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I feel unprepared to start massaging clients in my program. We have been spending a lot of time on theory and not much time on technique. I am starting to worry as we have to have 24 outside massages done by the end of December. The teacher seems to think we know what we are supposed to do, but we as a whole, don't. Does anyone know of any videos that show the different strokes in a full body massage? Btw, the majority of the class feel the same way as I do.... any ideas?

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It’s not really that hard to give a basic massage. It really isn’t. I attribute yours and your classmates stress to poor teaching. A lot of it brought on because of the ridiculous overly complicated exams. They are teaching for the test. That’s why you are at a loss now. That being said. One of my favorite sayings is this. “Everything is difficult in the beginning.”
Relax, take a deep breath, go to YouTube, type in something like.........How to give a massage... There are tons and tons of massage videos on YouTube. If you can afford it. Get a professional massage yourself.

The best video to get you going (and quite inexpensive on Amazon) is James Mally's DVD.  Don't let the old style of font and date of creation make you stray from the purchase:

"Swedish Massage with Dr. James Mally" -
https://www.amazon.com/Swedish-Massage-Dr-James-Mally/dp/0972138005...

 
It can also be found here (with a book for a higher price):  https://abundanthealth.com/Swedish-Massage-DVD-and-Workbook

In addition to the video I suggested above...

We would practice on our fellow students during practical coursework. The teacher would demonstrate on a student, we would watch, and then we would work on our partner to complete that sequence. The teacher would come around, watch and correct as needed.

As we learned more, we would build sequences.

  • First, it was just how to do the strokes.
  • Then it was all of the strokes on a back.
  • Then it was all of the strokes on a back and one leg.
  • Then it was some of the strokes on a back and both legs.
  • Then it was a timed hour for the back, arms and legs.
  • Then when we moved to turning the client, and it was a timed hour for the back, arms, legs and feet.
  • They just kept adding body parts until we were able to complete a full body massage within an hour. They were always checking and correcting.


We would discuss and write out ideas of sequencing (by the minute/segment), as well as what we could have done differently or better in our prior massage. The "client" would always let the "therapist" know what they liked and didn't like during the debriefing which helped to build a better massage.

-=-=-=-

You may also like to read these:



.
Side note: Three articles I wrote for a blog some years ago.


Session Flow

Timing and flow are both critical when providing massage. Being able to complete requested work in a specified amount of time is of utmost importance.

Any “routines” you use can be altered according to the client needs.

  1. You can decrease time in certain areas in order to add time to others.
  2. You can leave out whole body portions, if your client only needs upper body work.
  3. You can only work the back and feet, with some transitions to make everything feel smooth and put together.
  4. Etc.


It’s up to you, how you decide to provide the requested care for your client. Practice makes perfect.


If you are new to massage, consider practicing with the following requests in mind:

  • Client asks for a session of neck, trap and back work.
  • Client asks for neck, trap and back work with a concentration on the neck and arms.
  • Client asks for neck back and glute work.
  • Client asks for a concentration on the lower back, along with glute and leg work.
  • Client asks for neck and bilateral feet work, with a concentration on the neck.
  • Client asks for full body work, but wants the arms and legs “skimmed”.
  • Client asks for at least 30 mins. on their head along with a session that feels like a full body session. (Be creative with this one. Try to skim the arms and legs, compress the glutes and spend ~17-20 mins. on the back.)
  • Client asks for the entire session prone (face down) and would like most of the work on their back.
  • Client states they have knee problems.
  • Client states they need extra work on their feet.
  • Client states they are having right shoulder problems.
  • Client would like 30 min. chest, pec, clavicular work, along with 30 mins. for the neck.

-=-

Sample Massage Session Flow - Prone (Face Down)

Since every client has their preferences, I accommodate accordingly. Personally, I find it extremely difficult to perform the exact same massage twice. And, when I have had clients ask for the “same move (for some area) as last time” — sometimes, for the life of me, I cannot figure out which move it was (since I use a lot of them and just do what my hands and head tell me to do most of the time).

However, there are some general things that stay consistent in the way each of us practice.

