The best way to learn massage is to study it first and identify areas of interest. For example, are you interested in learning “relaxation” or “light” massage, or therapeutic massage. As a beginning massage student, understanding the general guidelines and technical aspects of massage is the first step towards becoming a skilled practitioner. The general guidelines stipulate circumstances where massage is and is not necessary, commonly known as contraindications and indications.
There are a handful guidelines that clearly state conditions where, or cases in which, massage is indicated (recommended) and conditions where, or instances in which, massage is contraindicated (not recommended). Technical aspects include subjects like parts of the body (called areas of endangerment); beginners can study these subjects on their own but advanced training is usually required to achieve competence.
For the entry-level massage therapist, you must focus on the technical aspects of the strokes as well as the body mechanics that aid to deliver those strokes. Commonly, the application of any massage stroke entails six elements: rhythm, duration, speed, direction, frequency, and depth. Beginning massage therapists must consciously work at integrating these elements into their massage. Certain elements dictate the essentials of each stroke, like the speed with which it’s applied, the stroke’s duration, and the amount of pressure. With practice and experience, these elements will become second nature.
Even though a massage can be arranged in several ways in terms of order or sequence, it’s the flow that unifies the massage. Therefore, in order to learn massage, it is important to appreciate that transitioning from one body part to another or from one massage stroke to another involves fluid movements.