Swedish Arm Massage-Continuing our Relaxing Circulatory MassageSean Russell
Once we have become comfortable with massaging the torso and head we can move to the limbs. Arm Massages are extremely relaxing and feel great. Your arms are anatomically made in a way that lets them do about anything and we put that to the test daily. This makes for arms that really hold tension and get really tight. Forearms get a daily workout from anyone holding and using their fingers alot (about all of us). Forearm tightness can even pinch nerves and give people false signs of carpal tunnel. Hands are full of receptors and react really well to massage. You will find that even a hand massage by itself can make you really tired, there is just something tranquile about the relief your body feels when your hands get a rub.
Now that I have built you up and you are all excited to start on the arm massage, lets get to it!
Arrange the person’s right arm at his side with the palm turned down against the table. Spread oil on the arm and shoulder.
1. Begin with a variation of the main stroke. Place both your hands palms down across the person’s wrist, cupping them so that they cover the sides as well as the top of the wrist. Have your hands side by side, with thumbs touching. Pressing firmly, glide both hands together up the arm. Separate them only when you reach the top of the arm, sending the left hand over the top of the shoulder and the right down the inside of the arm just short of the armpit. Now pull both hands back down the arm, starting with your left hand on the outside and your right on the inside. Press more lightly. Once you reach the wrist you have two options. One is simply to slide your left hand around on to the top of the wrist so that both hands are in position to begin the same stroke again. The other, if you feel like something with more of a flourish, is to slide both hands down the length of the person’s hand and right off his or her fingertips. Let your right hand slide along the top of the hand and your left hand the bottom. Press more lightly on the hand, and be extra delicate and precise as you leave the fingertips. Immediately afterwards move your hands into position for your next stroke so that the person experiences as little a break in contact as possible.
2. This stroke is called draining. Raise the person’s forearm so that it is standing upright with the elbow still against the table. Now make a ring around the person’s wrist with the thumbs and forefingers of both your hands; tilt your hands away from you so that your palms are facing up as you hold the wrist. Have your thumbs against the inside of the wrist, and have both thumbs touching each other. Now, squeezing lightly with your thumbs and forefingers, slide both hands slowly down the length of the forearm as if you were ‘draining’ it. When you reach the crook of the elbow slide both hands back up again, still keeping your thumbs and forefingers in contact with the skin but now applying no pressure at all. Repeat several times. Why, you may ask, do we use pressure going down but not coming up? The answer is that the veins, which lie closer to the surface of the skin than the arteries, are more immediately affected by external pressure. Hence when we ‘massage towards the heart’, as a traditional bit of massage lore puts it, we are giving an extra push to the blood circulating through the veins towards the heart. When draining the forearm, however, a little experimentation will soon convince you that the person will be happiest when you apply pressure going down – but not up as well.
3. Keep the person’s forearm in the same upright position. Placing the fingers of both hands against the back of the person’s wrist for leverage, begin massaging the inside of his wrist with the balls of your thumbs. Use your thumbs alternately, and send each stroke downwards and out towards one or the other side of the wrist. Gradually work your hands downwards until you have covered all the muscles lying along the inside of the forearm.
4. A quick treat in passing for the elbow. First, with the person’s forearm still upright, make a loose fist with one hand and lightly massage the crook of his arm – the inside part of the elbow area with your knuckles. This is a tender area, so be gentle. Next, lift the upper arm a little off the table with one hand, and, using the tips of the thumb and fingers of your other hand, massage the boney surface of the elbow itself. Work in tiny circles over the entire elbow.
5. Now repeat strokes 2 and 3 on the upper arm. You will find that keeping the upper arm in a steady vertical position can be a bit of a problem, however. One solution is to place his hand on your own left shoulder and to press your cheek against it much as if you were holding a violin in place.
A second is to bend his arm at the elbow and to let the forearm dangle across his body at about the level of the neck. If you use this position take care not to slap the forearm against his chin while you are working on the upper arm. Taking your pick of these two positions, first drain the upper arm and then work the exposed muscles with your thumbs just as you did for the forearm.
6. Next hold the entire arm straight upright. With your right hand grasp the wrist; with your left push horizontally against the elbow to keep the arm from bending in the middle. Now, keeping it vertical and unbending, bob the arm lightly up and down in its socket. Press down and then immediately release the pressure a half dozen times or so in quick succession.
7. The person’s arm is still standing straight upright, right? Now toss it from side to side. Lower the arm first to the right (i.e., towards the person’s hip), still holding the wrist with your right hand and the elbow with your left. Then lightly toss it up and to the left, keeping your hands in contact. As soon as it starts to fall to the left (i.e., towards the person’s head), switch your hands, raising the left hand to the wrist and lowering the right to the elbow, so that you now can break the fall with your left hand. Let the arm fall almost to the table and then toss it again, this time to the right. Switch hands again as it is falling to the right, and you are ready to repeat the entire sequence. If the person’s arm feels stiff, and does not fall naturally and easily, remind him to let go of it. Toss the arm three times back and forth.
8. For a last good-bye to the arm here is an especially nice stroke made popular by Molly Day Schackman.Toss the right arm one more time (see the previous stroke, in case you have been following a different sequence) to the left, catch it, and then let it rest in place, the upper arm on the table beside the head and the forearm partially resting in the air. Meanwhile place both your palms lightly against the person’s armpit area, with the fingers of either hand pointing towards the other. Now begin spreading your hands to the sides, leading with the heels of the hands. Start with a light pressure. Send the right hand down the side of the torso and the left along the upper arm. As soon as they have passed the armpit itself turn both hands so that they are vertical with respect to the table; while turning them keep them moving apart at the same pace. At the same time lightly grasp the arm with your left hand, fingers on top of the arm and thumb below, and curve your right hand a little so that the full palm presses against the side of the torso as it passes. Keep both hands in this position as you continue moving them apart. Increase the pressure slightly. Stop when your right hand reaches the person’s hip and your left reaches his wrist. Now, keeping your hands in place, hold more tightly and stretch the arm and the hip away from each other. Hold this stretch for about one full second, and then release, breaking contact just long enough to bring your hands back to the person’s armpit. Repeat the entire stroke one more time. A moment or so after breaking contact the second time; return both hands to the arm itself and gently put it back into place at the person’s side. If you have just finished the person’s right arm, you may wish to go on to the following section on the hand before moving over to his or her left arm and hand.
So, good job on that! I have split off the hand individually to not give you too much at a time. At this time you should feel good about