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Learn How to Give a Great Massage

The Art of Giving Massage

We’re all a little stressed right now, and who doesn’t love a shoulder massage? Since learning a new skill is a great way to beat boredom, engage your brain, and feel more productive, we thought we’d divulge the secrets to giving a great massage. So grab your SO, roommate, or BFF, and try these massage techniques on each other.

Or, if you’d rather leave it to the experts, book a Soothe massage with one of our licensed, certified massage therapists.

How to give a neck and shoulder massage

Warm up the muscles along the neck and shoulder with long, gentle strokes, starting from where the skull meets the neck, sweeping down and out across the shoulders. Making a loose fist, use the base of your hand to apply pressure on the shoulder, running your hand up the side of the neck until you get to the base of the skull, then go back down. If you sense any tension knots, massage the area with firm, circular motions to release.

How to give a back massage

With the heel of your hand and the pads of your thumbs, rub small circles along the spine to warm up the muscles, but take care not to press on the spine itself. Apply added pressure by slowly leaning in, pressing your hands into the back and using a kneading motion with your whole hand to work the muscles along the spine. You can also take your entire hands underneath the shoulder blades, out along the sides to work the latissimus muscles.

How to give a hand massage

Holding your partner’s hand, gently massage each finger from base to tip, using small circular motions. Using the heel of your hand, stroke the palm with wide, firm gliding motions toward the wrist. Using both hands, massage the wrists and forearms with long, firm strokes.

Correct common massage mistakes

Use gravity to your advantage.

If your arms get tired really quickly when you’re giving a massage, it’s likely because you’re fighting gravity. Have your partner sit in a chair while you stand behind them, or have them sit on the floor while you’re on a chair or couch.

Avoid unnecessary friction.

Before you start your massage, put a little oil or lotion on your hands, and rub them together. This will help avoid that tugging, rough feeling, as well as make your hands nice and warm to relax the muscles.

No pinching, please.

Avoid grabbing or pinching muscles while giving a massage. Use larger, stroking motions at first to soften and warm up the muscles, and then use your whole hand to knead tight spots after a few minutes. Keep your fingers together, and use your body weight to get deeper.