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Massage for Legs

Massage expert Tracie Bell demonstrates how to massage legs.

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Hi, my name is Tracy Bell and we are demonstrating a full body Swedish massage, and now we're going to move on to the lower leg.

Now, prepare the leg for massage. If the person has tight muscles or congestion going on with their muscles, what you want to do is maybe do a full stretch of their leg. Now, when you're stretching the person's leg you want to make sure that you're only stretching them as far as they can go, not as far as you can push the leg down. So, when you feel the muscle resist and push back, that's about as far as the stretch can go. You hold it for account of 1 Mississippi to 5 Mississippi, and then you release it. Back down onto to the bolster. Then you begin by applying massage oil to the lower leg. Now, when you're applying the massage oil you want to kind of do it an upper edge stroke, towards the direction of the heart. When there are different strokes, you can do when you're doing full body Swedish massage. You can start off with effleurage, all effleurage strokes go towards the heart. So, when youre doing effleurage strokes, because of the blood and the way it circulates, it all circulates from the feet upwards, you want to make sure that you're going towards the heart. Now, these strokes can start off really light, and then as you really get into the massage you can start adding more pressure. Now, when we're massaging the leg, the area to be careful of is the popliteal area right behind the knee. You want to make sure just like on the vertebrae, you're not pressing hard on that area, because of veins and arteries running through there that you don't want to pinch or impede.

So, you can start off at the very bottom of the leg and do a full effleurage stroke all the way up to the person's hip, and then maybe a light feather stroke back down. As I'm going I'm loosening up my pressures as I go over the popliteal area, and then I add more pressure as I move up towards the sacrum and the hip area, making sure that I give all in the hip area, because we do a lot of walking and running throughout our day, so we want to make sure those muscles are nice and loose. You can also do petrosage strokes which are just picking up and kneading the muscle, making sure you move slowly. The slower you go with the massage the better it is because it makes the massage feel to the person you're working on longer. So, as you're going back and forth with your hands, you want to make sure that your body is moving along with you so that you're not using your hands and your arms a whole lot and tiring yourself out.

Now, as I move from the lower leg, I can go up to the thigh area and work the hamstring muscles, and the IT band, which goes up to side of your leg. Making sure you're checking with your massage client, is that pressure okay?

Really leaning into your strokes. You want to use a whole lot of your body so that your arms and your hands dont get tired from overuse. You can do muscle stripping, which is taking thumb or a finger and going up the muscle, making sure that you get the entire muscle. Now, you have a couple of muscles back here, so make sure you get the entire region. You can also do arm strokes on the back of the leg. Now, an arm stroke isn't necessarily going to go all the way up to your hip, but if you can do it, you can take your arm stroke all the way up to the gluteal region, and then following behind with a broadening out stroke.

You can also lift the leg up if you want it to work, the calf area and do some kneading with your hands all the way up to the Achilles tendon. and then working your way back down again. Going up the leg again, and then completing it with another stretch. Holding it for five seconds, slowly releasing it, maybe a couple of more broadening strokes up the leg, working backwards, slowly going from deeper pressure to softer pressure, until finally you end with the leg.

Next we will be demonstrating how to massage the arm.