Many massage therapists begin a full body massage with the client's head and face. This is because oil is not used on these areas, so starting there means no grease will be transferred from the rest of the body. The scalp and neck are rubbed, then the therapist move to the face, carefully using their fingers to work the forehead, ears, cheeks and jaw line. Some clients prefer the head and face be avoided, as they don't like their hair or makeup mussed, so the massage therapist will skip this part if requested.
Hands and Arms
Often, massage therapists will next move to the left hand, working it thoroughly before moving up to use long, smooth strokes along the rest of the arm and clavicle area, then repeating this on the right arm. It's a good idea to tell your therapist about your occupation, so special attention can be paid to areas that are frequently tense. For instance, someone who types on a computer all day may enjoy extra time spent on the hands and arms.
Feet and Legs
After the hands and arms, the massage therapist moves to the feet, usually working both feet before using long strokes on each leg in turn. Feet are often an area that hurt clients, especially those who stand all day or do physical labor. Those with ticklish feet or injuries should advise the therapist if they don't want their feet massaged. Massage pressure on the legs is usually greater than on the arms, as the muscles are bigger and there are usually more complaints about sore legs than sore arms. Once the front of the legs is done, the therapist will have the client roll over onto their stomach so the back of the body can be worked, beginning with the backs of the legs. Therapists may use their thumbs to work into the often tense muscles of the calves and use smooth, deep pressure for the rest of the legs.
Back and Shoulders
The most common complaint that massage therapists hear is about back and shoulder pain, so a good part of the massage time is left over for these areas, often at least 20 minutes. Some therapists begin at the shoulders and work down, while other start at the lower back and work up, depending on the therapist's training and the client's individual needs. Many techniques are used on the back, including compression, using the therapist's forearms or the heel of hand and tapotement, which is tapping on tense muscles with the fingers or hand. One of the most used massage techniques is friction, in which the therapist uses the fingers to work deep into specific areas of muscle tension and work out knots, reports Howtomassage.org. In addition to the back and shoulders, most therapists also use this time to work on the neck more, as the neck is frequently a source of discomfort for clients.