If you are looking for a “routine”, although I don’t work the same for every client, I can say find that there is a certain rhythm to the flow of the massage that I use for a good number of my full body clients. With that in mind, here are some ideas that may get you started:

Option 1

  1. Glutes / Sacrum
  2. Leg 1, additionally moving into glutes
  3. Leg 2 additionally moving into glutes
  4. Entire Back – from traps into hips
  5. Shoulder 1 / Arm 1 / Hand 1
  6. Shoulder 2/ Arm 2 / Hand 2
  7. Back again for finishing work and to pull the upper body together
  8. Cover Back with drape and do some finishing moves (I usually feather my fingers over the Back or provide compressions)
  9. Ask client to turn over

Option 2

  1. Entire Back – from traps into hips
  2. Shoulder 1 / Arm 1 / Hand 1
  3. Shoulder 2/ Arm 2/ Hand 2
  4. Back again for finishing work and to pull the upper body together
  5. Glutes / sacrum
  6. Leg 1 additionally moving into glutes
  7. Leg 2 additionally moving into glutes
  8. With client still covered with the drape, provide some finishing moves (I usually feather my fingers over the Back or provide compressions)
  9. Ask client to turn over

Transition to Supine

Option 1

10a. Foot 1
11a. Foot 2
12a. Leg 1 (including specific work around the knee)
13a. Leg 2 (including specific work around the knee)
14a. Arm 1 / Hand 1
15a. Arm 2 / Hand 2
16a. Neck/Shoulders
17a. Head/Hair
18a. With client still covered with the drape, provide very light fingertip swirls down arms and then down sides of legs — then back up sides of legs, up arms, over the traps, behind the occiput and very lightly take up a few strands of hair in both hands to pull toward the crown of the head and drop the strands as you pass your fingers through to the ends.
19a. Done.

Option 2

10b. Head/Hair
11
b. Neck/Shoulders
12
b. Arm 1 / Hand 1
13
b. Arm 2 / Hand 2
14
b. Leg 1 (including specific work around the knee)
15
b. Leg 2 (including specific work around the knee)
16
b. Foot 1
17b. Foot 2
18
b. Pull the great toes simultaneously (client right with your left; clients left with your right)
19
b. Done.

A little about working the glutes:

Personally I work most of the glutes above the sheet/blanket, because I can get in deeper for the way I work. However, I am not opposed to working the glutes undraped – it is just that usually I only do this when I am working swedish style (using the glute work to blend into my lower back work) or with moderate strokes which are very long in nature (from the ankle to the glutes, up the back to the shoulder and then on down the arm to end at the fingers).

A little about working the legs:

I don’t ask the client to spread their legs apart if they are too close for me to work. I just put my hand under the leg and bring it lateral. If it appears the client is anxious and/or I don’t know them – I may or may not choose to move the leg at all. If it is a client I know and it looks like they were just tired and didn’t think about it – I will move the leg laterally as is appropriate for the massage session.

I look at the leg just like the arm. If I can move the arm, I can move the leg. I drape with one tuck at medial mid-thigh only and wrap a portion of the sheet around the sole of the foot (client prone) to make the client feel safe and secure. It works.

◊ Have someone drape like this on you and you’ll see what I mean.

I will also keep the foot covered if the client is supine, unless it is a male who is hot natured or someone who is really tall and that causes the drape to be to short for the supine foot. I can easily work under the sheet like this with the legs close together or far apart. I don’t have to work over the sheet at all, as I have a large moveable flap of sheet to work under that won’t constrain me while still covering the client with the proper draping for the session. I can even work the entire leg, up the glutes and the lower back, all the way to the thoracics, shoulders and back down an arm this way. If I need less draping, I just move the sheet accordingly.

If the medial thighs are touching, I am generally going to just ignore that area (depending on how/if I have moved the legs).

I also drape in other ways, to accommodate what I want to do.

For example, if I don’t know the client well and feel they may be nervous, or it doesn’t feel “right”, I may drape tighter.

♦ If I know a client really well and we have made it part of their protocol, I may undrape a whole half of their body, with just a tuck at the medial inner thigh and keeping the gluteal cleft and appropriate portion of the glutes covered.

♦ If the client is cold natured, I may crank up the table warmer and work most of the massage under the sheet or in small segments, with those smaller segments undraped while still doing the longer strokes under the loose sheet.

It all depends. But, the draping paragraph describes how I work most commonly.

Timing and flow are both critical when providing massage. Being able to complete requested work in a specified amount of time is of utmost importance.

The above “routines”, if you wish to call them that, can be altered according to the client needs. You can decrease time in certain areas in order to add time to others. You can leave out whole body portions, if your client only needs upper body work. You can only work the back and feet, with some transitions to make everything feel smooth and put together. It’s up to you, how you decide to provide the requested care for your client.

