Massage Therapy Session Routine

Description: This is a general Swedish routine that may be used by a beginner therapist as a basic structure for treatment. This is in the context of a relaxation treatment.

Session Time: 60 Minutes

Important Notes: Be sure to have a massage instructor demonstrate the techniques used before trying this. Be aware of contraindications and endangerment sites.

Set up: Standard massage treatment room set up. A professional massage table with a face rest, with clean linens covering it. Have a top and bottom sheet. Use an appropriate lubricant, such as a professional massage oil, cream, or lotion.

Steps:

  1. Prepare room.
  2. Preform health assessment.
  3. Explain to the client how to prepare for the session and exit the room while he or she undresses. Note: This routine assumes that the client will be lying in the prone position to begin the massage.
  4. Wash and dry your hands and reenter the room.
  5. Place bolsters under the client and secure the drape.
  6. Welcome touch.
  7. Begin with POSTERIOR Lower Extremity Sequence

POSTERIOR LOWER EXTREMITY SEQUENCE (5 minutes per side)

Posterior Thigh

  1. Rhythmically apply gentle alternate hand compression to the lower extremity
  2. Undrape the lower extremity
  3. Apply lubrication to the palms
  4. Begin with two handed effleurage. Repeat 3X. Note: This will run from the ankle to the proximal thigh, with a gentler pressure at the popliteal space
  5. Three rows of one handed effleurage. Use stacked hands
  6. Alternate hand effleurage
  7. Alternate hand petrissage
  8. Two handed effleurage at the entire lower extremity

The Calf

  1. Two handed effleurage
  2. Three rows of One handed effleurage
  3. Alternate hand effleurage
  4. Alternate hand petrissage
  5. Two handed effleurage at the entire lower extremity
  6. Drape the lower extremity
  7. If desired, apply tapotement, followed by feather strokes to entire lower extremity
  8. Repeat this sequence for the other lower extremity

THE BACK SEQUENCE (24 minutes)

  1. Rhythmically apply gentle alternate hand compression to the back.
  2. Undrape the back
  3. Apply lubrication to the palms
  4. Begin with two handed effleurage. Repeat 3X. Note: This will run from the sacrum and iliac crest to the occiput.
  5. Three rows of one handed effleurage on each side of the spine. Use stacked hands
  6. With pressure in focused in the laminar groove, apply two handed effleurage, with one hand on each side, from the upper back to the sacrum. Repeat three times
  7. Choose a side of the back to treat first
  8. Alternate hand effleurage in three rows, from medial to lateral
  9. Alternate hand petrissage
  10. Deep transverse friction in laminar groove
  11. Deep transvers friction to paraspinal muscles
  12. Apply sustained compression to any found trigger points, or areas the client wants focus on
  13. Alternate hand petrissage
  14. Alternate hand effleurage
  • Two handed effleurage to the entire back
  1. Repeat sequence steps 8-15 for other side of the back
  2. Drape the back
  3. If desired, apply tapotement, followed by feather strokes

TURNING OVER

Remove the bolster from under the ankles

Secure the linens, and ask the client to turn to face up, and move down the table, so his or her head is no longer in the face cradle.

Place the bolster under the knees.

ANTERIOR LOWER EXTREMITY SEQUENCE (5 minutes per side)

Anterior Thigh

  1. Rhythmically apply gentle alternate hand compression to the lower extremity
  2. Undrape the lower extremity
  3. Apply lubrication to the palms
  4. Begin with two handed effleurage. Repeat 3X. Note: This will run from the ankle to the proximal thigh, with a gentler pressure at the patella. Include the foot on the return strokes.
  5. Three rows of one handed effleurage. Use stacked hands
  6. Alternate hand effleurage
  7. Alternate hand petrissage
  8. Two handed effleurage at the entire lower extremity

The Shin

  1. Two handed effleurage
  2. Two rows of One handed effleurage
  3. Alternate hand effleurage
  4. Gentle circular friction around patella
  5. Circular frictions along lateral shin
  6. Two handed effleurage at the entire lower extremity
  7. Circular frictions around the medial and lateral malleoli

