What is a Full Body Massage?

File this under Massage 101. A Full Body Massage is massage lingo for a session that typically includes:

Back, shoulders and back of legs while lying face-down on the table. (flip over)

Neck, arms, front of legs and feet while you lie face-up. Voilá!

Here are some options clients can add to that list.

Some clients really love to have their head and face massaged. Some like massage of the scalp and gentle tugging on the hair. Work on the face may be pressure points on the face or light brushwork to stimulate lymphatic drainage. I use make-up brushes for this. It’s rhythmic and soothing. I clean my hands of any oil before working on the head and face.

Some clients like abdominal massage. Abdominal massage stimulates the digestive process. The Lomi Lomi sessions I offer include work on the abdomen that has lovely symbolism of our beginning and of self-acceptance. Ask me more about this if you’re interested. When working on the abdomen during a typical massage session I cover the chest with a drape (folded pillowcase) and bring the sheet down that normally covers the abdomen and chest to reveal the abdomen. I work slowly and gently.

Stretches are a great option during a full body massage session. It can feel great to have someone else stretch you. This is called a passive stretch. I can easily incorporate stretches of the legs, feet, chest, arms and neck into a session. Let me know in advance if you’d like to incorporate stretches in a particular session so that I can pace myself appropriately.

Hips, glutes, whatever you’d like to call them, yes, these too can be incorporated into a session. And there is often good reason to do so. Although we often think we just sit on them, our gluteal muscles really are muscles. They are often underdeveloped and can be found to be full of trigger points when given attention. Take 1 yoga or Pilates class and you’ll probably realize how crucial these muscles are. When I work on the glutes, I can work through the sheet or drape the sheet across the muscles exposing more skin surface. The centerline, (we call it gluteal cleavage in the massage world) which must stay covered during massage, always stays covered. I take my client’s modesty very seriously and have never had a complaint from a client who felt inappropriately exposed. As the transition between our upper body and lower body, the hips can allow fluidity of motion or can be really tangled and in need of work. Ask me more if you think you could benefit.

Feet! I love to massage the feet. I’ve often said that if I won the lottery and became instantly rich, not needing to work, I still might offer foot massage. Some clients eat up every minute of foot massage, while others could take it or leave it. If you’re one of those people who feel foot massage is like a little taste of heaven on earth, tell me. I will spend more time on your feet while still covering the rest of the body. Another option is to start with the feet. From a reflexology point of view, the whole body is reflected on the feet. Massaging the feet first can initiate a relaxation response quicker.

Full body massage is typically accomplished in a 60-minute session. Within a full body massage you are welcome to ask that more time be devoted to a sore area, or to skip an area entirely. A 90-minute session is also great for full body massage, especially if you really need some time to unwind or have more than one area that needs extra attention. Because I work independently, I have the freedom to offer 45-minute sessions or 75-minute sessions, adjusting the price accordingly.

So now you may be wondering if there’s a Half Body Massage. Yes, of course. We can customize your session to best meet your needs. Here are some examples: my runners and cyclists often ask for a session that focuses on legs and feet; my office workers and musicians often request all back, shoulders, neck and arms. I have a client who knows exactly what she wants: back, shoulders, neck and feet. Whether these are 30-minute sessions or longer, we can tailor the work to meet the needs instead of the other way around. It’s really nice to be able to get what you “order.”