I teach my shiatsu-inspired gravity-dependent methods by request to individuals and groups school-aged and older; no prior massage skills or strength necessary: I can teach children to massage their parents or caregivers.
My methods are highly sustainable for the giver and require little physical strength because they rely on gravity and body weight. No knowledge of anatomy is required because we can rely on verbal and other forms of communication between recipient and giver as well as applying pressure only between – and not on – bones.
Rates are determined by group size, location, and desired length of training. Includes a 2-page handout summarizing the principles and techniques (content copied below).
Trained professionals can benefit from learning my techniques (I am a registered massage therapist). I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
Do you need to give and receive more massages? Here’s a handful of techniques to get you started. Remember: not every bodily tool works the same way on every body; continuous dialogue is key. Enjoy!
Use these techniques to soften the muscles of anyone who is feeling stress in their minds or bodies. Be sure to ask for permission first (“Would you like a massage?”) and find out what type of pressure they prefer (start gently squeezing their shoulders with your hands and ask “Would you like less or more pressure than this?”) Start small and build.
You could inquire further: “Is there any particular area of your body that needs attention?” Get that part positioned so you are directly above it. For example, when the client sits on the ground cross-legged, the masseuse can stand behind the client and lean on each shoulder with palms or forearms. Insist: “Please let me know with a tap or ‘less pressure please’ if anything feels uncomfortable.” You can use numbers: “On an impact scale of one to ten, one being a lack of impact and 10 being too much impact, let’s stay around a level five. Call out a number to let me know if the pressure level is too low or high.” Or develop your own communication system to ensure your work suits the client. Facial expressions and sounds can help in assessing the client’s comfort level, but asking directly remains the best method to be sure.
We are always distributing our weight downward in some way, but in this case we can instead direct our weight into our client’s tense muscles. Maximum leverage (force) with minimum effort comes when we position our own body (or bodily massage tool) above and perpendicular to (leaning into) the client body part being massaged. This client body part should be facing upward so that we can lean downward onto it (toward the earth) in a way that is easy for the masseur to balance and sway.
All of these body parts fit somewhere into the clients’ major muscle groups depending on their body size.
– Palms – work well for most of the body and deliver gentle, even force.
– Forearms – sharp side for cutting and flat side for mashing
– Elbows – pokey end for perforating or flat edge for cutting motion (if the client likes it)
– Knee caps – great for mashing large, tight muscles if the client keeps asking for more pressure
– Shins – great for tenderizing large muscles
– Heels – wear clean socks to use your heels + leg strength as gentle yet strong massage tools. Can be done from sitting on ground, chair/couch, or standing.
– Foot arch – effective cupping effect when lowered gently onto front of shoulder joint (client lying on back) or onto calves (client face down with pillows under shins).
– Sitz bones/hips – broad muscle-mashing power with a nice layer of padding for larger clients and larger muscle groups such as the back and back of thighs. **this is an advanced technique and suitable only if the masseuse is equal or smaller in weight and size than the client**
– Skull/forehead – perfect for rolling out the abdomen without any fear of puncturing. **use only the weight of the skull vs any neck muscles/labour
– Thumbs – best to double up (see “mother/daughter hand/thumb below”) or press one thumb down with the other palm and/or save these for finer work such as neck, jaw, and hands.
With any bodily tool, you can slide, lean, hold, pulse, sink in, press.
With hands and palms, you can squish.
With two hands or other suitable bodily tool + ground or back of couch supporting the client, you can compress (press inward).
With sharp side of forearm, you can cut/slice through tense muscles.
With flat side of forearm, skull, heels, or kneecaps, you can mash.
**advanced technique: pull tissue away from bone that does not respond well to being pushed (not demonstrated here – this is not as easy for beginners to perform ergonomically).
– Stay & Hold – lean into the area and stay until you or the client feels the area is satisfied.
– Hold – Release (rock on, rock off) – helps to mobilize muscle groups and distract the client from discomfort. You can ‘travel’ using this back and forth motion if using two points of contact (e.g., forearms travelling from base of neck outward to shoulders) and ‘walk’ around the region (walking with elbow points can loosen an area via perforation when stretching is ineffective or uncomfortable)
– Mother–Daughter thumbs or hands – place one atop the other so the whole upper body can contribute rather than letting a single thumb or hand and surrounding muscles labour alone. You can pulse, hold, or travel with thumbs or hands overlapping like this. Or one hand can stay at one end of a muscle group while the other travels around.
– Ask the client to mobilize/wiggle/move the area receiving pressure to give the client’s body some control and momentum for releasing.
– On muscle between bones: imagine you are gently tenderizing the meat of the muscle.
– Where muscles attach to bones: imagine you are gently scraping the meat off the bones.
– For big muscles, use big tools (for example, on buttocks & shoulders, you can use knee caps and palms; thumbs and fingers will get tired too quickly on such large muscles as well as potentially feel too sharp to the client)
– For small muscles, small and large tools can work depending on the area (save fingers for neck & face; for some people, the kneecap is great on the forearm but start small first!)
– For soft/delicate areas, choose soft/broad tools (e.g., palms; weight of skull/forehead)
Get creative & inquire to hone in on what your client would most enjoy.
– “Would you like me to pulse more slowly or quickly?”
– “Do you prefer it when I stay and hold (demonstrate) or when I walk up and down with my [heels/elbows/kneecaps/thumbs]? (demonstrate)”
– “I could also lean/shift/pulse/broaden the pressure like this (demonstrate)…”
– “Can you breathe into this? Mobilize it [pressure stays on] and relax as you breathe out.”
– “Is there somewhere else that needs attention?”
– “Anywhere else you’d like me to focus before we wrap up?”
The goal is to squish the tension out of the client’s body without either of you getting hurt in any way. Here’s an extra fun challenge: while massaging, can you adjust your body so that your body benefits too? E.g., extend your spine, lean your head one way then the other, adjust your body so you feel more balanced: Any pleasure and benefit you can discover for yourself while providing a massage can also be felt and enjoyed by the client. That’s win-win!