Stroking movements are among the easiest and most calming to give and receive in massage, and you will probably return to them often to calm your friend and relax yourself. Use fan stroking to apply oil and to link different areas of the body, and when your hands are tired or you are deciding which movement to use next. Work smoothly and rhythmically. You can vary the length of the stroke, but keep the rhythm fluid.
1. Place your hands side by side on the body, palms down, and then smoothly and gently slide upward, leading with your fingers. Keeping a straight back, lean forward on your hands, using the weight of your body to apply a steady, even pressure through the palms and heels of the hands.
2. Fan your hands out to both sides of the body, reducing the pressure, and slide them down the sides, molding them to the contours of the body. Pull your hands up toward each other, and swivel them around to begin the upward movement again. Repeat several times, covering the whole area.
Follow the sequence above, using each hand alternately to stroke the body. This slight variation creates pleasant diagonal stretches. Starting with the right hand, stroke firmly upward and out. Then repeat the movement with the left hand so that it strokes up as the right hand glides down. Repeat several times to cover the whole area
Circular stroking. In this variation of fan stroking, both hands work on the same side, one hand completing a full circle while the other makes a half circle, building up a smooth and steady rhythm. Circular stroking is particularly effective on large areas, such as the back, shoulders, and abdomen. Like fan stroking, it is good for linking different areas in a full body massage. It produces a continuous flowing effect.
1. Place both hands, fingers pointing away from you, on one side of the body about 6 inches (15 cm) apart
2. Begin to circle your hands in a clockwise direction, starting with the left hand, and following with the right.
3. As your left hand meets your right arm, lift your hand over, rejoining the body on the other side to finish the circle. Repeat several times, stroking firmly on the upward and outward movement, and gliding gently to complete the circle.
This firm movement is particularly useful on small, tense areas, such as the top of the shoulders and the neck. Alter the pressure to suit your friend's needs. If the muscles are very tight, begin gently, then stroke more firmly. To vary the effect, circle your thumbs, following steps 1-3 above for circular stroking. With your hands resting on the body, stroke firmly upward and out to the side with your left thumb. Follow with the right thumb, stroking a little higher. Make the stroke smooth and repetitive, building up a steady rhythm
In a relaxing massage, kneading should be flat and smooth to produce an amazingly soothing effect. The movement is like kneading dough and is useful on the shoulders, back, and fleshy areas such as the hips.
1. Place yow hands flat on the body with your elbows apart and fingers pointing away from you. With your right hand, gently grasp some flesh and release it into your left hand.
2. Let your left hand take the flesh and then release it into yow
right hand. Repeat several times, counting to keep your strokes rhythmic, like waves washing over the muscles.