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the massage of the legs

Back of Legs

 1. With the towels still in place, - Place the right hand on the base of the spine and the left hand between the shoulder blades. - Gently rock the spine. - Tell the client to relax and breath into any areas of tension, gently close their eyes and enjoy the feelings of touch and the scent of the oils. 2. Move with your massage technique down towards the legs, - placing the right hand on top of the client's left calf and the left hand on top of the thigh, and gently press. Do the same with the other leg. Remove the towel carefully to expose the whole of the left leg, and keeping as much contact as possible, pour some oil into the palm of one hand, - rub the palms together, then spread oil over the whole leg.

3. The First Stroke is the "One-and-a-Hal f" strokes all the way up the back of the leg. - the right hand moving from the back of the heel to half way up the leg, to just behind the knee, - followed by the left hand going all the way up the leg from the heel to the top of the thigh. As the left hand is completing its stroke, the right hand has already begun its half stroke once again.

4. Fanning behind the knee. - Let your hand mould itself to the shape of the leg, spreading the fingers like a fan. This stimulates the lymphnodes behind the knee. Let the client's leg massage your hand as you return the massage to the leg. On the last strokes, go all the way up to the top of the thigh and open out to the sides as you come down each side of the leg. Keep your strokes flowing. Move with your strokes and take your body with you.
5. Lift the foot at the ankle, just off the couch. Use the heel of your left hand to drain

6. Taking the foot back down to the couch, turn your body at an angle to the couch and complete this part of the treatment with a few Effleurage strokes all the way up the leg - Gli ding off the sole of the foot each time. This gives a wonderful completion to the strokes and calms the nerve endings on the sole of the foot.

7. Take a hold of the ankle and bring the foot to your right shoulder. Then with the heel of the hands massage down the centre of the calf from the Achilles tendon , as if playing the harp, - one hand after the other, applying gentle pressure.

 8. Bring the hands up either side, gently hold the ankle and return the foot to the couch. The next stroke gives a little more stimulation into the lymphatic system behind the knee. Using both thumbs, - move up the back of the calf at the centre of the calf muscle and open the thumbs out like a fountain at the top of the calf and gently stroking back down both.

Effects of massage on bone tissue and joints

The bones of the axial skeleton include the:
-skull (the cranium and bones of the face)
-vertebral column (spine)
-sternum (breast bone)
-hyoid bone (small bone in neck below mandible).

The functions of the skeleton

1.Support – the bony framework gives shape to the body, supports the soft tissues and provides attachments for muscles.
2. Protection – the bony framework protects delicate internal organs from injury, e.g. the brain is protected by the skull; the heart and lungs are protected by the rib cage.
3. Movement – produced by a system of bones, joints and muscles. The bones act as levers, and muscles pull on the bones, resulting in movement at the joints.
4. Storage of minerals – bones store many minerals, particularly calcium and phosphorus.
5. Storage of energy – fats or lipids stored in the yellow bone marrow provide energy when required.
6. Storage of tissue that forms blood cells – both red and white blood cells are produced by red bone marrow, which is found in the spongy bone of the pelvis, vertebrae, ribs, sternum and in the ends of the femur and humerus.


A joint is where two or more bones join or articulate. There are three main groups: fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial.

Fibrous: immoveable joints; the bones fit tightly together and are held firmly by fibrous
tissue. There is no joint cavity. Examples are the sutures of the skull.

Cartilaginous: slightly moveable joints; the bones are connected by a disc or plate of fibro-cartilage. There is no joint cavity. Examples are the symphysis pubis (between the pubic bones) and the intervertebral joints (between the vertebral bodies).

Synovial: freely moveable joints; these are the most numerous in the body. There are six different types of synovial joint. They are classified according to their planes of movement, which depend on the shape of the articulating bones. All the freely moveable joints of the body are synovial joints and, although their shape and movements vary, they all have certain characteristics in common:
a) a joint cavity (space within the joint)
b) a synovial membrane lining the capsule of the joint up to the hyaline cartilage, which produces synovial fluid
c) synovial fluid or synovium – a viscous fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint
d) hyaline cartilage, which covers the surfaces of the articulating bones. It is sometimes called articular cartilage. It reduces friction and allows smooth movement
e) a capsule, or articulating capsule, which surrounds the joints like a sleeve. It holds the bones together and encloses the cavity. The capsule is strengthened on the outside by ligaments, which help to stabilise and strengthen the joints. Ligaments may also be found inside a joint, holding bones together and increasing stability.
Massage is used around joints to increase the circulation and to free ligaments that may have become bound down following injury.

Effects of massage

- Bones are covered by a layer of connective tissue known as the ‘periosteum’. Blood vessels from the periosteum penetrate the bone. Deep massage movements will stimulate blood flow to the periosteum and hence indirectly increase blood supply to the bone.
- Massage around joints will increase the circulation and nourish the structures surrounding the joint.
- Massage is effective in loosening adhesions in structures around joints. For example, frictions across a ligament help to loosen it from underlying structures.
- Massage and passive movements will help to maintain full range of movement.

Twentieth-century developments massage

During the First World War the demand for massage to treat the injured grew and many more massage therapists were trained. Membership of the Society of Trained Masseuses grew and in
1920 it amalgamated with the Institute of Massage and Remedial Exercise. In recognition of the valuable work contributed by its members during the war, a Royal Charter was granted and
the title was changed to the Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics. The title Brief history of massage 12 Body Massage Therapy Basics was changed again in 1943 and became the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. In 1964 its members became state registered. This protected and gave status to those qualified therapists who were practising in clinics and hospitals, and made it impossible for those without a recognised qualification to practise in hospitals.

With the development of alternative electrical-based treatments, the use of massage to treat medical conditions declined. There was rapid growth in electrotherapy and eventually massage ceased to be part of physiotherapy training. It became little used as a therapeutic treatment in hospitals. There was, however, a continuing demand for massage in clinics, health farms, fitness and leisure centres.

In 1966 the City and Guilds of London Institute explored the possibility of establishing a course in beauty therapy to include massage. This course would provide thorough training, background
knowledge and a recognised professional qualification that ensured a high standard of practice.

In 1968 the first full-time course was offered in colleges of further education. The British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetologists, the International Health and Beauty Council and other organisations also developed courses and offered certificates and diplomas.

The growth in complementary medicine and the holistic approach to health has increased the demands for well-qualified practitioners, not only in massage but also in aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu etc. Courses are now validated by the Health and Beauty Therapy Training
Board and therapists must meet the criteria of the National Council of Vocational Qualifications.
Tags: massage
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