There is nothing more heavenly than getting a full body massage after a long draining day. With massage sequences that seem to perfectly ease any worn-out body parts, it’s a wonderful way to treat oneself. A full body massage may take in any form and type, but it will always involve a proper sequence of massage techniques to fully reinvigorate someone. This method follows a religious sequence that includes the application of pressure on the head, neck, back, shoulders, hands, arms, legs, and feet.
A full body massage may take at least 50 to 90 minutes to finish. It covers every part of the body except for the genitals and other sensitive areas. If done right, this treatment should be able to give the following benefits:
- Promotes overall relaxation
- Relieves muscular pain and tension
- Detoxifies the body
- Boosts the mood and well-being
- Soothes any stress-related symptoms
- Untangles any knots in the back, neck, shoulders, calves, and other areas
- Serves as a great bonding moment with a loved one
Prior to giving a massage, a massage therapist, or a physical therapist assistant, should always ask first any underlying medical conditions to gauge which type of massage will work best and which types to avoid. As suggested by the American Massage Therapy Association, any health concerns should be taken into consideration before giving any type of massage.
With an occasional help of oil and other tools like stones, a full body massage should typically follow this sequence:
Head and neck
To maximize the relaxing effects of a massage, it should always start from the upper part of the body down to the toes.
With your fingers, you should gently apply firm pressure on the scalp in a circular motion and continue down to the back of the head and at the nape of the neck. Apply an upward circular motion at the base of the skull up to where the hairline is.
Then work your fingers downward and repeat a few times.
Shoulders and back
After focusing on the head and neck, you should move on to stimulating the shoulders. Gently squeeze the base of the neck and slowly stroke the area outwards up to the shoulder blades. Place your hands on both sides and apply pressure by rolling your hands backward and forward.
Repeat the movement a few times while gradually increasing the pressure applied. Then, start heading down the spine in an inward manner using your thumbs. Move back outward and do it a couple of times.
When done with the spine, start to stimulate the upper back muscles. Ask the person to turn his head on one side and return to massaging the neck. When done with the first side, gently turn the person’s head to the other side and apply the same stimulation.
Then head to the lower back. Start with light feathery strokes for five minutes to warm it up. Then place your hand at the lower part of the back and push upward toward the heart. Begin with light strokes and gradually increase the intensity of the rubbing. Follow the movement from the tailbone up to the lower part of the back. Put your hands back down the bottom by gliding them gently along the person’s sides.
Knead the same area with a circular motion using your palms and fingers. You may alternately do this along with the feathery strokes, then gradually intensify the pressure applied. Proceed to place your thumbs in the center of the lowest point of the back and spread your fingers to the sides. Push down and steadily apply the pressure as your thumbs work their way up toward the middle. Lightly splay your fingers down the sides and repeat the steady upward motion.
Hands and arms
The next part of the sequence should be the stimulation of hands and arms. Start with applying pressure on the palm using your thumbs. Press onto it and move outward going to the side of the hand.
Shortly after the palm, start your way up the arm by doing long smooth strokes from the wrist to shoulder. Use your fingers and palms to glide upward the area. Repeat for a few times and perform it on the other palm and hand.
Feet and legs
Now, time to go south. Start with the foot by firmly pressing your thumb on the arches and ball of the foot. Using the same thumb, stroke the top of the foot with a slow rhythmic stimulation from the toes to the ankle. Repeat this for a few times.
Do the same long gliding strokes at the sole. Then, start to gently rotate the ankle back and forth. Slowly turn the ankle in each direction a couple of times.
After that, proceed to gently pull each toe by putting your fingers on either side of the toe. Upon completion of stimulating each toe, slide your fingers in between all toes and gently move them back and forth with firm pressure. Once done, move on to the other foot and repeat the sequence.
When done with the above steps, it’s time to advance to the legs and calves. Start firmly massaging the ankle to knee, and from knee to thigh. Use pressure to move upwards periodically. Then navigate towards the shin and begin kneading the calf up and down with your thumbs. Once finished, move on to the thigh and apply pressure using the palms—one moving inward, the other moving outward. Those who are going through treatment for anal skin tag removal should be very careful while taking foot massage.
Top it all off with steady strokes moving upward, then repeat on the other leg.
Completing the massage
To conclude the massage, do some light stimulations from the top of the shoulder down to the sole of the foot. Make sure that the pressure applied decreases over time until the person you’re massaging doesn’t feel a thing. Leave the person for a few minutes and let him adapt to the sensations.
This is how a typical massage should look like, however it will still vary depending on which kind of massage is to be done. This is a great start for those who want to learn how to perform a full body massage. If you want to dive deeper into the world of giving massages this relaxation massage course can lend you a hand.
What to expect from a full body massage
Before you give a full body massage, here are the common questions that will help manage expectations for you and your clients.
1. Where will the massage take place?
The massage will take place in a warm, comfortable, and quiet room. The client is likely to lay in a comfortable massage table or bed where the therapist will start to perform the massage.
2. Should the client undress completely?
Most of the massage techniques are best performed when the clients are unclothed. However, it’s up to the clients’ discretion if they will undress completely. It should always align with the level of comfort the clients want.
3. Will the massage therapist be present as the client undresses?
No. The therapist should not be present while the client undresses. The client should lie down on the massage table as directed and drape themselves under the sheets before the therapist comes back in.
4. What parts of the body will be massaged?
Given that the client is getting a full body massage, the expectation should include the back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders. Sensitive areas will be avoided.
5. How should the massage feel like during the session?
Overall, the massage should not cause discomfort. The sensations will vary per type of massage performed. For instance, Swedish massage will give relaxing strokes to calm the nervous system and relieve muscle aches.
6. How long does a massage session typically last?
An average full body massage typically lasts for about an hour. The amount of time will be longer if the clients want a more optimal relaxation.
7. What should the client feel afterward?
After the massage, clients should feel relaxed. Days after, some other physical and emotional benefits should also start to appear. These include more energy, better mindfulness, a happier outlook, increased physical strength, and improved productivity.
How to give a full body massage: professional tips
When giving a massage, here are some pointers to remember to make your massage more relaxing:
- Before the massage, ask clients for any underlying skin condition and health ailments you need to know.
- Learn if the client has any allergies to scents or essential oils you’re going to use.
- Make sure to have the person lie on their front first.
- Avoid applying direct pressure on areas of the body that feel numb and stinging.
- Wipe off excess massage oil or lotion with towels.
- Always start massaging on more prominent areas like the bigger muscle parts before heading to smaller ones.
- Maintain skin contact as you massage body parts.
- Avoid applying direct pressure on bony areas.
- Don’t massage broken skin.
- Keep quiet as you perform a massage.
- Add in the occasional use of oil and lotion to inflict a more relaxing sensation.
- Pay attention to your posture as you perform the massage.
- Get pressure from the center of your body instead of overworking your hands and fingers.
- Good lighting and soft music are helpful.