Photos by PInar Istek
There is nothing like the warm touch of a loved one to make us feel good. Here are some simple massage techniques that will allow you and your loved one to nurture each other.
Shoulders, Neck and Head Massage
Have your friend sit on a chair with eyes closed and stand behind him/her. Rub the palms of your hands together for a few seconds before placing them gently on the top of your friend’s shoulders.
Start pressing down slowly with alternate hands on the top of the shoulders; you may even use your forearms to do it more deeply, as long as the pressure feels right.
Next slowly knead the muscles from the base of the neck out along the top of the shoulders. You can use your thumbs or your knuckles to work out in small circles the area between the spine and shoulder blades, staying longer when you encounter a hard spot or your friend moans approvingly. Do the same on the shoulder blades. Finish with alternating chops with the sides of your hands on the top of their shoulders.
When ready to move on to the neck, hold the forehead comfortingly in the palm of your left hand and slowly squeeze the neck muscles from the back up and down a few times. Press your thumbs up along the base of the skull, staying a few seconds at each spot along that ridge, perhaps using circular motions as well.
Let go of the forehead and massage the skull with all your fingers as if you were shampooing the hair. You may also press points using all your fingers on imaginary lines from the top center down both sides of the skull, synchronizing the pressing with your friend’s exhalation.
Finally have his/her head lay back against your chest and put your left palm on his/her forehead and your right palm on his/her heart, sharing a moment of deep calm.
Apply lotion to the palm and back of your friend’s left hand. With their palm facing up, slide your fingers in between your friend’s fingers as shown in the photograph (DIRECTIONAL TO PHOTO). This nicely opens and stretches the whole hand. In that position, slide your thumbs outwardly down through the whole palm. Then withdraw the fingers, hold their hand in your left hand and press with tiny circles the center of the palm to stimulate the heart. Then squeeze out each finger in turn from their root to the end. Just hold your friend’s hand between both of your hands for a few seconds with great care. Switch over to the other hand and start again.
The foot rub is best done while your friend is lying down or, if seated, with their knees supported. Apply lotion to the entire left foot and ankle. While supporting the sole with your hands, go up the top of the foot a few times with both of your thumbs, making circles in opposite directions. Squeeze the Achilles heel gently and rub in circular fashion around the ankle. Wrap your right hand around their heel and turn and squeeze as if it was an orange. Holding the top of the foot with your left hand to anchor it, start going up and down the sole of the foot from the heel to the fleshy pad under the toes as if drawing little circles with your right thumb or right index knuckle for more pressure. Next press in a circular motion the whole fleshy pad under the toes. Then squeeze the sides and front and back of each toe from bottom to top, as for the fingers. End with holding the foot between both of your hands. Then do the same to the other foot.
TIPS FOR GIVING GREAT MASSAGES
1. Use coconut oil or another oil or lotion to ease your sliding movements.
2. Ask them to tell you anytime they feel more than pleasure or a “good pain”, so that you can adjust the pressure to their needs.
3. If massaging the back, press on each side of the spine alternatively from bottom up in tune with the person’s exhalation. Do not press directly on the spine.
4. Consciously feel your care for the person flow from your heart to your hands to the individual.
Chantal Harte is a massage therapist in the Nosara area. For more information, contact [email protected].
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