Monday, 16 May 2011

Learning Proper Massage Techniques

There is more to a massage than the ability to perform a good back rub. Any therapist would tell you that there is intense study, formal schooling, and certification involved before you can render a proper massage. You will find professional massage therapists all over Australia have professional therapists who are trained in the art of massage techniques.

Therapists are usually certified in more than one massage technique technique in order to provide whatever service the client would request from them.

Swedish massage

This aims to lessen stress by relieving muscle tension and loosening sore joints. The massage therapist applies soothing, tapping, kneading, and circular strokes on the superficial layers of the muscle using massage lotion or oil. The strokes tend to follow the direction of blood towards the heart, enhancing the flow and assisting in its natural functions.

deep tissue massage

This uses slower strokes, direct pressure, and friction techniques to address chronic muscle tension such as stiff necks, lower back pain, or aching shoulders. It is also useful in addressing pain caused by stress, strain, or injury. While a swedish massage can work on the first few layers of a person's back, a deep tissue massage is required to reach the layers underneath.


Also known as acupressure, this is a technique that originated from Japan. This type of massage applies finger pressure on acupuncture meridians. Therapists use their thumbs to manipulate the flow of "Qi" and energy in the body following the theories of acupuncture, which literally goes back to thousands of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


This applies pressure to certain points on the feet, hand, and ears to target corresponding organs and systems in the body. It is meant to promote or stimulate one's internal organs, thereby improving the client's overall body condition.

Sports massage

This kind of massage is adapted from swedish or deep tissue massages, with the intent of meeting special needs of athletes. It involves pre-event massages to warm up muscles and improve circulation, as well as post-event massages to treat injuries and aid in recovery. Massage techniques are typically combinations of different kinds of strokes and pressures. Here are some basic strokes to get you started:


This is a basic open-handed stroke used in swedish massages">swedish massages. Its key characteristics are slow and gentle movements. You start with your fingertips, followed by your fingers and palm until the heel of your hand comes in contact with the body.


This is a kneading stroke that works best on large, meaty muscles. You place both hands down on the muscle with your fingers close together and thumbs extended. The space between your hands should form a triangle. This stroke requires a pinching action as you move your thumb towards your fingers. Take note that you want to pinch the muscle with your palm more than with your fingers.


This involves working thumbs and fingertips in deep circles into the thickest part of the muscles.It is best for treating small knots in muscles.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Massage Therapy Etiquette

Massage therapy sessions are naturally intimate procedures. A Massage Therapist oils, kneads, touches and relaxes the client's body and plays soothing and escaping music in the background. Whether it be receiving or providing this service of healing, it will surely be an intimate experience. Although a professional Massage is licensed and within the confines of a Spa or office, both parties can develop insecurities, feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. This can be especially true of those receiving a Massage for the first time.

The Massage Therapist is trained and responsible for creating a soothing, relaxing and professional environment for the client's pleasure. In this same way, the client is also responsible for communicating with their Therapist in order for them to properly provide a service which is comfortable and without issue. Highly experienced Therapists are also able to direct the client through the Massage so there is as little confusion as possible about the process.

There are several aspects of a Massage which raises the eyebrows of clients which should be noted:

1. Clothing: Each Massage type will outline the amount of clothing a client should wear. For example, during a Swedish Massage the client is asked to strip completely since it is a full body procedure. However, some clients may not be comfortable with baring it all and should know it is fine for them to request they keep one or two articles of clothing on such as their underwear. If a client chooses to bare it all, an experienced Therapist will know how to drape fabric over their bodies in order to not over-expose them.

Before a Massage begins, the Therapist usually will instruct the client on its aspects including the amount of clothing usually discarded. Once this discussion is over, the masseuse leaves the room to allow the client to undress privately and get under a sheet or towel on the Massage table. The Therapist will only uncover the areas of the body that are being Massaged to ensure their client's comfort.

2. Touching: There are several reasons as to why individuals may get a Massage. For instance, a Massage can be sought to alleviate stress, improve relaxation, enhance circulation, etc. The client should understand that they are able to set rules and regulations regarding their body and it is the Therapist's obligation to respect those boundaries. Although therapeutic Massages are sensual they are not intended to be sexual.

If a client, whether male or female, makes an overtly sexual or unsettling request, the Therapist is obligated to forcefully but professionally identify how inappropriate the request is. On the other hand, a Therapist should never assume the parts of the client's body that can be touched. Lastly, it is never appropriate to touch the genitals of a client during a Massage. This is a betrayal of trust, is unethical and can bring about legal action.