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General Self Massage Techniques

Tapping

Tapping creates light rapid vibrations throughout the muscle encouraging it to relax and let go of tension. Depending on what you are trying to achieve you can play with a different levels of speed and power.  For example, working around a knee condition you would want to lightly tap with the finger pads gently coaxing the muscle to let go. Whereas, on the larger muscle of the thigh you can tap harder with the fists, getting the whole muscle to let go with a fair amount of force. You will have to discover yourself what feels good and where. Everyone is different so see for yourself. As a general rule, if it feels good, keep going. However, if there is any discomfort or pain change styles or stop all together.

  1. Start by tapping the finger tips together for a minute to help build up sensitivity in the fingers.
  2. Now begin gently tapping with the finger pads on a specific area or muscle. Feel as though the muscle is a trampoline bouncing your fingers back.
  3. Tap up, down and around making sure you cover the whole muscle.
  4. After surveying the whole area return to any smaller spots where you sensed tension and stay there for a few minutes longer.
  5. Play with different speeds and tempos.
  6. When getting to am area with thicker muscle or deeper tension you can use the side of your fist to tap, creating more force. Be sure to work within your body’s limits and of course never do this to a joint or bone.

Skin Rolls

This technique can help release tension due to the fascia (a net of fibrous tissue surrounding a group of muscles) sticking to the skin or underlying muscles. Loosening the fascia also loosens the muscle it is holding. Skin rolling brings more blood flow to the area, in particular, between the layer of skin and muscle. You will see increased color in the skin as evidence of this

1. Using the forefinger and thumb, gently squeeze the top layer of skin around the specific area or muscle you are working with.
2. Once the area feels a little looser and more blood has been brought to it, you can start squeezing the layer underneath the skin, pulling it away from the muscle.
3. Move up and down the muscle returning and spending more time on the areas that feel tighter.

Effleurage

This massage technique entails stroking in a circular motion with the finger pads and/or palms. With a gentle pressure you are effecting only the top layer of skin and with a harder pressure you effect deeper layers. This technique encourages more blood flow, improves lymph drainage, increases awareness and gently relieves tension in an area or muscle.

1. Start by gently moving you finger tips in a circular motion across an area. Sense for spots of tension as you survey the whole area with your fingers.
2. Add in the palms to bring more force to areas with thicker muscles.
3. If you find spots of tension or particular areas that feel good, return and focus on them using the level of force that feels good to your body without being overly painful.

Shaking

In this technique you rapidly move your fingers or palms in all directions. By shaking lightly you will loosen the fascia, increase blow flow and stimulate nerve activity in an area. If you apply more pressure by shaking the muscle itself, you will bring relief to deeper muscle tension.

  1. Start by gently applying pressure to the skin with your finger pads, shaking the skin in a side to side motion, then up and down and finally in all directions in one area.
  2. Sense for spots of tension as you survey the whole area with your fingertips.
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2 in different places.
  4. By applying more force you can bring relief to tension that is lodged deeper in the muscle.
  5. Add in the palms to bring more force to areas with thicker, larger muscles.
  6. With certain muscles, like the thigh, you can even grab and shake, bringing larger scale tension release.