One of the first techniques developed and applied main in corporate chair massage is the Muscle Kneading Technique. This is a technique that can be done with oil or with a clothed client. Either way it can easily reduce pain in the neck and shoulder areas.
Kneading should always be applied transversely (across the body of the muscle). If you place lubricant on the skin you can press your fingers or knuckles parallel to the length of a structure (longitudinally). This follows the course of the blood and lymph vessels but does not greatly effect the tissue itself. This alternative to traditional Muscle Kneading is called Longitudinal Friction.
Though kneading increases circulation and is valuable to the deeper parts of the muscle, it also creates a difficulty since deep work and the resulting pain will cause the client to tighten up or contract the area being treated. This also reduces the benefits of the technique. The solution here is twofold. 1) The part to be worked on must be place in a position that will leave it naturally limp. 2) The practitioner must integrate instructions to the client on visualization and diaphragmatic breathing to reduce the pain.
Imagine yourself kneading bread (dough). Close your eyes and have a sense of the finger and wrist movement that the technique requires. Used to stimulate the functions of the skin, muscle kneading is especially good for dry skin. In addition to the skin, it stimulates all vital functions of the body part where it is applied: glands, nerves, blood vessels as well as muscles and connective tissue. It is the only technique in The Harrison Healing System for which oil is used on the skin of a person receiving bodywork. It is done in order to reduce chafing and friction. After you apply a small film of aromatic oil on the skin, the kneading can begin.
Kneading is experienced by the body as an alternation between relaxation and compression. Kneading helps to empty the blood and lymph vessels and to bring fresh fluids to these areas, thereby eliminating poisons and waste matter from the tissues and improving circulation. It is used routinely during warm-ups by dancers and athletes in order to reduce the possibility of injuries, cramps and muscle spasms.
Step 1: After applying a small film of aromatic oil on the area to be worked on, grasp the muscle with a squeezing action of your hand. If the muscle is properly oiled, it will immediately begin to slip out of your hands.
Step 2: As the muscle slips from your hand, quickly grasp it with your other hand. The muscle will continue to slide from hand to hand as it is pressed, creating a rolling effect. Continue the kneading for about thirty seconds to one minute for most areas and about five minutes on the back.
Step 3: Both you and the person you are working on should inhale deeply so that you may both take in the healing aromatic oils that will begin to fill the room from the friction of the kneading.