Sunday, August 10, 2008

At-Home Massage Routine

If you're stressed and the idea of a massage sounds like the perfect remedy but isn't in your budget, an at-home massage can be a cheaper alternative. It's easy with the right tools, tricks of the trade and, of course, a partner.

Have your partner lie down, facing the ceiling. Position a pillow under your partner's knees. Put some lubricant in the palm of your hand and warm it by rubbing your hands together. Gently place your hands on your partner's shoulders. This gives your partner a chance to get used to your touch and allows you a moment to focus. Slowly slide your hands toward the edge of your partner's shoulders, continue along the upper back and up the neck, stopping at the base of the skull. Repeat this three times.

Carefully pick up your partner's head and turn it to the left. Slide the heel of your hand from the base of the skull to the edge of your partner's shoulder. Repeat this three times and then do this on the other side of your partner's neck.

Return your partner's head to its original position. Place your hands on their shoulders like you did when you started the massage. Gently push in on your partner's shoulders, like a cat.

Move to your partner's side. Reapply your lubricant and slowly spread the oil or lotion from your partner's wrist to the edge of the shoulders. Release your pressure as you go over the elbow joint. Repeat this three times. Hold your partner's hand and "milk" the hand, slowly kneading down each finger. Go to your partner's other side and repeat this on the other arm.

Now you're ready to move to the lower part of your partner's body. Begin by kneading your partner's feet. Be willing to spend extra time massaging the feet. Few things feel as wonderful as a foot massage. After the massage, your partner will likely only remember the foot and back parts of the massage. When you feel ready to move on, gently stroke the leg, starting at the ankle and ending at the top of the thigh. Release your pressure as you go over the knee joint. Continue stroking the entire length of the leg. Repeat this five times and then move to the other side.

At this point, help you partner turn over. (Wake them if needed.) Position a pillow under your partner's ankles. Once your partner is situated and comfortable, massage the feet again. Next, massage the back of the leg, using long strokes from the ankle to the top of the hamstring. Release pressure as you go over the knee joint. Repeat this five times and then do the same thing on the other leg.

Position yourself at your partner's head. Place your hands at the top of your partner's back, and with one long stroke, glide your hands along the side of the spine all the way down to the pelvis. Release your pressure and slide your hands along the side of your partner, back to your starting point. Repeat this three times. Move to your partner's side, and use the heel of your hand to stroke from the lower back to the top of the back. Repeat this three time and then move to the other side. Finish by placing your hands side-by-side on your partner's spine and gently (with no pressure) moving your hands in opposite directions along the length of the spine. Hold your hands in the final position and gently lift them off your partner.

Congratulations! You've now completed a full massage routine. Give your partner a few minutes to get up. Be ready to help if they need you to do so. Wash your hands, drink some water and take a few minutes for yourself to recover.

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