I want to become a massage goddess. What to read, where to learn?
February 3, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I want to become a massage goddess. Help, advice, suggestions?

My significant other has a history of kidney disease and retains water very easily. He has lately found massage to be very helpful in making him feel a lot better. He says that when he retains water, he feels like his body is clogged with sludge and that massage moves all the sludge out of his body.

He is not always comfortable asking for support, but this is one area where he is letting me help him, and it's going pretty well. I have been doing his hands every day (just in general as part of general touching/closeness) and then a more proper one with arms, legs, shoulders etc. every three days or so. He says I am good at it and it helps him (about an hour after I do a full one, he'll spend a long time in the bathroom and come out feeling like a new person).

So far, I have been taking him at his word if he says go harder or go less hard, but I worry about accidentally injuring him because I am overdoing it or because I don't know about anatomy or something. And if there are specific techniques I don't know about that might help for his kind of situation, I'd like to learn about those too.

I want to read/learn more. I welcome any book/website suggestions. I would be amenable to taking a course as well, but am not sure what to look for. I don't need to become certified or anything. I just want to learn a few tips.
posted by JoannaC to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You might look into lymphatic massage in particular. I know someone who gets this kind of massage for fluid retention (in this case, lymphatic fluid), and some of the principles might be the same. But since kidney disease is already in the mix, I think for everyone's health and peace of mind it would be best if you got some actual training from a massage school where they know your main "client" has this history, instead of relying on YouTube or something. It would help to know where you're located to suggest schools.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:08 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll save myself some typing and just link to this earlier comment of mine.
posted by tdismukes at 8:33 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am in Toronto if it helps to know that.
posted by JoannaC at 8:47 AM on February 3, 2012

Familiarize yourself with massage endangerment sites.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:04 AM on February 3, 2012

There are lots and lots of youtube tutorials. I've done a couple where I give the massage while watching the tutorial simultaneously and just copying everything. Once you do that a couple of times, you can usually repeat it without the tutorial playing, which is obviously more relaxing for the person.

I guess that's more helpful for general relaxation massage than for specific fluid retention things, but if you search with the right keywords you might find something.
posted by lollusc at 6:24 PM on February 3, 2012

I've taken classes on acupressure massage. Some random tips that I can think of:

It's okay to let him guide you. Always go easy in the beginning of the massage to "warm up" the body. That will make it more effective later when you want to go deeper.

There are points that you need to be careful of..I would try to find a local class in your area...where abouts do you live?

Have him drink a glass of *warm* water (NOT COLD) after the massage to help cleanse the body of toxins that you are helping him release via massage. (its awesome that he's using the restroom after, farts and blowing a runny nose during massage, if it comes up, are good too, these are all ways our body releases toxins.) Nothing to be ashamed of, if it comes up you are doing a good job!

Don't let him get cold. If he feels cold in his extremities/hands/feet while he is laying down for his massage, just give him a blanket/towel if he needs.

Ditto tdismukes' link above.

One thing that I learned was to not use too much oil. Often we'd use a dab a dime size amount of cetaphil lotion over an area maybe 3 hands wide. A dab here and there helps but you don't want your hands slipping and sliding all over the place, plus you want to be able to feel whatever is going on and oil makes it too slick sometimes. You want to be able to notice knots and muscle tension, but I think taking a class will help you learn what it feels like initially, and then you can practice on your own.

Man I hope that he is returning the favors and you get some back too! You are doing a great thing.
posted by carpediem at 12:15 AM on February 4, 2012

Have him drink a glass of *warm* water (NOT COLD) after the massage to help cleanse the body of toxins that you are helping him release via massage.

Being well hydrated is never a bad thing but it certainly does not cleanse the body of toxins (and massage doesn't release toxins either).
posted by mmascolino at 9:29 AM on February 4, 2012

You can look into Trigger Point Therapy.
posted by MeiraV at 6:05 AM on February 7, 2012

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