-=-


Sample Massage Session Flow - Supine (Face Up)

I like to start most of my clients supine. But, since every client has their preferences, I accommodate accordingly.

If you are looking for a “routine”, although I don’t work the same for every client, I can say find that there is a certain rhythm to the flow of the massage that I use for a good number of my full body clients. With that in mind, here are some ideas that may get you started:

Option 1

1. Head/Hair
2. Neck/Shoulders
3. Arm 1 / Hand 1
4. Arm 2 / Hand 2
5. Leg 1 (
including specific work around the knee)
6. Leg 2 (
including specific work around the knee)
7. Foot 1
8. Foot 2
9. Pull the great toes simultaneously (
client right with your left; clients left with your right)
10. Ask client to turn over

Option 2

1. Foot 1
2. Foot 2
3. Leg 1 (
including specific work around the knee)
4. Leg 2 (
including specific work around the knee)
5. Arm 1 / Hand 1
6. Arm 2 / Hand 2
7. Neck/Shoulders
8. Head/Hair
9. With client still covered with the drape, provide very light fingertip swirls down arms and then down sides of legs — then back up sides of legs, up arms, over the traps, behind the occiput and very lightly take up a few strands of hair in both hands to pull toward the crown of the head and drop the strands as you pass your fingers through to the ends.
10. Ask client to turn over

Transition to Prone

Option 1

10a. Glutes / Sacrum
11
a. Leg 1, additionally moving into glutes
12
a. Leg 2 additionally moving into glutes
13
a. Entire Back – from traps into hips
14
a. Shoulder 1 / Arm 1 / Hand 1
15
a. Shoulder 2/ Arm 2 / Hand 2
16
a. Back again for finishing work and to pull the upper body together
17
a. Cover Back with drape and do some finishing moves (I usually feather my fingers over the Back or provide compressions)
18
a. Done.

Option 2

10b. Entire Back – from traps into hips
11
b. Shoulder 1 / Arm 1 / Hand 1
12
b. Shoulder 2/ Arm 2/ Hand 1
13
b. Back again for finishing work and to pull the upper body together
14
b. Glutes / sacrum
15
b. Leg 1 additionally moving into glutes
16
b. Leg 2 additionally moving into glutes
17
b. With client covered with the drape, provide some finishing moves (I usually feather my fingers over the Back or provide compressions)
18
b. Done.

Another variation to this is to ask the client what is going on with their body and would they like concentration in any area of the body. I find most people who want this like concentration for neck, shoulders and back (some for glutes/legs/or arms – but generally these seem to be clients who are coming in for very specific reasons and not a general massage).

When a client asks for a concentration for the neck/shoulders/back with a full body experience, I will spend about 50 minutes. for the neck and back work, which results in skimming the arms/hands, legs/feet (about 3 long strokes for each limb) during the session.

Timing and flow are both critical when providing massage. Being able to complete requested work in a specified amount of time is of utmost importance.

Another idea would be to only do concentrated spot work and not even include full body. You can provide some over-the-drape work (compressions or long moves) to pull together the whole body if your client needs that. If you use hot rocks, you may wish to just add a hot rock for the palms while providing the spot work.

I hope that helps your creativity sing.

 

 

 

You may also like this thread in regard to timing issues: 

"Need HELP with timing
http://bodyworkonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=39797&...

  • PS:  You can do 3 massages at 2x/week and get it done by end of Dec.

Thank you!

Hmmm... I just saw something...

The phrases need to be corrected to nix out "sides of legs".  Just don't do that.  I have no idea how it got there in the first place:  

"With client still covered with the drape, provide very light fingertip swirls down arms and then down sides of legs — then back up sides of legs, up arms, over the traps, behind the occiput and very lightly take up a few strands of hair in both hands to pull toward the crown of the head and drop the strands as you pass your fingers through to the ends.


It should read:

"With client still covered with the drape, provide very light fingertip swirls down and then back up the arms, over the traps, behind the occiput and very lightly take up a few strands of hair in both hands to pull toward the crown of the head and drop the strands as you pass your fingers through to the ends.

And, even with the correction to the phrase, you should probably be very careful about this.  You'll likely already be somewhat less than smooth, and you don't want to add something too light into the mix that could be construed as "coming on" to someone.

You can get many relevant videos, just by searching on youtube. I have a lot of Vloggers who are posting daily some quality videos on massage techniques. 

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