If you feel tense, and the strain of modern living is telling on you, there is nothing better than a soothing massage
Massage is an effective remedy for a very wide variety of muscular complaints, particularly those caused by tension. For amid the strain of everyday living, we often do not realize that our muscles are becoming taut and knotted, losing their elasticity and, in the process adding to that general run-down feeling. A good massage will loosen the muscle fibres, dissolving hard knots below the skin and leaving the body feeling more flexible and relaxed.
Massage also has a hidden benefit aside from its physical advantages. It provides a time for you to relax completely to shut out the world and to concentrate on your own body. It can help you locate where the trouble spots are and give you the opportunity to think about how to avoid future build-ups of body tension. In addition, of course, it is a marvellously sensuous experience and feels wonderful.
Massage at home
With the grown of interest in self-help relaxation, your local library and bookshop are likely to have an assortment of books on different types of massage. If you look at a basic introductory manual, you may be surprised to discover that the art of massage can be practiced by amateurs at home. All it needs is a little time and a willing friend. As you will learn from any massage manual, the basic stroking techniques are elegantly simple. They involve rubbing the skin with different parts of the hand and applying varying degrees of pressure.
For the massage, you will require a thick blanket covered with a cotton sheet over a thin mattress or layer of foam placed on the floor. Beds are not advisable, as they normally do not provide enough underlying support. For sitting massage, you should have a chair with a straight seat and back.
Although it is not essential, the person massaging may find it beneficial to apply a little oil to his or her hands, to prevent friction. The person being massaged will also find it a pleasant sensation. Light oil such as almond or safflower is ideal.
Make sure the atmosphere is comfortable – choose a warm, quiet spot with plenty of room for the masseur to move around, gentle, indirect lighting and possibly soothing music. Some people prefer to be massaged nude, while others wear a swimsuit - choose whatever makes you feel best. The idea is to be relaxed as possible.
In a massage session of about 40 minutes to an hour, you should aim to completely relax the body by repeated application of basic strokes and then to concentrate on one specific area such as the neck or lower back. A cool shower after the massage will leave the subject feeling refreshed and toned up. In the nest session, swap roles so that you can both enjoy the sensual pleasure of being massaged.
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