Massage is one of the easiest ways of attaining and maintaining good health and well being. It’s a healing instinct, innate in all of us, to rub an aching knee, or stroke a furrowed brow. Headaches, aches and pains, insomnia, tension and stress can all be alleviated with one simple instrument — our hands.

The basis of massage is touch. There is increasing medical evidence to show the great value of touch. Touch is so natural that without it people become depressed and irritable. Observations show that children brought up in families where parents and children touch each other are healthier and more able to withstand pain and infection than those children deprived of touch. They tend to sleep better, are more sociable and generally happier.

Despite all the evidence to show the benefits of touch, we are still hesitant about touching each other. We think this is due to a confusion between sensuality and sexuality. Because we are so afraid of the connection between sex and touch, we have formalized touch. There are only a few occasions when adults are allowed to touch each other freely. Massage removes the taboos of touching and allows people to touch in a positive way.

Benefits of Massage

Massage has amazing effects on the health of the person being massaged. It improves circulation, relaxes muscles, aids digestion, and by stimulating the lymph system, speeds up the elimination of waste products. These direct benefits, combined with the psychological benefits of feeling cared for quickly produce a wonderful feeling of well-being that cannot be matched by modern drugs.

You can easily manage to massage yourself. Use self-massage to energize yourself before school or work in the morning, or to unwind in the evening. You can massage your feet while watching TV, or massage your hands while talking on the phone. You do not need to undress, but you must be comfortable. Use oil if you are massaging on bare skin. Sit in a chair or on the floor, or lie down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.


shoulderMost people suffer from occasional stiff necks, aching shoulders and headaches, so the shoulders are the perfect place to begin self-massage.

1. Stroke your right shoulder with your left hand. Mold your hand to the curves of your body. Starting at the base of your skull, stroke down the side of your neck, over your shoulder and down your arm to the elbow. Glide back to your neck and repeat at least three times. Then do the other side.

2. Make circular pressures with your fingertips on either side of the spine. Work up the neck and around the base of the skull. Then knead each shoulder; squeeze and release the flesh on your shoulders and at the top of your arms.

3. Loosely clench your left hand into a fist and gently pound your right shoulder. Keep your wrist flexible. This springy movement improves the circulation and can be very invigorating if you are tired. Repeat on the other side.

man shoulders
. Finish by stroking softly and smoothly both hands. Start with your hands on the side of your face and glide them gently down under your chin. Slide your hands past each other at the front of the neck, so that each hand is on the opposite shoulder. Stroke gently over your shoulders, down your arms and off at the fingertips. Repeat as often as you like. This hypnotic stroke is so relaxing and can relieve headaches and tension.


legsKnowing how to massage your own legs is very useful whether you are athletic or not. Leg massage can relieve aching after standing too long & help tired muscles recover after exercise. It stimulates the lymph system and regular thigh massage is believed by many to improve the appearance of thighs by smoothing them out & preventing cellulite. Do the whole sequence on one leg first, then the other one.

1. First, mold your hands to the shape of your leg, rest your foot flat and bend your knee up. Start by stroking your whole leg from ankle to thigh with one hand on each side of the leg. Begin at the foot and stroke smoothly up the calf, over the knee and up to the top of the thigh. Repeat five times.

2. Knead the whole thigh, paying attention to the front and outside. With alternate hands, rhythmically squeeze and release the flesh. This regular kneading can really improve the shape & texture of the thighs.

3. After that step, smooth your thigh by stroking it. Stroke up the thigh from the knee with one hand following the other.

4. Pummel the front and outside of your thighs with loosely clenched fists. This bouncy movement brings blood to the surface and relieves stiffness after sitting down for too long.

5. Massage all around your knee, stroke the area gently, then apply circular pressures with your fingertips around the kneecap. Finish by stroking softly behind your knee up toward your body.

6. Knead your calf muscles with both hands, alternating squeezing the muscle away from the bone & then releasing it. Then gently soothe the area by gently stroking, one hand following the other up the back of the leg.


foot massageIt’s easy to massage your own feet. If you are sitting up, rest one foot on the opposite leg. Bad posture, back ache and fatigue can all stem from unnoticed foot problem. By massaging your feet daily you can refresh your whole body.

1. Put one hand on top of the foot and the other under the sole, then stroke smoothly from your toes to your ankles. Glide your hands back to your toes and repeat.

