A good massage is something we’re all dreaming of right now! Whether it’s for relaxation or for relieving pain and fatigue, discover the different massage techniques that can be performed at professional institutes or at home.
Which massage for which benefits?
There’s nothing quite like a massage to restore your inner balance and vitality ! Ayurvedic, Swedish, Californian, Lomi-Lomi ... Choose the technique that best suits your needs, and learn how to reap its benefits, even at home. During these complicated times, when we must stay indoors, massages are a feel-good activity we can do with the whole family and a great way of unwinding !
1 – Lomi-lomi, an age-old ritual to relax the body and mind
Lomi-lomi is a massage technique from Hawaii. As an integral part of the traditional healing system, it combines body care with a spiritual dimension: the masseur recites prayers before and after the treatment to connect with you and to instill a great respect for this sacred practice.
Monoï oil is generally used and has an important role in the sensory experience of this massage. The masseur synchronizes your breathing with various kneading, acupressure and stretching movements, using their hands, forearms and fists. In Lomi-lomi, you will feel the embracing and flowing touch specific to the Hawaiian culture, which promotes liberation and letting go.
This soothing interlude will realign your energies while relieving tension and pains in the body. Try it out as soon as possible !
Tips for trying it at home : to treat one of your loved ones to a Lomi-lomi inspired moment of relaxation, chose monoï or frangipani oil to create a suitable sensory ambiance. Get your subject to lie down on their stomach and take several deep breaths, the idea being to gently inflate the stomach, then get them to breathe out gently and slowly so as to align your first movements with their breathing. Preferably use your forearms and make wide-ranging movements over the whole body, rather than focusing on isolated areas. Always finish up by massaging the nape of the neck and face.
2 – Ayurvedic massage to eliminate tension and toxins
Ayurvedic massage comes from traditional Indian medicine, where massage is a sacred practice. This technique rebalances our life energy to allow it to flow freely, thus calming the body and spirit. It can be performed using two or four hands, and alternates between stretching, tapping, pressure, compression and kneading movements.
Depending on your needs and your emotional state, your masseur will suggest a suitably scented oil and focus on specific areas. This treatment helps eliminate toxins and will deeply relax your muscles and nerves. In India, it is claimed that, when practiced regularly, ayurvedic massage strengthens the immune system..
Tips for trying it at home : to treat one of your loved ones to a moment of relaxation inspired by ayurvedic massage, create a serene atmosphere by lighting candles and choosing a sesame or coconut oil that you gently warm in your hands before use. You could, for example, perform a seated scalp massage: place yourself above your subject’s scalp and start by lightly running your fingertips over their scalp and the nape of their neck, then, increasing the pressure, work down their face, massaging as though you want to smooth out their features, drawing them outwards. After the face, work your way behind their ears, down the nape of their neck, and finish with the top of their scalp.
You may also choose to focus on their feet or hands.
3 – Swedish massage to relieve pain and release stress
Just like ayurvedic and lomi-lomi massage, Swedish massage works on both the body and mind. It was developed to optimize the physical performance of athletes and is particularly effective at relieving muscle tension, releasing stress and easing aches and pains. For this, the masseur stimulates blood circulation to improve tissue oxygenation and the elimination of toxins.
It alternates percussion movements, central to this massage technique, with kneading, effleurage (light circular strokes with the palm of the hand), friction and rubbing of soft tissue, muscles, tendons and joints. In addition to its energizing and relaxing effects, Swedish massage is great for chronic back and knee pain, promoting drainage, and combating stress and anxiety.
Tips for trying it at home : : Sweet almond oil and grape seed oil are both suitable for this treatment. Make long, fluid movements toward the heart. Start with effleurage, then kneading, followed by friction, which is the most intense part of the massage. Continue with tapping (with your fists and the edge of your hands) and finish with vibrations: place your hands on your subject’s back and gently shake it for a few seconds. Repeat on the arms and legs for total relaxation.
4 – Californian massage
Often referred to as « the touch of the heart », Californian massage came about in the 70s and is based on a global body and mind approach. This massage begins with slow and relaxing effleurage, which intensifies to release the deepest tensions. It requires a good connection between the masseur and the subject: if you let go completely, the session will bring emotions buried in your body memory to the surface.
Californian massage procures deep relaxation to combat anxiety and stress and relieves chronic muscular pain and arthritis. Its wide-ranging movements stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation, thereby improving tissue oxygenation. It also promotes the appropriation of bodily limits: this is why it is often recommended for people who have experienced significant weight fluctuations.
Tips for trying it at home : This anti-stress modeling treatment can easily be performed at home, so take advantage of it! In a quiet spot, light candles and play soothing music. Have a blanket at hand to cover the subject and keep them warm during the massage. Using coconut oil for dry skin or argan oil for oily skin, perform the movements in the right order (effleurage, kneading, friction, and tapping, the most energetic part), first with the subject lying on their stomach, then on their back.
Try them all to find the technique that suits you best !
The best way to learn about these techniques is, of course, to find institutes that practice them close to where you live. However, during the lockdown period, why not treat your loved ones to massages? It’s a great way to relax and release tension when the climate at home gets a little tense...
To perform a massage at home, create a comfortable setting: turn up the heating in the room, set up a daybed or mattress covered with a sheet and provide a blanket, towel or throw to keep the subject warm. Prepare what you need (oil, etc.), light a few candles and put on some soothing music. During the massage: be attentive to your subject and avoid applying pressure to their sensitive areas. It can also be performed on children with gentle strokes, getting them to focus on their breathing.
However, as a precaution, it’s best to leave the massage of pregnant women and ill people to professional therapists.
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