Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: February 2014

Let me lend you a hand ...

Massages aren't only great to receive - they're also wonderful to give! Many people tell me that they would love to be able to massage their partners, but when they try, their hands soon tire and ache. So, I'd like to share some tips on how to give massages that leave both you and your loved one feeling great!

How to give a great massage

Most people only engage their arms and hands to give a massage. They grip in the shoulders and recruit the muscles of their arms and hands to exert pressure. This creates tension, fatigue and eventually, pain. Concentrate instead on using the bigger, stronger muscles in your legs and hips to initiate the movement. Keeping your hands, arms and shoulders relaxed, slowly pour your body weight into your partner's tissue. Feel the weight move from your legs and thighs, up through your torso, and out through your hands. Your knees should be bent, spine erect, and pelvis in a neutral position. Now allow the weight to pour back into your body. Play with this idea of pouring the weight back and forth until you create a comfortable rhythm. You can use this movement to simply compress and release your partner's tissue, or you can allow your body weight to rock your partner as you move back and forth. Either way, this should feel relaxing for both of you.

To create gliding strokes, add some oil or lotion, making sure to warm it in your hands before applying it to your partner. Now when you pour your weight into your partner, shift the weight in your hips and legs and allow your hands to naturally follow the movement of your body. With your neck, shoulders, and arms relaxed, use this movement to create soothing strokes up and down your partner's back. (The same technique applies when you're working on your partner's arms and legs.) Allow your whole body to rock naturally with the strokes.

You want your partner close enough so that your arms remain a comfortable distance in front of your body, rather than having to reach forward. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed at all times - not rounded forward or raised to your ears. Try to keep your wrists and fingers - especially your thumbs -in a straight line with your forearm. The more relaxed your hands, the more sensitive you'll be to your partner's tissue, perhaps feeling areas that are tighter or colder in temperature - both indicators of an area that could use extra attention. Relaxed hands also feel better on your partner. If you are tense, your partner receives that tension.

Remember that you have many massage "tools" other than just your hands. To keep your hands from tiring, use your fingers, fists, palms, forearms and elbows. This will prevent you from getting worn out and will give you and your partner more variety in the massage session. Always check in with your partner regularly to make sure that the pressure is comfortable - not too deep and not too light.

Last but certainly not least, remember to breathe! Deep, regular breathing will help you stay centered and relaxed. It also helps to remind your partner to take some deep, generous breaths. The better you feel while giving a massage, the better it will be received. Most importantly, the massage should feel good to both the giver and the receiver!

Source: Lauriann Greene, Save Your Hands!

Massage in schools!

And speaking of massaging one another, click here for a brief, but fascinating and heart-warming documentary about elementary school students massaging their peers as part of their regular curriculum, and the amazing results!

What's new with me ...

With the weather being cold and wet, Sienna and I have been keeping busy with indoor activities, such as play dates with friends and trips to the library. Sienna LOVES to read! She's also been taking steps while holding on - it may not be long before I have a toddler!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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