Self Massage Techniques

Learn How to Massage At Home

Lets face it most of us enjoy a good massage treatment but it is not always convenient or affordable for everyone to regularly visit a massage therapist. What about those painful knots after a tiring working week that need some attention? Or those sore feet after a long day of walking? Fear not there are some basic massage techniques that you can learn to use at home to help relieve and relax.

In this blog post I share with you basic massage techniques for you to use on your loved ones at home. Try some of these massaging techniques with family members or if you live alone you may carry out self-massage.

What are the benefits of massage?
There are numerous benefits of massage. A massage treatment is beneficial for the following:
  • Reducing Stress & Anxiety
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Toning the skin
  • Draining toxins
  • Improving sleep & relaxation
  • Easing pains
  • Reducing headaches
As well as these numerous benefits one of the most important, that must not be underestimated is the opportunity to give yourself quiet time, a chance to pause your mind and take a break. Not only is this time for the receiver of the massage but also for the masseuse. Yes you heard correctly the giver of the massage benefits too!

This became apparent for me during my training where I found that aswell as treating my client, massaging gave me an opportunity for my own mindfulness as I focused on massage strokes and movements and what my client needed. This allowed me to pause my own busy thoughts inside the treatment room and quieten my mind as I massaged my client. I was able to enjoy the benefits of the properties of the massage oil as well as the tranquil and soothing music to set the scene. As a result of this, not only was my client relaxed, I too reaped the benefits slowing down and taking the time to focus on being in the moment.

Massage at home: What equipment do you need?
A vegetable oil such as olive or almond oil is required to reduce friction during a massage. For the best spa experience at home try a suitable aromatherapy oil. We recommend you take a look at Devaiyas range of oils here that can be used for a tailored treatment e.g for aches and pains:
  • A towel
  • A warm, soothing comfortable room. This can be enhanced by the use of candles, oil diffuser and tranquil music to set the scene.
  • Types of Massage Movements
I am going to share with you five basic movements in massage. These are Effleurage, Petrissage, Friction, Tapotement and Vibration. Ideally these movements down be carried out in sets of 3’s or 6’s.

This is a long smoothing stroke and involves using the hands across the surface of the skin and can be deep or gentle. It should be done towards the direction of the heart and will help to drain the lymphatic system. During massage you should not lose contact with a client’s skin and effleurage is often used to connect different movements.

This technique involved deep movements to target deep tissues and increase blood flow to the area. The movements involve kneading with your knuckles, picking and squeezing muscles, ironing, wringing and rolling the skin.

These movements are carried out using the palms of your hands. They involve using circular and ironing movements penetrating muscles and breaking down deep knots.

This involves a cupped or open hand position and uses brisk aggressive movements with chopping, hacking, beating and capping actions. The movements are rhythmic and helps to stimulate the muscles.

Fingers, hands and forearms are used for massage for the vibration technique. Movements are rapid and help to stimulate the nervous system.

Getting Set up
Make sure that you are sitting comfortably and are wearing loose clothes with rolled up or short sleeves. Remove all hand and arm jewellery and ensure that your room is warm and comforting.

Starting Treatment
Rub your massage oil between your hands to warm up before starting treatment and ensure that the person receiving the massage is sat in a comfortable position. Keep a glass of water available for yourself and the person receiving the massage to stay hydrated.

Back massage
Ensure that the person is laid flat, face down, on an even surface such as a bed or on a carpet. Arms should be straight down the sides and head on one side (can change sides as massage progresses). You should have enough space to move over their body (kneeling if on the floor) allowing you to use your body weight to add pressure and access the whole back.

Head, neck and shoulders
This can be done laying face down to massage the neck and back of shoulders. Petrissage movements are best for neck, shoulder and back, For the head use vibration movements with fingertips. You may wish to adjust the position of this massage as it progresses so that the person is laid on their back and the front of the shoulders and head can be massaged easily.

Leg and foot massage
The person receiving the massage should be sat up on a sofa or bed with legs laying flat in front of them. Start from the ankle with petrissage movements; picking and squeezing with finger tips on lower legs (3 times) then move up to thigh. Follow this with friction movements using the palm of hands (x 3), tapotement (chopping and cupping) and finally finish with 3 x effleurage from ankle to thigh. For foot massage use kneading and friction with fingertips on the soles of the feet. Repeat on other leg and foot.

Hand and Arm massage (ideal for self massage too)
Ask the person receiving the massage to or sit on a comfortable chair following this routine. Effleurage to the top of forearm(x3) follow this with 3 x thumb knead forearm anterior (x3) then 3 x thumb knead forearm posterior (x3). After this carry out frictions over the wrist, thumb kneads over palmer surface then knead and pull each finger with your finger tups and to finish off carry out 6 x effleurage to top of forearms. Repeat this on other arm.

Self Massage
Self massage can also be carried out using head, leg and foot and hand and arm massage techniques above. Ensure you are sitting comfortably and in a suitable position.

It is important that the person receiving the massage treatment is well hydrated. Ensure that they are given a glass of water after their massage and allow them to take their time to get up after massage. They may also feel they need to visit the toilet straight after to flush out their system after the lymphatic system has been stimulated.

For a range of aromatherapy oils that are perfect for home massage treatments take a look at the Devaiya lifestyle range at Aches Away, Stress Away , Sleep Time and Clear Mind.