Want to know how to give a Chinese body massage for that special someone? The ancient art of Chinese medicine, of which massage (An Mo or Tui Na) is an essential component, takes time and apprenticeship to master. However, it is possible to use some of the techniques to provide a relaxing, even sensual massage if you understand some basic principles. Most importantly, Chinese medicine, and therefore Chinese massage, is a holistic approach to the balance between mind, body, and spirit. Massage is a physiotherapeutic tool used to help alleviate physical symptoms, but also requires engagement of the whole person, including the mind and spirit.
- The first step to learning how to give a Chinese body massage is to understand the importance of mood and atmosphere. The mind must be prepared to relax as much as the body. Relaxing the mind can include soft music, pleasant smells, and low lighting.
- Preparing the body is also important. The recipient should have a space that is comfortable, without placing too much pressure on any given point of the body. However, the giver should have uninhibited access to the areas to be massaged. In learning how to give a Chinese body massage, one learns the importance of quieting and comforting the whole person. Therefore, a flat yet firm surface where the recipient can lay comfortably is best.
- Start at the bottom. In Chinese medicine, the feet are an area closely related to the entire body. In fact, the feet are considered the second heart. Therefore, in considering how to give a Chinese body massage, the feet require more attention than other areas to encourage relaxation and good overall health. A good massage should begin at the feet.
- No matter the area, work from large to small. For example, to massage leg muscles, start with the larger muscles around thighs and calves, working down to smaller ankle or knee muscles, joints, and tendons. The same is true for hands and feet. Work large areas first, ending with fingers and toes. Pay attention to pressure points, as gently massaging these small points can greatly affect the overall relaxation of the entire area.
- Alternate hand techniques depending on what you feel in terms of knots, tightness, or other indications of stress. In early Chinese Dynasties, learning how to give a Chinese body massage meant mastering six hand massage techniques to strand, kneed, shake, roll, twiddle, and twine. Used in conjunction, these techniques help reach differing levels of tissue, organs, and bone. For example, after kneading the foot with thumbs on the arch and forefingers on the bridge, gently but firmly tapping the arch of the foot with your knuckles provides additional release of tension. In Chinese massage, each area of the hand is used differently, for different results.
- Pay attention to pressure and speed when learning how to give a Chinese body massage. Kneading or rolling need not be done with great force, but rather focused force. Slow, steady, rhythmic hand movements are key. In some areas of the body, steady pressure applied firmly and evenly to a tense muscle for ten seconds, then released and applied again can do more for knotted muscles than hard kneading for two to three minutes.
It can take years to professionally master the art of An Mo or Tui Na. However, learning how to give a Chinese body massage begins by understanding things such as hand techniques, pressure points, and the relationship between organs, marrow, tissue, and pressure. Furthermore, understanding the need to engage the entire being in relaxation will improve your ability to help your partner relax and enjoy their massage.