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How to Give Someone a Shoulder Massage

Learn how to give someone a shoulder massage from massage therapist Renee French in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Renee French, and I'm here at Practical Massage Therapy in Nashville, Tennessee. And I'm going to be talking about massage therapy. So I start by applying a small amount of massage cream all around the shoulder area. It's really great if you go along the edge of the shoulder blade to start with. Using the fingertips more than the palms at this point, just kind of outline the shoulder blade. This feels really nice, and it's just a really great way to warm up the muscles. So once you've done that 3 to 5, even 9 times, and you feel that the muscles are starting to warm up, things are starting to soften up. You can actually bring the arm right off the side of your table. And this is a nice position to get all around the shoulder blade. Then you can even come to the top of the shoulder, starting at the base of the neck, and running straight out along the top of the shoulder. And I'm just using my thumbs to apply pressure, and kind of getting a nice drag so that I start to warm up those muscles as well. This actually helps to make your job easier when you warm up the muscle. Getting in deep, and you don't have to work so hard. One of the things that you can do starting right at the spine running along, straight out to the side towards the shoulder. And kind of hook on the inside of the shoulder blade, and give a little traction there. You don't want to push too much, or create too much traction. It can be a little painful. A lot of people carry stress in the shoulder area. You can get nice drag and lengthening these muscles. And that's actually a really great thing to think of when you're working on the muscles, is just think about lengthening them, and moving really slowly so that it's not a shock to the body. Another thing that I like to do is come around to the outside of the shoulder blade. And this area has a tendency to be overlooked, but it can be really sensitive, so just take your time to get in there. And create a little traction up towards the head. And this just helps to release any of the muscles along the side of the body. And then if you find that there are any kind of trigger areas or sore spots where the shoulder meets the arm, you can take the 2 thumbs, and working in small circles, kind of work some of these muscles too. Just all along the top of the shoulder blade. And you can check in with the person, and just make sure that it feels good to them, and it's not painful. And then you can even come to the top here, and give a little pinching or squeezing action to kind of work the top of that, the top of the shoulder. And if you find any little areas that feel like little knots, you can actually place both of your thumbs on them, on that particular spot, and just hold it for a few breaths. And then, before you finish, just give a couple of strokes, just like when you started to indicate that you're finishing up. And those are my tips on how to give a shoulder massage.

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