Not long ago I told you how to receive a massage. This time, it’s how to give one. Offering a massage is the prefect excuse to get warm and cozy with someone, here is how I do it:
1) Find some space: No massage table? No worries, find a few thick blankets and make room on the floor. Naturally, a cushioned massage table is the best, but a floor is second best.
2) Set the mood: Make sure the room is warm and the lighting is soft, this helps the person receiving the massage relax and stop worrying about how their body appears. Always ask if they want music, and if so, let them choose.
3) Dress or undress for comfort: When giving a massage, it is best to wear loose fitting clothing that breathes. Everyone involved with the massage should remove all jewelry and long finger nails are a no-no. It should be up to the recipient if they should completely undress or not.
4) Tools: Blankets, sheets and towels– to lay on and to cover the person while massaging them; Hair ties- get all hair out of the way; massage oil ( lotion is a nightmare as it balls up constantly).The lube doesn’t have to be expensive, even olive oil will do. As my hero Frank Zappa says: “Any kind of lube will do, maybe from another part of you; lube from the north, lube from the south, take a little slobber from the side of your mouth, keep it greasy!”.
5) Have the person lie face down (unless they are pregnant, then a chair massage is best, or on their side). Keep them warm: my method is, always cover the whole body except the area you are working on at the time. Roll up a few towels or a pillow and put under shins to keep legs/feet comfy. If it is a female she may want a pillow for the chest area.
6) Lube time: Never put oil directly onto a person’s skin, this is shocking and cold and is sure to ruin the mood so always warm the oil in your hands first. A few drops of lavender in your oil will make the massage more relaxing (or lemon to energize).
7) Rub the back first; it is the biggest area, and there is a lot of tension the in the back and shoulders. Lean onto your hands to make the strokes nice and strong. Putting one hand on top of the other increases the strength and feels great for the recipient. Drag your finger tips heavily up and down the back, just along side of the spine. Use your thumbs to rub the muscle that runs from beneath the skull down to the shoulder in a firm motion. Never waste a trip- go down the back , and without losing skin contact, rub them up the back as well, it is wonderful if you can do the whole massage without losing skin contact, always have one hand on the body. Also, I can not stress enough how important it is to have very short nails, if you refuse to trim them, you have to figure out how to use your finger tips without the nail, which is next to impossible. One wrong move with a nail and the person will lie their worrying about the next attack in stead of giving into the pleasure of a massage.
8) To be sure you are giving a great massage, just try to imagine, the body you are rubbing is your own. What would feel good to you? How would you like to be rubbed? Always keep this in mind, and pamper the person, ask them to be quiet and just enjoy being pampered. Talking during a massage is counter productive. If you must chat, save it for the foot massage, where you can both have eye contact. Avoid cracking any bones; even if they ask for it, this can lead to trouble! (And lawsuits).
9) If the person wants more pressure, and your grip is not strong enough for them, use your forearm and elbow to rub the muscles, avoiding bones, bone on bone is painful, especially the spine!
10) After at least 20 minutes on the back, cover the back and move to the legs. Kneel at the feet and use both hands to stroke up the leg, using body weight (as always). Avoid too much pressure on back of knee, this is painful. Knead the legs with both hands, do the pizza dough method (see # 15- B) covering all areas, spoil your partner!
11) I prefer to have the person lie on their back during the foot massage. Place a pillow under the person’s knees for comfort. Sit between their legs, and face Left when massaging the left foot and right when massaging the right foot, this gives you the chance to chat and the best position for handling the foot. Use your thumbs and rub the arches firmly and try to keep a strong touch to avoid tickling them. Twist both hands firmly around the foot to twist out tension.
12) Wash hands before moving onto face. Before you add more oil, gently rub and stretch the neck from underneath, then use your fingers tips to scrub the scalp as if you were a hair dresser washing someone’s hair. This feels amazing and when done correctly, the person receiving this vigorous scalp massage will plead you to never stop. After releasing scalp tension, put a tiny amount of oil onto your hands and gently massage the face, be extremely gentle around the eyes and use firm circular movements on the forehead to relieve headaches and tension. Be sure to massage all around the cheekbones and jaw, this releases tension from talking and eating. Gently pinch along the eye brows, squeezing the stress out of them. Make figure 8 movements on each temple with two finger tips.
13) The Arms: Gently tug on each arm before rubbing them down, stroke firmly up each arm with your hands cupped, and as always, go deep on the muscle but light on the bones. Then go to the hands. Stretching the fingers feels wonderful, gently tug on them and do circular pressures around each joint with your thumb. Use firm pressure at the base of the thumb, this can be compared to the arch in your foot, pressure feels great here.
14) When you massage the abdomen, be gentle but yet firm enough that it doesn’t tickle them. Place hands side by side on the lower abdomen, and slowly glide gently up towards the ribs. Then take both hands and glide them out and over all the ribs and repeat. Use large circular movements to cover all areas. Pretend your friend is giant pizza dough and knead the abdomen from side to side, back and forth. This aids in digestion and relieves period cramps as well. Be extra careful and extremely gentle if the recipient is pregnant. Don’t be shocked if your recipient farts during the belly rub, it means you are doing a good job. Massage isn’t always glamorous. If you have a weak stomache in fact; if funny smells or scars etc. make you ill, massage is NOT for you. I have seen and smelt it all folks, nothing shocks/grosses me out anymore.
15) Dr. Dots techniques: a) Spider walk: I “walk” up the back with my fingers, rolling the skin as I go, in one fluent motion , which in my opinion , looks and feels like a big spider walking up the back. B) Pizza Dough method: I stand at the patients side and with both hands wide open , I twist the core of the body in between both hands in a kneading motion, very firmly, like I would a pizza dough. C) Bite Method: My most controversial technique, as no one else does this, but it is the Celebrity favorite. I naturally ask first if they want to try it, and before adding any oil, I bite the whole back up and down in a very fluent motion bit by bit, avoiding any bones. I take big bites, obviously not firm enough to break skin, but firm and deep enough to go down and grab and “tenderize” the back muscles, warming them up for the real rub down that follow. D) Rolling Pin Method: Put both forearms on the persons back, with elbows just an inch away from the spine, go north towards head with one elbow and at the SAME time, go towards the buttocks with the other elbow and then drag them both back together in the middle again, once again, please avoid bone on bone. E) The Rake: Make your hands into a “rake” form and keep them like this, very stiff. Rake the back from top to bottom, this takes a lot of strength when done correctly, but feels wonderful. Massage is the Ultimate way to spoil someone, so have fun with it.