2 . Support your foot with one hand and work on each toe individually. Squeeze it firmly, and gently stretch each toe with a gentle pull.

3 . With one thumb on top of the other, do a line of firm pressures down the center of the sole and lines on either side. Then, with one thumb, do circular pressures on the arch and the ball of the foot.

4 . Support your foot with one hand and make the other into a loose fist. Do knuckling movements all over the sole by rippling your fingers around in small circular movements.

5 . Then, still holding the foot with one hand, hack the sole with your other hand, Flick your hand away the moment you touch the foot, so that the effect is light and springy.

6 . Stroke around the ankle with your fingertips, as you stroke up toward the leg and gently as you glide back. Finish by stroking the foot as you did at the beginning.

Hand Massage

hand massagemouse handIt may seem surprising that people carry a lot of tension around in their hands. But it’s actually quite obvious when you think about how much you use your hands. Most of our movements are holding, clutching actions, so it is very relaxing to counteract these movements by opening the palm and your fingers.

I am sure you can think of all the abuse your hands take in a day. Especially if you use one of these things on the right of the page a lot.

1. Stroke the back of your hand, pushing firmly up toward the wrist and gliding back gently. Then squeeze the hand all over, pressing it between your palm and your fingers.

2. Squeeze each finger all over and make circular pressures over the joints with your thumb. Then hold the finger at its base and pull it gently to stretch it, sliding your grip up the finger and off the tip.

3. Stroke between the tendons on the back of the hand with your thumb. Stroke in the furrow to the wrists doing four strokes in each furrow.

4. Turn your hand over and support the back with your fingers. Do firm circular and static pressures with your thumb, working all over the palm and around the wrist.

5. Finish the massage by stroking the palm of your hand from the fingers to the wrist. Push into it with the heel of your other hand, then glide gently back and repeat. If you end your massage with your hands, this is a good time to apply a hand lotion to them.

This is the end of part one. In part two we will teach you how to do arms, abdomen, neck and face. Wait until you feel all the tension you have in your face after a day at school or work!

Update, August 23, 2002The Benefits of Massage Therapy

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy provides several important health benefits, including:

  • Improved blood circulation. Massage increases blood circulation, which aids in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity.
  • Muscle relaxation and improved range of motion. Massage causes the muscles to relax, which will improve range of motion and help insomnia.
  • Increased endorphin levels. The increase of endorphin levels is actually one of the greatest benefits of massage therapy. Endorphins are the chemicals the body produces that make you feel good, which is very effective in managing chronic pain.

Written by Dave Otis., a Licensed Massage Therapist from Florida, USA   

Recommended Adult Reading:

Erotic Massage – by Anne J. Hooper
Step-by-step illustrations and great tips for erotic stimulation show you how to enrich you love-life through the power of touch. The book features more than 200 photographs which demonstrate sensual touching.

Discover the Power of Yoga

Health and Spirituality – Is There a Connection?

The Mind-Body Approach to Illness

The Mind Body Approach to Health

Stress and Stress Management & Stress Skills

The Power of Visualization

Tai Chi Basics


armsThough you may feel tempted to ignore your arms, you will find that a thorough massage can help to release tension elsewhere in the body, especially in the shoulders

1. Smooth your whole arm by stroking from the wrist to the shoulder. Stroke firmly as you move up the arm and then glide back and repeat.

2. Knead all the way up your arm, squeezing and releasing the flesh. Pay particular attention to the fleshy part at the back of the upper arm.

3 . Do circular pressures on your forearm with your thumb. Then, with your thumb and fingers, circle in all the hollows around the elbow.

Pat your upper arm to stimulate the circulation and help prevent the unhealthy look some arms have. Finally, stroke your whole arm again. You can have great looking arms!


bellyIt is natural to rub your stomach when it aches, and any form of massage, however basic, is extremely comforting. It is also good for menstrual cramps. Lie down to massage your abdomen with your knees bent up.

1. Stroke clockwise around your abdomen with one hand following the other in a circle, using the whole surface of your hands.

2 . Knead all over your abdomen with your fingers and thumbs. Then roll onto your side to knead your hips and bottom. Turn onto your back and stroke around your abdomen again.

