There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day of work to a fantastic shoulder massage. However, plenty of people find that it’s much more difficult than they originally thought.
Knowing how to properly place your hands and work around bones and muscles is quite the task. This is why professional masseuses and physical therapists are as popular as they are. With this guide, you’ll be able to master the art of knowing how to give a shoulder massage.
Things to Consider
1. Always Use Massage Oil
One of the most important things of any massage is to make sure your hands simply glide across the skin. This can be achieved with the use of high-quality massage oil. With that being said, you’ll want to find a formula that allows you to maintain control and is easily absorbed into the skin.
For added soothing, consider warming massaging oil that will loosen the muscles. This will help to make the massage more pleasurable and rejuvenating for your friend or partner.
2. Avoid Bones
Massaging bones is incredibly uncomfortable for the recipient as well as yourself. In fact, you will be increasing the likelihood of injuring either party if you focus on bones. Instead, massaging muscles is the only thing you should be focusing on.
3. Start with Limited Pressure
This is especially important for someone who has limited massaging experience. The human body is delicate and applying too much pressure can transform a massage into a bad experience. One of the last things you’ll want to do is apply too much pressure and injure your friend or partner.
You also won’t want to injure yourself in the process. If you’re concerned about your level of expertise, consider applying less pressure. This will protect both parties during the massage.
4. Consult a Doctor
Before beginning the massage, it’s important to make sure the person isn’t suffering from a recent injury or unexplained pain. Untrained hands can potentially cause more damage and sometimes, irreversible damage.
If your friend or partner is suffering from unexplained pain, first consult a doctor before giving a massage. If they are dealing with a serious injury, they can then be referred to a highly trained professional.
How to Give a Shoulder Massage: The Steps
It’s now time to go through our beginner’s guide to giving the best possible shoulder massage.
Step 1: Lifting the Muscle
The first thing you’ll need to do is called “muscle lifting”. This is when you form a lobster claw shape with your hands and gently glide across the muscles while gently lifting the skin. You’ll want to use a windshield wiper motion when doing this process.
Remember, your hands should easily glide along the muscle and you should focus on the upper back and lower neck.
Step 2: Knuckling the Shoulders
Next, you’re going to want to knuckle the shoulders and this is best experienced if you aren’t able to break contact with the skin. Form two fists with your hands and pull your knuckles along the shoulders, focusing on the trapezius muscle. You’ll also want to make sure that you start from the outside and work your way in.
As your knuckles make their way closer to the neck, create more of a rolling motion with your larger knuckles. Bring this motion to the base of the skull and then hold your hands in place for a few moments. You can then bring your hands back down towards the neck. Repeat this motion several times.
Step 3: Using Your Thumbs
Once you’ve finished the knuckling process, it’s now time to rely on your thumbs to do all of the work. Remove your two thumbs from your fists and gently glide them from the trapezius to the middle of the person’s back.
You can also do this motion down the sides of their neck to the tops of their shoulders. Make sure that you do this pattern evenly on both the left and right sides of their shoulders.
Step 4: Assisted Shoulder Rotations
This is arguably one of the deepest parts of the massage and this motion will help to eliminate stress in the shoulder muscles. However, this also takes the most amount of effort and concentration.
For the assisted shoulder rotation, you’ll want to put one hand under the shoulder for added support. Using your other hand, place them along the inside of the shoulder blade. Using both hands, gently rotate the shoulder.
If there’s added tension in this area, you can use your thumbs to apply more pressure. With this motion, you should be able to work out any deep kinks and toughness in the shoulders.
Step 5: Shoulder Presses
Once you think that you’ve worked out the majority of deeper discomfort, you can then transition to shoulder presses. This helps to push additional tension out of the shoulder and lower neck area.
While your friend or partner is sitting up, place your two thumbs on the back of the shoulders with your remaining fingers encompassing the front. Using pressure, push your thumbs forward. This will assert the correct amount of pressure to loosen the muscles.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
At this point, all of the tension and discomfort in the back should be sufficiently removed. You can add more massage oil to your hands for this final step.
Using both of your hands, gently apply pressure to the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Gently glide your hands from one shoulder to the next, alternating the movement of your hands. As you near the end of the massage, lessen your pressure.
Learning how to give a shoulder massage is a very useful tool to have. It gives you the ability to alleviate stress and tension in friends, family members, and partners. You might even find that you’ll be able to teach others how to massage you in return! However, it’s important that you learn how to give a proper massage.
With the right techniques and massage oil, you can refine your skills. As mentioned, before giving anyone a massage, it’s important they first consult a doctor. This can help to prevent prolonged damage if they are suffering from an actual injury.