Get Your Hands on Me - Do
Your Own Massagefrom Kris McFarland and Lori
She's pinching, you're
flinchingjust in time, professional advice for DIY massage
Can't afford a
professional massage as often as you'd like? Time to convince your partner to
help outand for both of you to learn the ropes. Beginners often go too
far on expensive glop; a moderate amount of ordinary hand cream will suffice.
Start with light stroking and build gradually to vigorous rubbing. (If working
the limbs, rub toward the heart.) Finish with the light touch again. Spend
extra time on tension areas, using body weight to apply pressure without
straining your fingers and thumbs. Don't massage injured areas without first
consulting a doctor. Now you're ready to rub. What follows are two simple
massages you can practice on each other: below, a shoulder massage and
upper-back massage, courtesy of massage guru Kris McFarland, who works with
professional triathletes in Boulder, Colorado; then, instructions for a leg
massage, courtesy of Lori Stahler, a massage therapist in Salt Lake City who
works primarily with skiers (a sore-legged bunch if ever there was one).
SHOULDER MASSAGE AND UPPER BACK
STEP 1: Have
the lucky victim sit backward on a chair, leaning his chest into the backrest.
Stand facing the massagee, press down on the upper trapezius muscles (near
neck), and knead back and forth.
STEP 2: Place your fingers
where the base of the skull meets the neck, fingers pointed toward the floor.
Work the neck as above.
STEP 3: Standing behind the victim now,
go back to the trapezius zone. Gently squeeze and roll the muscles between your
fingers. (Don't pinch.)
STEP 4: Massage between the shoulder
blades and the spine (rhomboids). Lean in with your body weight, pressing with
the heel of your hand.
STEP 5: Switch places and repeat.
LEG MASSAGE AND LOWER BODY
STEP 1: Have
massagee lie on his stomach on a flat surface, level with your hip if possible
(a bed or a sturdy kitchen table with blankets will do), or on a
blanket-covered floor. With lotion, use your palms to rub the back of the leg
above the knee (hamstrings) with long upward strokes, beginning with light
pressure and increasing to moderate pressure. (Avoid the back of knee, a
STEP 2: Using the same long strokes, rub the
calf muscle from the ankle to just below the knee. Make sure to rub the middle,
lateral, and medial sides of the muscle, and then lightly grasp the calf muscle
and jiggle it.
STEP 3: Work the soles of the feet by using short
pressing strokes with your thumbs, from heel toward toes.
4: Have the subject lie on his back. Work the front of the thighs with the
same palm-of-hand technique, moving from the top of the knee upward. On the
outer side of the leg, rub the IT band - the muscle that runs from the outside
of your pelvis to the outside of your knee - using a "cross fiber" technique,
side to side with the first two fingers in strokes three to five inches long,
starting near the knee and moving upward. Use comfortable pressure; this is a
STEP 5: Rub the main muscle of the lower leg on
the outer side of the bone, using long strokes with your thumb from the ankle
to just below the knee.Switch places and repeat.