Content of the material
- Massage Tips for Getting Ready
- ✓ Set the mood right
- ✓ Don’t use too much oil, and don’t pour it straight on them
- ✓ Don’t do it on the bed*
- Crash course in finding trigger points
- Best hand massager
- When to do massage ball exercises?
- How Often Should You Massage Your Baby?
- ✓ Keep constant contact
- ✓ Don’t go too fast
- ✓ Don’t break your back giving someone a back massage
- ✓ Don’t bend your arms too much
- ✓ Don’t overdo it with your fingers
- ✓ Don’t be a knucklehead; use your knuckles
- ✓ Reinforce your movements
- ✓ Don’t karate chop them
- ✓ Shake ‘Em Up
- Dont #4. Dont Eat a Heavy Meal After a Massage
- Best Time To Massage Your Baby
- Dont #2. Dont Shower Immediately
- Instead, Wait for an Hour Before Hitting the Shower
- Timely Things
Massage Tips for Getting Ready
How to set your massage up for success.
✓ Set the mood right
Make sure it’s comfortably warm, and play some relaxing music.
…If you can.
Realistically, Kim and I will continue giving each other lots of massages while watching mindless stuff on TV.
✓ Don’t use too much oil, and don’t pour it straight on them
Massaging isn’t oil wrestling. Too much oil is messy and makes for too much slipping and not enough pressing. You do need more oil if you’re massaging a hairy person, but less than you think.
And rather than pour cold oil onto your partner’s bare skin, rub the massage oil between your hands to heat it up before applying it.
✓ Don’t do it on the bed*
Giving massages on a bed, which Kim and I used to do, has three downsides:
- Strain on the massage-giver. You can’t get in the right position to comfortably give massages and moving around is harder.
- Strain on the massage-getter. A too-soft surface puts the spine in a bad position that’s made worse when applying pressure.
- It’s less effective. You can’t exert as much pressure and control it as well when someone’s on such a soft surface.
A massage table is ideal, but also a bit of an eyesore and space-taker at home. Do leg massages lying on the floor and back and shoulder massages on a chair (facing it, Britney Spears-style, with a pillow between your chest and the backrest).
*Unless you sleep on the floor, like Kim and I have fallen into. On that note, the pressure of a hard sleeping surface is sort of like getting a massage from gravity!
Crash course in finding trigger points
You can’t treat it if you can’t find it, but finding trigger points is the hardest part, even for experts. It is the exact opposite of an exact science.9 How do you try to find trigger points?
First of all, you don’t sweat it too much: sure you try, but you also just cast a wide and pleasant net. The first rule of massage for trigger points is that any good massage is probably better than bad trigger point therapy.
But of course you still look for them! And mostly you just grope around stiff, sore muscle tissue with fingers and thumbs and find small, acutely sensitive spots.
You may or may not feel a slight bump or twitch when you hit a trigger point, but those are inconsistent and unreliable signs. Do not put much stock in them.
More importantly, the soreness of a trigger point should feel “relevant” — that is, the soreness of the spot should feel like it is related to the discomfort you are trying to treat, rather than some other kind of discomfort that just happens to be in the same area.
It should also feel good — a paradoxical combination of soreness and relief we call “good pain.”
You can limit your exploration to a fairly small area of muscle tissue around the “epicentre” of your symptoms, but some trigger points are surprisingly far from the pain they cause, usually closer to the center of the body. For instance, wrist pain may be caused by trigger points in the forearm muscles up near the elbow. (But trying to figure those out is going beyond the basics.)
Best hand massager
Lanshin Massager by ACERA $45 When Fiorella Valdesolo developed carpal tunnel syndrome during her third trimester of pregnancy, she picked up this ceramic, ecofriendly massager on the advice of her acupuncturist and found it to be the only tool that relieved her nerve tension. “You simply fill the vessel with hot water, plop the silicon cover back on, then rub the octagonal humps … of the glazed ceramic base, now a soothingly warm temperature, across any areas of discomfort,” she explains. After her carpal tunnel syndrome passed postpartum, she began to use it on post-workout calves and tight shoulder blades. $45 at Lanshin Buy
When to do massage ball exercises?
Trigger point therapy is best done after a workout or anytime during the day when you are experiencing pain. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain, trigger point therapy will benefit you. Do these exercises a few times a week for maximum benefits.
How Often Should You Massage Your Baby?
There is no restriction on how less or more you can massage your baby. It is great, though, to have a fixed massage routine since it helps your baby reap all the long-term benefits of massage. If your baby faces certain adverse medical problems, then consult the baby’s doctor about the ideal massage routine.
How to give the impression you have the hands of the angel and not feel like hell doing so.
✓ Keep constant contact
When giving someone a massage, try to keep your hands in contact with their body as much as possible. You don’t always have to apply pressure; even a light touch is fine.
This continuity of touch creates a soothing sensation.
✓ Don’t go too fast
Kim and I had a misguided tendency to massage each other as if we were scrubbing pans: too hard and too fast. Generally speaking, the deeper the massage, the slower you should move.
Stay still sometimes: If you find a knot, apply constant pressure to it with a supported thumb, knuckle, or your elbow and hold it for fifteen to thirty seconds. Vibrate a little if you get bored. It feels good and unties the knot.
