Back in university we had a friend whose mom was a massage therapist of some sort. She (the friend) was into massage as well, so for a month or so while she was in town we'd get together and she'd try to teach us something of the technique she'd learned from her mom (and various books and other masseurs).
Most of the work concentrated on pressure points in the foot, with a few more on various points on the skull, ears, and muscles of the neck. By far the most effective were the points on the foot. I think I can say I got rather good at manipulations of the foot sufficient to relax the recipient, if not to sleep, then at least to a drowsy limp state.
Over the years since then, I've given very few foot massages, there not being a lot of people who are comfortable enough with me for the suggestion. I've tried practicing on my own feet, but even beyond the awkwardness of the stretching required to properly reach them, I've never been able to reproduce the "releasing" effect it seemed to have on other people when applying the same technique. I've been assuming it was something about the angle of "attack".
Anyway, to complete the long-term background... I've been noticing for the last few months that my feet and calves have been markedly tense and sore, with exactly the kind of tension that this type of massage fixes.
So, while standing around at the party last night (rather aware of how tense my feet were), it came out that one of Melissa's friends was a massage therapist in training. Which got me thinking, maybe I should figure out what it was that I was doing wrong so I wouldn't be standing around at parties thinking about how sore my feet were :) ...
Turns out the key that was missing is this: it's the bending back of the foot to stretch out the tendon that crosses the sole that starts the little chain reaction which lets you release the entire foot. You bend back the foot, then massage the tendon, and then work out from there to the edge of the foot with the little "dancing fingers" thing, then start the compressions and the other operations.
Something about that massaging of the tendon relaxes the structures in the arch enough to make the rest of the manipulations work. Anyway, as you might have guessed from both the late post and the somewhat unusual topic, I can't sleep.
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