Normally my writing is very scientific and supported with research. This particular post is backed by smaller a degree of science, and a larger degree of experience and “feeling”. Part of the reason why is because the science hasn’t yet been able to describe these things through study. So I will do my best to share with you, how we know the “just right” spots in massage, with less defined language.
Getting the “Just Right” spots.
As practitioners of touch, we practice the ability to “listen” to the body in order to find all the best pressure points. We make it our mission to seek out and find all the small areas of discomfort and extra tension that you didn’t even know you had. It’s a fine art and we are constantly working on refining the ability to find all the just-right spots. Full attentiveness is the only way we achieve the mission – keeping our mind focused on our work is incredibly important to the practice.
So the first step is listening generously – with our touch.
The next step surrounds understanding what we feel. Interpreting the signals of the body and responding accordingly gives you more ingredients for the perfect massage recipe. But what signals are we looking for exactly?
It’s difficult to nail it down to one identifying sensation or feeling. Sensing the “hungry tissues” is the closest I’ve come to being able to describe it succinctly. But what does hungriness mean and does it have a particular sensation associated with it?
Here are my top tips on identifying hungry spots:
- Often you’ll find that there is a different density to these spots. A good number of times, these spots will have greater density than the surrounding tissue and so will be prominent to feel. The problem is, that’s not always the case. In some situations, the hungry spots are actually less dense than the surrounding tissues.
- The tissue responds. This could be the softening of the dense bundles of muscle fibers (fascicles), or it could be the twitching of the local and surrounding musculature.
- The person responds… making a sound of “delicious pain” or taking a deeper breath.
- The texture of the tissue is often different. More than just the density, searching for any “stringiness” or “grittiness” in and surrounding the muscles can prove fruitful.
- The side with less muscle mass! Though we can often be tricked into focusing on the larger side, thinking that it has more tension. Often times the smaller side has more discomfort and just-right spots because it isn’t being engaged as well as the other side.
Now that you have a few things to keep an eye out for in identifying the just-right spots, how do you know when the tissue has had enough work?
The tissue feels “satiated” or full – no longer feels hungry…
Again, something that is difficult to measure, yet when you feel this (and you’re paying attention) it kinda makes sense.
Now – it’s time to test this. Find someone and give them a shoulder massage, and experiment through the lens of “hungry tissues”. Pay close attention and try to identify the “full point” of any just-right spots you find. I’m sure your people will thank you.
For more articles like this, check out more of our “Everyday Reads“.