3. Pummeling hips: To wake yourself up after a massage, pummel your hips and bottom vigorously. Stand up and with loosely clenched fists, pummel the area very quickly. Not only does this leave you feeling refreshed and energized, it also improves the circulation, muscle tone and skin texture. Keep your wrists very flexible. Flick your hands away as soon as you strike the skin.


Giving yourself a face massage can relieve headaches, anxiety and banish fatigue. Face massage can also benefit your appearance by improving your complexion and leaving your face looking fresher. Use a fine face oil so you don’t drag your skin. (If you have oily skin wash your face after the massage). You can fit a massage in at any time: a stimulating one first thing in the morning, or a soothing one in the evening. Try to vary the movements: brisk and fast for an energizing effect, or slow and smooth if you want a calming effect. Repeat each movement as often as you like.

1. Start by putting your hands over your face, with your fingers on your forehead and the heels of your hands on your chin. Hold them there for a moment, then very slowly and gently draw them out toward your ears. As they move out, imagine that they are dissolving the tension from your face and drawing it away like magnets.

2. Tilt your head to one side and using the back of your hands stroke from the collarbone to the chin, one hand following the other. Tilt your head to the left and stroke up the right side of your neck, then repeat on the other side. Stroke firmly to stimulate the circulation and help keep the skin on your neck firm.

3 . Pinch all along your jawline using your thumbs and the knuckles of your index fingers. Start under your chin and work out toward your ears. Keep the pinching close to the bone, so your don’t stretch the skin.

4. Gently, slap under your chin with the back of your hands, while alternating hands. Exercise the muscles under your chin by keeping your tongue curled back in your mouth while you perform this stimulating movement.

5. Make small circular pressures all over your chin and around your mouth with the index and middle fingers of each hand. While you do this, exercise the muscle around your mouth by making a large O and holding your lips tightly over your teeth. Then exercise the muscle further by exaggeratedly saying “Aah”, “Ooh”, “Eee”, “Uuu”, to stimulate the circulation and to prevent wrinkles from developing around your mouth — it is never too young to start.

6 . Stroke from the corners of your mouth to your ears. Use one hand on each cheek and move them both out together. Then, both hands on one side, stroke from your mouth to your ear, using the back of your fingers.

7. Stroke up your forehead from the bridge of your nose to your hairline with one hand following the other. Mold your hands to the shape of your forehead, and close your eyes to enjoy this soothing movement.

8 . Massage the muscles between your eyebrows to counteract from lines. Place both index fingers on the bridge of your nose and make short, firm strokes upward first, then across and then diagonally.

9 . Make circular pressures all over your forehead, working in lines from the bridge of your nose to your temples, to cover the whole forehead up to your hairline. Press firmly, but don’t drag your skin. Then stroke your forehead gently with your fingertips to soothe it after the last stimulating movement.

10. Stroke from the center of your forehead to your temples and finish by pressing gently on the temples. You can strengthen the jaw muscle by clenching your teeth slightly as you press on your temples. Feel the muscle working under your fingers. Then hardly moving the skin, circle slowly and steadily to stimulate the muscle.

11. Stroke in a circle around your eyes with your middle fingers. Stroke firmly and evenly from the bridge of your nose out over your eyebrows, press on your temples, then glide lightly under your eyes, barely touching the skin.

12. Pinch along around your eyebrows from the center to the temples with your thumbs and index fingers. Then press into the tiny indentation in the bone under the eyebrows at the bridge of the nose.

face13. Relax your eyes by palming. Put the heel of your hands into your eye sockets and hold your hands there for a few seconds. Enjoy the darkness for a second. Press gently, then slowly glide your hands away. (Many actors say that when they are totally exhausted, but still have to go on stage for the final act, they palm they eyes like this.) I have asked an eye doctor if this was safe and she said it sounded fine to her… btw. After only a few seconds of darkness, there is a wonderful light that seems to revitalize many people. Try this, it only takes a few seconds, but it is very refreshing.

sun14. Finish by covering your face with your hands and stroking gently out to the sides. This simple massage should make your skin look fresher and you will feel revitalized. Think I will go do it myself right now as a matter of fact. ENJOY!

Written by Dave Otis., LMT, (Licensed Massage Therapist)

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Amy - Teen's Health Expert

By Amy - Teen's Health Expert

Discover the dedicated author behind Teen Health Secrets, an experienced expert committed to providing in-depth knowledge and guidance on various aspects of teen health, ensuring young individuals lead healthy, informed lives.