✓ Don’t break your back giving someone a back massage
Maristha was a big stickler for posture when giving someone a massage (something the Alexander Technique folks would certainly agree with).
Whenever possible, she advised widening your stance to get lower, even sometimes getting into a full-on lunge position, rather than bending over and straining your back.
✓ Don’t bend your arms too much
Keep your arms just slightly less than locked when massaging. Let the weight of your body and legs to the work rather than your arms.
✓ Don’t overdo it with your fingers
For most of us amateurs, the go-to massage move is to squeeze with our fingers, especially on the top of the shoulders. It feels good to get but:
- It’s super tiring. Within no time your forearms and fingers start burning.
- Other things feel better! Like your knuckles, for instance…
✓ Don’t be a knucklehead; use your knuckles
I never dared lay a fist on Kim (and vice-versa) until Maristha told me to. She showed us a few techniques that honestly feel even better than the classic squeezing move we used to always tire ourselves out with.
Here are a few basic massage techniques using the knuckles:
- Monkey Hand: Bend your wrists to use the back of your hands and your first knuckles for a not-too-hard knuckle massage.
- Cat Walk: With your hand in a claw-like shape, use the knuckles closest to your fingertips to knead tissue in a circular motion, one finger at a time.
- Knuckle Grating: Form a loose fist and use your second knuckles to knead out tougher tissue like the shoulders, back of thighs, palms of hands, and soles of feet.
Use your forearms, elbows, and feet, too! Run your forearm bone along tough areas like the back of the thighs or carefully place your elbows or feet for a constant and heavy pressure to loosen up super tight spots.
✓ Reinforce your movements
For more pressure, more control, and less strain, massage with one hand at a time while using your off-hand to support the wrist of the working hand.
You can do something similar with your fingers, too. For instance, if you’re running your index finger along the spine of the person you’re massaging, cross your middle finger on top of it for support.
✓ Don’t karate chop them
The reason Kim and I didn’t like it when we attempted to do the classic karate chop massage move on each other was we were too stiff.
Maristha told us to soften our hands and loosen our wrists instead. She also showed us that a loose side fist (so lightly curled fingers) can feel better than an extended chop-style hand.
And it really feels good! Once we learned this massage technique, “tapotement,”the fancy word for chopping and hitting, became one of the best-feeling moves.
Try “pinchies” too: Another surprisingly pleasant tapotement technique is to do speedy light pinches with alternating hands. It sounds silly and feels silly to do, but feels good to receive.
✓ Shake ‘Em Up
Another silly-feeling but effective massage technique Maristha taught us that we’d never considered before was simple shaking.
If they’re lying on their stomach, pick up their leg by the ankle, pull it gently towards you, and give it a shake. Or, if they’re sitting on a chair, hold their wrist with their arm in a 90-degree angle as if they’re waving hello, and shake.
Dont #4. Dont Eat a Heavy Meal After a Massage
Massages make you feel hungry. That’s because of the increased blood circulation which induces all your body systems into high-performance mode – including the digestive system. A heavy meal, however, will only make your body feel sluggish, bloated, and lethargic, instead of energised
Instead, Eat a Light Snack
A light healthy snack will leave you feeling energetic and won’t take a toll on your stomach. Save the heavy meal for later in the day.
Best Time To Massage Your Baby
The best time to massage a baby is when they are alert, well-rested, and seem interested in the environment. Select a moment right between two feeding sessions when the baby is less likely to feel full or hungry. There should be a gap of at least 45 minutes from the baby’s last feeding session. Also, wait for 15 minutes after the massage before feeding again to give the baby’s body some extra time to relax completely.
When it comes to a specific time for massage, you can stick to massage after a bath, when the baby is just about to be tucked into the bed for the night or for a nap. Baby massage before a bath is the ideal since you can wash away the oil during the bath to prevent the accumulation of residual oil or lotion on the baby’s sensitive skin. You may choose to massage your baby after bath in case they have extremely dry skin or if your pediatrician has given a green signal to it. Generally, you’ll notice the greatest benefit if you can stick to a regular bedtime routine of massaging the baby at night.
Trigger point massage often provides only partial and temporary relief. Here are some of the easiest things you can do to improve your batting average:
- Get some sleep soon after treatment.
- Treat only a few knots at a time. Work only with the worst spots at first.
- Better balls! Almost everyone has a tennis ball, but other sizes and degrees of hardness can be game-changers (e.g. lacrosse ball).
- Beware of excessive pressure—it’s by far the worst amateur mistake. Either just be more cautious, or entirely switch to extremely gentle treatment for a few days.
- Stay warm! Chills are the top TrP aggravator.
- Lightly exercise treated muscles—just enough to increase circulation.
- Recruit amateur help. Sometimes being able to relax while someone else does the massaging makes all the difference.
Dont #2. Dont Shower Immediately
Many of our customers admit that they shower as soon as their massage session has ended, mostly to wash off the oil. This is a big mistake. Truth is that the massage simply heats up the essential oils, and they still need another hour to get absorbed into the skin cells.
Instead, Wait for an Hour Before Hitting the Shower
Let the oils seep into your skin before taking a ‘warm’ shower.
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