Who doesn’t love a great massage? You get to lay back, relax and let the stress of the world be rubbed away. Unfortunately, a great massage can come with a hefty price tag. If you or your significant other is having a particularly hard day, follow our massage tips and help your cares to melt away.
What Makes a Great Home Massage?
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You may not actually be getting a professional massage, but it doesn’t mean you can’t re-create the experience and turn out a great massage at home with our massage tips.
The key to a great home massage is to first try to replicate the atmosphere of a professional spa as much as possible. Think about what it looks, feels and sounds like when you walk into a spa and look around the room in which you’ll be giving the massage. What can you do to make the mood more relaxing and inviting?
The first thing to tackle is lighting. Most spas have low, soft lighting with no glare. If you’ve got adjustable lighting, dim the lights so you can just see what you’re doing and can move around the room without bumping into anything. If your lights don’t dim, turn on the dimmest lamp you have and put a breathable piece of fabric over the top—make sure the fabric doesn’t come close to touching the light bulb and don’t leave it unattended.
Next are candles. The best option is unscented candles. If you pick a scent, even a light one, it can distract from the relaxing atmosphere because scents can evoke emotions we don’t even realize. If your candle has an undertone of peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon or grapefruit it can have an energizing effect. A scent can also compete with the scent of the lotion or oil you’ll be using.
This comes down to preference. In spas you’ll sometimes hear soft pan flutes or chimes. If you have a favorite artist, you can play it—just make sure it’s not too upbeat. The whole point of a massage and the atmosphere is to be completely relaxing. Some people don’t want music at all, so you can download apps that will play nature sounds like rain, thunderstorms, a swamp in the evening or forest sounds.
Whatever your choice of sound, don’t play it at a loud volume—you want the person being massaged to be lulled not kept alert by sounds or music.
Where to Relax?
Now for one of the most important massage tips we can give you—give the person getting the massage something comfortable to relax on. We suggest a bed, but if that isn’t doable, a couch will work or even the floor. If your floor is hard and might be difficult for your person to lie on, throw down pillows and blankets.
The most important thing is they’re comfortable. The next most important thing is that you can maneuver around enough to give an effective massage without jostling them around too much while you do. Always consider what will be comfortable for them, not what your preference would be. If you like a soft bed and they prefer something stiffer, pick the surface best for them.
Beyond Basic Relaxation, What Are Some Key Benefits of Massage?
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Propping your feet up with a bowl of popcorn and a good movie can be relaxing: a massage goes way beyond that. There have been many studies showing massage has an abundance of positive effects on the body, including providing relief from:
- Stress and anxiety
- Tension headaches
- Stress induced insomnia
- Joint pain and discomfort
- Strains, pulls and injury to muscles and soft tissue
- Sports strains and injuries
- Stiff muscles and knots
- Manage back and neck pain
People with more severe issues get regular massages to help manage their symptoms and issues related to:
- Blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal Tunnel
It’s just important to remember a massage therapist may work closely with but is not a doctor in most cases. A massage therapist can’t diagnose or treat illness so see your medical doctor for any unusual symptoms.
Can Home Massage Help?
Yes!! Once you follow our massage tips, you can enjoy the same kind of tension relief seen from professional massage parlors. If you and your partner or friend will commit to a massage once a week, you’ll be surprised at the amount of benefits you’ll feel from free at home massages.
You don’t have to commit to giving full hour long massages—just 20 minutes once a week can make a difference for tired and achy muscles.
Massage Tips & Techniques That Make a Real Difference
A great massage is more than just a quick shoulder rub. Follow these massage tips to give someone a massage that will surprise them and be stress relieving:
Lotion or Oil
You’ll want a really great lotion or oil. We recommend oil because you won’t have to re-apply it as often and it can be more nourishing than lotion without building up over the course of a massage. You don’t have to spring for anything expensive: you probably have some of the best oils for your skin already in your cupboard! Some of the best skin nourishing oils are:
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Grape seed
All you need to do is pour a quarter of a cup into a dish or small bottle so you can add some to the palms of your hands to warm. Adding a few drops of lavender or your favorite essential oil will add a light, relaxing scent. The most relaxing essential oil scents are:
Remember, more than a drop or two or you’ll be fighting to get away from the scent.
Massaging too quickly is one of the biggest mistakes a home masseuse makes. Any massage will feel better if you just slow down the movement on the muscle. Going too quickly can actually make sore muscles sorer. Whatever area you’re tackling, use medium to firm strokes and take it slow.
Leave it to the professionals to do knot work. Use broad, sweeping strokes across the skin with warmed oil on your hands. Do this a few times to get the muscles warmed up. You can focus on smaller muscles now, but still working the length of that muscle.
Focus on Form
While you’re giving a massage, think about how it would feel if you were receiving the motions you’re giving. Remember, your goal for a massage is to stretch out a muscle and you can’t do that moving back and forth—keep it going in one direction. Try using your whole hand and not just your palm or fingers. If your hands get tired, put one hand over the other to ease some fatigue.
Let’s talk about pressure. You should be able to feel the muscle move under your hands, but the person getting the massage should never grunt or grimace in pain. If they squirm from discomfort, pull back. Just don’t pull back so much that your pressure becomes a tickle.
Don’t put pressure directly on joints and bones: that hurts! Be conscious of the muscles around the spine. It’s easy to apply pressure accidentally to vertebrae, but that can be painful. It’s a good practice to put one hand gently over the bone and massage up to that hand. That way there are no painful mistakes.
Best Practices for Wow Factor
We want you to look like a master of home massage with even more massage tips. Follow these tidbits of advice to put the finishing touches on your home massage:
- Hand and foot massages are super relaxing and easy—just apply sweeping, one directional strokes on the fleshy parts of the extremities with a drop of oil
- You can roll a tennis ball under your palm to loosen up the shoulder and back without tiring out your hands—just check in to make sure the pressure is comfortable
- Scalp massages are heavenly and the best part of a salon visit—use your fingertips to make medium pressure circles all over the scalp
- Don’t forget the cool down—the tissue needs to calm down so use lighter, broad strokes to end the massage
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By putting our massage tips into action, you’re going to score a lot of brownie points. The whole point of getting good at home massage is to do something nice for someone else so just do what that person seems to enjoy. If they squirm when you work on their back, ask about it. Maybe their muscle is sore, or your hands are cold—you’ll never know unless you ask.
It’s also important for you to enjoy doing it. The minute it becomes a chore is the minute it won’t be effective or enjoyable to anyone. Keep it light, take it seriously so it doesn’t seem like a joke but don’t worry about getting every movement perfect. When you get home massage right, your partner will appreciate the relaxation you’ve given them and the whole house will feel calmer. Ohm…© Incomestorage