Soft lighting, slow relaxing music the aroma should be faint but a relaxing soothing smell. My favorite aromatherapy is pure lavender or a mixture of lavender and rose. having the massage table warm and inviting with fresh sheets. My favorite sheets use to be flannel, but I have found that a 100% polyester blend feels so luxurious, but for some reason, they cost a bit more. a soft pillow under their knees instead of a bolster is better for a relaxation massage. The room temperature matters too. you may be hot or cold but it’s not about you. I am conscious of the temperature. Even though I will be busy moving about and working on the body, the client is the one laying still undressed on the table, and the massage is all about them!
I start with the body in the supine position( that is face up ) I start on the scalp area – if they are OK with me messing up their hair a little bit. I start with a scalp massage. Massaging all around the hairline area, gently rubbing the follicles on the crown of the scalp all the way back to the base of the head. A relaxing massage around the ear bone area.
A short facial massage. Not everyone wants their face messed with,I understand completely and ask before I start in. Starting between the eyes just above the nose bridge, I stoke the third eye area. I cant explain why this is so soothing but it is the best way to sooth anyone even doing this to your self is a quick way to remove the stress. Massaging the temples, jaw line and sinus areas around the eyes can help relief pressure.
Neck and shoulder massage comes next. Slow, long, gliding strokes with firm pressure are the key to deliver a relaxing massage. Massaging behind the head, all te way down the neck and down the shoulder with one long stroke. Turning the head from side to side as I massage down the sternocleidomastoid muscle ( the muscle that runs from the lower ear down the side of your neck) This helps stretch out your neck and releases tension in your neck and shoulders.
Under the shoulder blade. Pushing my palms up under the shoulders blades. A place where most everyone has complaints on being tight and knotted up. I work along the scapula or the shoulder blades from under the client as they relax laying face up. I slide my palms down lower to the lumbar area and slowly pull up in a gilding motion.
Hug the shoulder. One of my favorite moves is to glide my are from up under one side of the shoulder across the lower neck to the other side of the persons shoulder as I grab the top of the shoulder, retracing the movements back to the shoulder I started from. This is a warm and safe feeling for the person on the massage table. You feel like you have given them a big hug all in one massage stroke.
Now moving to the arms and hands.I like to take the arm by the wrist and give a gentle tug to bring it into a straight position on the massage table, I guiled my heal of my hand gently up the forarm gilding up the deltoids to the top of the shoulder, then back down. I add in a thumb by trailing up from the top of the wrist to the forearm, between the ulna and radius bone on the muscles that lay between them several times. Hands are now ready to be worked. working the pads of the palm and stoking down each individual finger, massaging the small muscles that lay between each joint. I then swing the arm out to the side and use effleurage stokes up and down the arm. Holing the arm above the wrist I use my other hand in an open palm and alternatete strokes using each of my hands one at a time back and forth on the whole arm. Switch to the opposite arm.
Pectoral or chest muscles. Making sure the client is comfortable and draped over the nipples. You can go up to the upper chest area. I massage with the heal or palm of my hand from below the collar bone area down to the top of the sheet. Small circles can be used to get out tight areas.
Feet come next. Reflexology is feet, hands and ears, but most of us think of the feet. The feet are another favorite part of the massage, not only for the person on the massage table but also for the massage therapist. I love to see how relaxed people get and almost nod off to sleep when you work on the feet. for a simple foot massage I take a hot towel and wrap each foot. By wrapping the feet in a moist hot towel, it helps to remove any dirt and starts the blood circulation in the lower part of the body.After cleaning the feet I massage one foot at a time. Hold the foot with one hand by the heal and ankle area and with the other hand work the foots middle back and forth up and down. take the foot between your palms and massage the middle or souls of the feet. Using you thumbs push and kneed your way up the bottom of the feet. massage each toe and the top of the foot with slow medium pressure to ensure the relaxation massage. Remember to massage the tiptoe pads. This is the area you would balance on if you are a dancer or walk in high heals.
Leg Work. I massage the lower legs making sure my hands never leave the body with each stroke. lightly glide over the knee area up to the biggest muscle of the whole body, the thighs or also known as tensor fascia latae. With one long swoop you can glide up the leg to the top of the muscle on the buttocks and around the side of the hip, pulling on your way down.
Turn Over. Turn the person over to the prone position or face down. holding up the draping a little off of the body will help the person to turn over in a soother fashion. If the client is stiff , handicapped or elderly assistance from the therapist may be needed.
Back of the Legs.I use a petrasauge stroke on the calf muscles also called gastrocnemius.The next stroke I use is the Swedish stroke. A gliding move up the lower leg to the top of the thigh just below the buttock. Repeat several times with slow tempo.
Buttocks Massage.The gulteus maximus is a very relaxing area. Not everyone is comfortable with having their tush massaged, but just massaging the top area and down the side is a very relaxing feeling when massaged. I start by reaching over to the opposite side and start with the palm of my hand gliding over the muscle from the top of the hip area down the side of the leg moving in a slow medium pressure. Switch to the opposite side and repeat.
Lower Back. Above the buttocks area in the lower lumbar area, massage above the hip and to the middle of the back and over to the other side of the body’s hip area. I use a sissor massage stroke. Standing on one side of the client, using my forearms, and the palms of my hands. I stroke the lower back area alternating glinting strokes across the clients back. I use kneading strokes on the lower small of the back muscles, also known as the lumbar area.Never push on top to the spine. A gentle guild up the back is OK if you use a soft hand along the spine.
Top of the shoulders and upper back. I move up to the top of the body and anchor my body to the floor at the top or head of the massage table. Using my own body weight I push with the palms of my hands in a medium pressure down each side of the clients shoulders down in between the shoulder blades,still moving at a slow pace down to the tail bone area. Using the open palm stroke I pull against the back up towards the top of the body and end up puling around the neck area. I do this at least ten times, making a rocking motion of the body each time.
Neck and Shoulder. I end up the massage working on the tense areas around the neck and upper shoulder area on the trapezius muscle. This is a common area of complaint. I work down the trapezius to the scapula area once again. Kneading and massaging with a medium pressure of trigger point massage in a few needed spots.
Hot Towels. I lay two to three hot towels on the back, from the upper buttocks all the way up to the shoulders. As the towels are warming the back I catwalk with the palms of my hands over the towels. Removing the towels as I sweep the back with the towels I give the back seven or more strokes up and down the whole back.
Cover the back with the draping. After the towels are removed the client can become cold, so covering them up right away can feel safe and cuddled inside the sheets. I place my hands on the Chacra areas of the body, feeling the areas with good energy and finish by gently rocking the client back and forth with one hand placed between the middle of the shoulder blades known as the heart Chacra. Opening their heart to love and forgiveness for themselves.