The Foot

  1. Two handed effleurage to the plantar and dorsal surfaces of the foot
  2. With two hands at a time, apply friction between the metatarsals at the dorsal surface of the foot
  3. Using thumbs, finger pads, or knuckles, apply circular friction to the plantar surface of the foot.
  4. With a slight squeezing motion, apply one handed effleurage to each toe
  5. Two handed effleurage to the plantar and dorsal surfaces of the foot
  6. Two handed effleurage to the entire lower extremity
  7. Drape the lower extremity
  8. If desired, apply tapotement, followed by feather strokes
  9. Repeat this sequence for the other lower extremity

UPPER EXTREMITY SEQUENCE (4 minutes each side)

The arm and forearm

  1. Undrape the upper extremity
  2. Apply lubrication to the palms
  3. Two handed effleurage from the wrist to the shoulder
  4. With one hand, gently grasp the wrist and elevate the arm, then apply one handed effleurage with the other hand to spread the lubricant to the posterior side of the arm and forearm
  5. While supporting the elbow, gently lift the arm from the table, and apply one handed petrissage 3X to the posterior arm. Switch hands and repeat for the anterior arm. Place the arm back onto the table
  6. Flex the clients elbow, palm facing upward. While supporting the wrist with one hand, apply one hand petrissage 3X to the lateral forearm, switch hands, and repeat for the medial forearm
  7. Turn the hand and forearm over to palm facing downward, and apply one handed effleurage to the posterior forearm, with focus between the two bones of the forearm.
  8. Apply small, gentle circular frictions along the anterior and posterior wrist

The hand

  1. With the palm facing down, and the hand held with both your hands, first apply one handed petrissage to the lateral hand, then the medial hand
  2. Using a gentle squeeze, apply circular friction to each finger
  3. On the posterior hand, apply alternating hand effleurage between each metacarpal
  4. Two handed effleurage to the entire upper extremity
  5. Drape the upper extremity
  6. If desired, apply tapotement, followed by feather strokes
  7. Repeat for other upper extremity

NECK AND HEAD SEQUENCE (8 minutes)

The neck

  1. Apply lubrication to the hands
  2. With palms up, apply two handed effleurage from the shoulders to the back and sides of the neck. Note: Be gentle when treating the sides of the neck
  3. Supporting the back of the head with one hand, gently pull and turn the head to one side and hold in position
  4. With the other hand, using palms, finger pads, or knuckles, apply one handed effleurage to the exposed side of the posterior neck.
  5. Gentle circular friction along the posterior neck from the occiput to the shoulder, following along the trapezius muscle
  6. One handed petrissage from the lower neck to the shoulder along the trapezius
  7. Small gentle circular friction along the occiput
  8. One handed effleurage
  9. Switch hands to work on the other side of the neck, and repeat steps 3-8
  10. Place head in neutral position, and repeat step 2, two handed effleurage

The head and face

  1. With the head in neutral position, gently apply circular friction from the occiput, around the posterior ears, to the temples.
  2. Using thumbs, apply gentle circular friction along the midline of the scalp, from front to back.
  3. Using the edges of the thumbs, very gently apply two handed effleurage to the forehead, spreading from medial to lateral 3X
  4. Repeat spreading very gently from medial to lateral along the cheekbones and the jaw
  5. Using extremely gentle pressure, apply compression along the orbit of the eye, using one fingertip at a time.
  6. Using extremely gentle pressure, apply compression along the underside of the cheekbones
  7. Gentle circular friction along the masseter muscle between the cheekbone and jaw
  8. Rest hands at scalp for a moment

FINISHING

  1. Thank the client for visiting
  2. Explain that you will leave the room while he or she dresses
  3. Explain what to do once dressed
  4. Ask the client to take his or her time getting off from the table
  5. Leave the room, immediately wash and dry hands and lubricant container, wait for the client to be dressed and ready, and proceed with greeting the client after the treatment
  6. Ask the client how the treatment went, and if there are any questions
  7. Thank the client again, and if appropriate, ask about rescheduling