Swedish Stomach and Chest Massage-Adding on to Your Relaxing MassageSean Russell
Ok, we have finished our Swedish Back Massage and Swedish Head & Neck Massage protocols so far. Our partner is on their back still so we are going to segue down to massage the front of shoulders, chest area, and belly. I know its very common to not enjoy getting your stomach touched, well all I can say is deal with it. A light nice belly rub will really help you feel better and help keep your regularity!
Spread oil on the chest, the stomach, the sides of the torso and the shoulders.
1. Begin the chest and stomach with main stroke. Because it covers large areas of body surface easily and quickly, this is one of the most effective strokes in massage. With slight variations it can be done on the chest and stomach, the arm, the front of the leg, the back of the leg and the back. Stand above the person’s head. (If working on the floor, kneel above the head with your knees to either side of the head.) Place your hands with palms down in the middle of the chest. Have the heels of your hands resting just below the collar-bone, your fingers pointing towards the feet, and your thumbs lightly touching each other. Now glide both hands slowly forwards, pressing firmly on the chest and then more lightly on the stomach. Keep your hands together until you reach the lower half of the stomach; then separate them, moving both hands straight to the sides. Bring both hands over and down the hips all the way to the table. As soon as your hands touch the table, begin to pull them along the sides of the torso in the direction of the shoulders. Pull firmly, using your strength; at this point the stroke should feel to you as if you were actually about to tug the person several inches down the table. Just before reaching the armpits pull your hands – heels of the hands still moving first – up on to the topmost part of the chest. Then, pivoting each hand on its heel, swing the fingertips from the sides to the centre of the chest. By gliding the hands forwards, and straightening them and bringing the thumbs together as you move, you can go from here straight into another round of the same stroke without breaking the flow of your movement. Two reminders that will help make this stroke feel just right. First, be steady. Move at an even and confident pace. Second, remember to mould your hands so that they exactly fit the contours they are passing over. Let your hands tune in to the person’s shape as if you were molding his or her body out of clay. Here is an interesting variation. After pulling your hands back on to the upper chest, send them over and down the sides of the shoulder instead of pivoting them towards the middle of the chest. Continue without a break right under the shoulders and on to the topmost part of the back, slipping your fingers between the table and the back. As soon as your fingers have reached a point right beside – but not directly upon – the spine itself, slide your hands gently over the trapezius muscles (the muscles curving from the neck to the shoulders) and back on to the upper chest.
2. Run the tips of the thumb and forefinger of both hands several times along the collar-bone. Have the thumb on one side of the bone and the forefinger on the other. Move your hands first towards each other and then away from each other. Press lightly.
3. Work the upper chest with the fingertips of both hands. Press firmly, moving the fingertips in tiny circles. Start next to the collar-bone and work systematically so that you cover the entire upper half of the chest. Omit the breasts for a woman, however, as this stroke does not feel good here.
4. Professional masseurs usually do not massage a woman’s breasts. Most women consider this both prudish and condescending. If the person is a woman, here is a good stroke for the breasts and the muscles supporting them. Cup both hands over the breasts. Very gently rotate the breasts as far as you can easily and move them in three full circles moving to the right, and then in another three circles moving to the left.
5. Now make both hands into fists. Starting at the middle of the chest just below the collar-bone, slide the knuckles of both fists outwards across the chest and then down the sides of the torso to the table. Press lightly. Follow the ribs. Try, if you can, to let individual knuckles glide between individual ribs. Do successive horizontal strips in this fashion until you have covered the entire rib cage. Stop short of the stomach. Remember to go lightly: hard pressure will make this stroke feel terrible. If the person is a woman, when you get to the central portion of the rib cage do just the two inches or so of ribs between the breasts.
6. This stroke is called pulling, and it is done along the sides of the torso.Move around to one side of the table and reach across to the opposite side of the person’s torso. With your fingers pointing straight down pull each hand alternately straight up from the table. With each stroke begin pulling with one hand just before the other is about to finish so that there is no break between strokes. Start on the side of the pelvis just above the thigh and work your way slowly up to the arm pit and then back again, moving a little less than the width of one of your hands with each stroke.Once up the side and then down again is enough. Cross to the other side of the table and repeat on the person’s other side.
