Here at Made for Life by Spiezia Organics, we don’t just make 100% organic skincare, we also train spa therapists all over the UK how to give rejuvenating and blissful massage therapies. But if you’re not a professional, it can still be a lovely thing to do for someone close to you. Here’s a guide to the basics if you’d like to give someone you care about a massage.
Step 1: Find the right spot
We’re not talking about that perfect pressure point three fingers width up from the inner wrist. We are talking about the place where you’ll give the massage, because having a quiet, warm space with soft lighting is really the first thing you need. This peaceful area means that the person who is receiving the massage can really relax. Where and how they will be positioned, while you give the massage needs to be comfortable for you as well as them. A bed is not great, as it’s very difficult for the masseuse to position themselves in a comfortable position and the softness of the mattress affects the massage too. Good options are to place a thin foam mattress and / or cushions on the floor or for the other person to sit facing the back of a chair.
Step 2: Get your kit
As with many things, good preparation makes a huge difference. Having the right room temperature, some warm massage oil to hand and warm towels to place over the body before and after massage add a touch of luxury. Soft, slow music adds to relaxation so choose something that the massage receiver likes.
Take care not to use any oils that may irritate the skin, and of course, our 100% organic oils are perfect to use on anyone. At Made for Life™, we tend to let the receiver choose the oil we use by scent, as the body can intuitively select the blend of fragrances which might uplift or soothe, depending on their needs. Our Mindful Moments™ set has three options, Connect and Nurture, Revive and Uplift or Clarify and Focus.
Step 3: Now let’s begin
The transition from chatting to each other to massage is something we take a lot of care with, and it makes a huge difference to the experience. First we start with you - the masseuse. If you’re stressed or upset, that will carry through into the massage. Take time to ‘catch the breath’ with some time to relax and make sure you’re comfortable, calm and ready to begin.
Take some calming deep breaths whilst you prepare the room and spend a bit of time just talking quietly with the person who you are giving the massage to. Now is the time to check if there are any areas you should avoid. Ask what kind of pressure they like, and let them know that you’d like them to tell you if it’s too much or too little as you go along.
Please be mindful that specialist training for pregnancy and people going through cancer is recommended and we have many spas and wonderful therapists who can provide a beautiful and nurturing treatment.
Once you are ready to start your massage, ask the person to get into position. Depending on who it is, you might want to leave them for a few moments to get comfortable and to cover themselves with towels to keep warm.
Uncover the area that you’re going to work on - the back, neck and shoulders is usually a good place to start if you’re a beginner. Warm a little of the oil that you’ve both chosen between your hands and gently just lay your hands on their shoulders and ask the person you are going to massage to breathe deeply and slowly three times.
Step 4: A few techniques
Much of massage is intuitive, but as a general rule, you need to gently soften and relax the muscles to begin and all movements should be generally towards the heart.
Press firmly with one or two hands on muscular areas of the body and make a circular motion. On large areas, use the heel of the hands or the flat part of your knuckles in addition to the fingertips.
Push your entire hand around part of their upper body, such as the back, thighs, or upper arms, in a loop. Ideally, the recipient should feel continuous motion for example on the back, from the base of the spine, either side of the spine to the shoulders, then down the sides and back again. Again ensure that you avoid pressure directly over the spine.
Once the recipient is relaxed, you can use gentle kneading motions, focussing on areas that are tense. This tends to be the lower back for men and shoulders and neck for women. Other techniques are small gentle circles with your thumb gently moving up either side of the spine.
Throughout the massage, be mindful and relaxed about how their body feels. Don’t worry about whether you are doing a good job, and if you’re finding it physically hard, try to use your bodyweight to take pressure off your hands and arms. If you’re relaxed and comfortable, and your thoughts are focussed on nurturing and caring for the person you’re massaging, then you’ll give a better massage.
Things not to do:
No reading or TV during a massage
Don’t break body contact.
Don’t apply pressure to the spine or back below the ribs.
Don’t insist on having your turn immediately after you've finished. It spoils a massage to think that you have to get up and return the favour immediately after you’ve blissed out.
Step 5: Finishing touches
When you’ve worked your way over the parts of the body you want to massage, gently lay your hands for a few moments quietly on the recipient’s shoulders and wait for them to come round.