How to Massage like a Pro
Giving a massage is a perfect way to demonstrate you care about someone and share quality time. People need human touch (our most meaningful sense) but it is often neglected in today’s disconnected society. Paramount to its numerous health benefits, massage helps us feel good. By following these 5 simple steps, you can impress your partner, friends or family with a newfound ability that everybody appreciates.
Step 1: Choose an Oil
This is a vital element to consider for massage as it is essentially the link between you and the recipient. Like any cosmetic used on the skin, quality should not be overlooked. The oil should have moisturising properties, good viscosity and not feel so sticky that you have to shower straight after. Water-based and petroleum-based lubricants are not ideal as they are absorbed too quickly by the skin. At Balima, we love virgin coconut oil as a base oil as it leaves the skin feeling nourished, is easy to clean and good for all skin types. The best oils also have an essential oil included for their aromatherapy benefits depending on the goal of the massage (e.g. Harmony with lavender essential oil).
Step 2: Prepare the Area
This is perhaps the most important aspect of a relaxing massage. If the mood is not right then the recipient will find it hard to let go, which is essential for a massage to be effective. Start by preparing the space, either on the bed, floor or massage table with room around to maneuver. Dim the lighting or use candles, making sure you can still see their silhouette and where your massage oil is. Ensure the room is at a comfortable temperature, phones are turned off and there are no distractions from pets. We recommend you play some low-tempo chillout music to add another primary sense to the equation.
Step 3: Apply your Touch
Start by adding a few drops of oil into your hands and rubbing them together to create some heat. The first touch onto the skin should be soft, warm and slow. This spreads the oil, creating a base layer and most importantly puts the recipient at ease. The amount of oil you use is determined by the amount of traction you want on the tissues. Deep tissue/sport massages use less oil in order to gain more traction in a localized area. Swedish/relaxing needs slightly more as it covers a larger area of the body and requires more glide.
Step 4: Use some Technique
There are entire books dedicated to this section as well as many different types of massage being practiced around the world. The most essential aspects are to relieve stress and channel positive energy through to the other person. Perform every stroke with feeling. Notice their body language, are their muscles relaxing under your hands or are they grimacing? Do not forget to ask them how it feels. As a general rule, direct each stroke towards the heart and target larger muscle groups (neck, shoulders, back, and legs). Your pressure should be even and firm, using your entire hand: fingers and palm, heel and fingertips. Avoid direct pressure on the spine, back of the knees and try not to lose contact with the person’s skin, even when adding more oil.
Step 5: Bring to a Close
When you’re finished, your final massage stroke should be slow and smooth so as to not feel too sudden. Use a towel to retain heat by covering the areas massaged and also to wipe away any extra oil. Have a glass of water close by as they are probably thirsty and advise them to take their time getting up (they might feel light-headed if they stand up quickly). For the full benefits of aromatherapy, the oil should be left on the skin for 1-2 hours after the massage.
Please Note: This guide does not claim to replace the services of a professional massage therapist or training school.
Why is Massage Therapy Important for Athletes?
Restorative deep massage of the glutes, thighs, calves, and feet. The ideal treatment to promote muscle recovery post-ski, cycling, running and sports training.
Can Deep Tissue Massage ease sciatica pain?
Deep Tissue Massage is a firm massage technique that focusses on the deeper layers of muscles, tendons and tissues, like the fascia and other supportive tissues. It involves the use of firm pressure to reach those deeper areas. Alternatively, by involving gentler, yet sustained pressure, this can effectively target the myofascial layer.