How to Perform Squeezing and Opening in Massage


Generally the first stroke performed after effleurage, using one or both hands, it is used to tightly squeeze the muscles, loosening tension in preparation for further releasing strokes. Squeezing the limbs is always done up the body toward the heart. Cover the entire length of the muscles in order to get the best results, always easing pressure as you approach the joints.

The thighs

Position your hands above the knee, thumbs to one side of the thigh muscles, fingers to the other. Squeeze upward, spreading your hands as wide as possible. Push up to the top of the thigh, separate your hands and round off over the hip. Repeat in strips up the thigh.

Squeezing Massage

The calves

Place both hands over the leg, just below the calf, with your thumbs to one side, fingers to the other. Squeeze into the muscles, forming a ‘V between your forefingers and thumbs. Squeeze up over the calf muscles, releasing the pressure as you near the knee.

The upper arm

Support the forearm and elbow. Position your other hand at the front of the arm, either side of the muscles above the elbow. Squeeze upward, pressing with your thumb, rolling the muscles between your thumb and forefinger. Work up the front of the arm several times.

The forearms

Support the arm at the wrist. Place your other hand over the forearm, thumb to the outside, fingers on the inside. Squeeze up the muscles toward the elbow, applying pressure between your forefinger and thumb. Repeat several times, easing the strokes at the elbow.


Opening uses a spreading movement of the thumbs or pressure with the heels of the hands, helping to disperse tension after deeper releasing strokes. Opening strokes move out across the body rather than up or down. Opening can return the hands to a certain position on the body, or be interchanged with wringing, followed by softer strokes. Cup your hands right around the muscles to make opening most effective.

The thighs

Place both hands over the front of the thigh, thumbs together in the centre, fingers cupped around the muscles. Press down and draw outward, using the heels of your hands to give firm pressure. Repeat the stroke up and down the thigh, easing pressure near the knee.

The calves

Cup your hands around the top of the calf, thumbs lying lengthways in the centre. Draw the thumbs apart, spreading out across the muscles to the fingers. Work down the calf, releasing pressure at the bottom. Use the base of your thumbs to firmly squeeze the muscles.

Squeezing Massage

The arms

Cup both hands around the upper arm and place your thumbs together in the centre, facing you and pointing upward. Apply pressure and draw the thumbs outward to the sides of the arm. Repeat the movement slightly further down and continue to the wrist.

The foot

Place your thumbs together over the top of the foot just below the ankle, fingertips curled underneath. Slide the thumbs toward the sides of the foot, stimulating and squeezing the muscles. Use the pads of your thumbs Repeat once further down, without pressing the toes.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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