7. Move now to the stomach. Walk around to the person’s right side if you aren’t there already, making sure to keep one hand in contact as you move. The various organs in the stomach area will be less constricted – and hence what you do on the stomach will feel better – if the person has his knees in the air while you are working directly on the stomach.There are two ways of going about this. The first is simply to place the person’s legs in the right position and then let him balance there himself; by sliding his foot back and forth a little you will quickly find a natural point at which the legs almost balance themselves.The second way is to raise the legs and put a pillow folded in half underneath them for support. The second way, however, does have the slight advantage that the person doesn’t have to siphon off even a fraction of his energy in order to keep his legs in place. Now stand at the person’s right side and begin slow full circles on the stomach using the palm of your left hand. Move clockwise – most important on the stomach, as the colon is coiled clockwise. With each circle pass first just below the ribs, then a little on to the left side of the torso at the waist, then just above the pelvic bone, and then a little on to the right side of the torso at the waist.After one complete circle you can add the right hand. Keep the left hand moving steadily in the same fashion; after it has passed from the lower to the upper half of the stomach, however, add the right hand for about a half of a circle running from hip to hip alongside the pelvic bone. As soon as the right hand has reached the right hip, remove it and position it in the air near the left hip so that it can repeat the same crescent movement after the left hand has made another round. Work out the timing so that whenever the right hand is actually massaging, it is at a point on the circle directly opposite to the left hand. Do a half dozen continuous circles with your left hand, adding a partial circle with the right each time.
8. Awkward as this one may seem at first, in the long run it will be a lot easier for you to do than for me to describe. Place the back of your right hand – that’s right, the back of the hand – flat against the centre of the person’s stomach. Have your wrist bent at a ninety-degree angle; your fingertips should be pointing towards you and your forearm should stick straight into the air with the elbow pointing away from you. Now start rotating your hand clockwise. After you have completed about a quarter of a circle start gradually turning your hand over on to its palm at the same time; this will also necessarily bring your elbow closer to the level of the table. Keep on rotating and keep on turning, however; so that by the time the circle has been completed, your hand has again been turned on to its back and your elbow raised to a position directly above your hand. Make half a dozen circles. The feel of this stroke should be flowing and steady and slow. Don’t wander about the stomach; keep it right at the center. If the person’s knees have been raised you may gently return his legs to the table.
9. Now knead the sides of the torso in the vicinity of the waistline. Kneading is not difficult. Reach across to the side opposite you. With each stroke of your hands gently squeeze the loose flesh at the waistline between your thumb and fingers; grasp as much as you can comfortably hold on to and then let it slowly slip from between your fingers. Also move your hands a little with each stroke, left hand going to the right and right hand going to the left. If you alternate hands, beginning a new stroke with one hand slightly before finishing a stroke with the other, you will find yourself falling into a slow, lazy, natural rhythm in which the hands are always in motion. After a few rounds in this fashion you can introduce a change into the stroke. Change your kneading into simple stroking, and instead of moving your hands horizontally (i.e., parallel to the table) along the sides of the torso, begin sliding your fingers under the person’s back right at the waist and drawing your hand vertically up the side of the torso and an inch or two on to the stomach. Follow the waistline and press slightly with the fingertips. Start each stroke from points progressively farther under the back, and start the last two or three from just beside the spine itself. The shift from the first to the second version of this stroke need not be abrupt. Try doing three or four rounds running horizontally from hip to ribs and back; and then gradually make your strokes more and more vertical until you end with one or two rounds running along the waistline itself. Then around to the opposite side of the table and do the same on the person’s other side.
10. This last stroke is actually for the back, but it feels nicest when done immediately after the previous stroke. Reach both hands under the person’s back, one from one side and one from the other, right at the waistline. Palms up, fingers pointing towards each other. Bring the fingertips just to either side of the spine.Now, keeping the backs of the hands against the table, press the fingertips of both hands as hard as you can just to either side of the spine. Press hard enough to actually raise the middle of the person’s body a tiny bit into the air. Press for about one full second and release. Then again for a second and release. Then again. After the third time or so, slide your hands, still pressing with the fingertips but pressing much more lightly now, out from under the back and, again following the waistline, on to the stomach. As with the previous stroke, articulate the waistline as you go. If you are working on the floor, here is – at last – one place where you have an advantage over someone working on a table. After (or even instead of ) pressing your fingertips next to the spine, squat so that you are straddling the person’s body, lace your ringers together behind the spine itself, and lift the middle of the person’s body several inches off the floor. Then slide your hands along the waistline, pressing slightly with the fingertips, as you let the person down again. For the person, the sensation of being lifted will give this stroke an especially pleasant feeling. Don’t bother with this variation, however, if you are working on a table. Because you are forced to reach from the side it’s both more tiring for your own back and more difficult to do correctly. Whichever version of this stroke you are using, a nice way to finish is to keep following the waistline with your fingertips until your hands meet at the center of the stomach. Go more lightly while crossing the stomach itself. Once your hands meet, you can then find some graceful way to glide them to wherever you plan next to work.