Massage in the form of smooth, rhythmical light strokes is one of the most versatile massaging techniques, both for self-massage and for normal massage whether given or received. Light stroking is performed with the palms of your hands, your fingers or your thumbs. Similar to feathering you can perform it in any direction, both as long or short strokes. This technique is the same kind of palm strokes that you would normally use when comforting a loved one or when caressing a pet.
How to do it
- Rub your hands together for 10-15 seconds as preparation.
- Let your hands and fingers be nimble and loose while being slightly cupped to naturally form to the bends and curves of the specific area that is being massaged.
- Apply light pressure and let your hands and fingers glide over the surface of the skin.
You can perform the massage in long or short straight sweeps or in soothing, circular movement. You can use both hands or one hand separately. Like feathering you can alternate between hands to create a rhythmic pattern to increase relaxation.
By adapting a claw-like shape with your hands and by slightly stiffening your fingers, you can use the pads of your fingers in long, sweeping and caressing motions. This variation of light stroking is called raking. When raking you should apply a firmer pressure than normal but it shouldn’t be too deep and hard. You can rake with both hands together or alternate one hand after the other to create that sense of ebb and flow. Rhythmic movement does wonders for relaxation!
Where to use
Because of the relaxed nature and the light pressure of the light stroking technique, it can be applied to all areas of the body. It is best used for de-stressing and for unwinding after a long day while also being excellent as an preparatory massage to activate the muscles and sensory nerve endings for deeper and more reinvigorating massage techniques.
Top of the hands
Gently stroke the tops of your hands and wrists for inducing a calm and restful effect. If you feel yourself getting riled up and tense, especially in you’re working in a busy office, light stroking is great to keep you calm, cool and collected.
Wrists and inner arms
Draw long and straight strokes alongside your wrist and inner arms like in the picture below.
Light strokes, especially the more pressurized form in raking, up the legs from ankle to thigh is deeply relaxing and encourages the flow of lymph and blood circulation.
Benefits of light stroking
A sense of relaxation, loving calm throughout your body are the main benefits of light stroking. The mind and body gets lulled into comfort as stress and worry that you amassed during the day(s) is diminished significantly, especially after a eventful day or week. To conclude, self-massage in the form of light strokes and/or raking are great for revitalizing and de-stressing.