A massage session is comprised of a variety of skills, often happening simultaneously and on many levels. You have already learned how to set up and organize massage equipment for the session. You have also learned how to practice good hygiene and sanitation. Knowledge of ethical issues provides a framework to think about therapeutic touch on a deeper level. This chapter teaches foundation massage skills, many that you will likely use in every session.
Topic 10-1 helps you understand the sequence of skills you commonly use in a relaxation-oriented massage. The purpose of this topic is to give you the big picture so that you know where you’re going and the skills you need to practice to get there.
Topic 10-2 takes you step by step through the process of using bolsters to support clients in various body arrangements that give you access to different body areas during the session.
The ability to undrape different body areas while maintaining the client’s modesty is a key foundation skill taught in Topic 10-3, while opening and closing a massage effectively are discussed in Topic 10-4. Topic 10-4 also looks at the use of breath during a massage because breathwork can be a powerful aid for releasing areas of tension and pain.
Understanding and mastering the techniques presented in this chapter will prepare you for the coming chapters on assessment and Swedish massage.
closing the massage
opening the massage
resting and holding strokes
Having read the chapter and used the related student learning tools, the student will be able to:
- Outline the events that are likely to occur in a client interview and explain the importance of each.
- Compare bolstering in a supine position to bolstering in a prone position.
- State three reasons why draping is used in massage sessions.
- Differentiate among simple draping, range-of-motion draping, and spa draping.
- List three benefits of using breathwork in a massage session.
- Describe two methods for using breathwork in a massage session.
- Explain the importance of a well-planned opening and closing to the massage client.
- Outline one method for opening a massage and one method for closing a massage.