With every step each leg in turn takes the weight of your entire body, and even if you sit all day, your legs can get tense and tired. Aching legs affect your whole body and can also lead to such problems as varicose veins and oedema (swelling). Leg massage helps relax the muscles and boost the blood circulation, giving you renewed energy.
Firm upward strokes and fast friction rubs are best. The person being massaged should lie, face down, on a firm surface either on the floor or high enough for you to stand comfortably. Use plenty of massage oil, and keep each leg covered, in turn, while you work on the other. After the massage the person should rest for 10 minutes with the feet propped up on pillows or against a wall, so that they are higher than the head.
1. Place the palms each side of one ankle, fingers pointing up the leg, just above the bone. Push up the sides of the leg, pressing in firmly with the heel of the hand and keeping the fingers relaxed. Release pressure at knee area and press in again towards tops of thighs. Massage lightly back down the leg, stretching the skin back towards the foot. Then stretch the back of the leg by gently bending the heel up towards the bottom as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.
2. Press with your thumbs on the outer sides of the leg above the ankle bone and slowly slide them upward, along the calf muscle, to the knee. Thumb-stroke the whole calf from outer to inner leg, working in upward lines.
3. Place hands, palms down and one below the other with fingers pointing in opposite directions, across the calf muscle just below the knee. With firm pressure, slide them up to the top of the thigh in one long stroke, fan out and draw them back with lighter pressure. Bend back the heel and hold, as in Step 1.
4. Knead the back of the thigh muscle all over pinching between thumb and fingers of both hands and pressing deeply into the muscle. Knead sides of the thigh with fingers curved around the leg. Finish with two more knees to thigh palm strokes as in Step 3.
5. Place the hands with wrists together and fingers wrapped round the leg at lower calf. Press down the heels of the hands and slide the hands out and away around the leg, pushing the flesh towards the front of the leg. Continue up the calf to just below the knee and then from above knee to top of thigh.
6. Turn over the person being massaged and bend her knee, holding her foot between your knees. Above the ankle, curve your hands around the back of the leg, one hand above the other, thumbs towards the front. With firm pressure push one hand after the other from ankle to knee. Fan out at the top and firmly palm stroke back down sides of the calf. Finish stroke by gripping the ankle firmly. Repeat up the back and down the front of the thigh, from just above the knee, with each hand in turn.
7. Straighten the leg. Work palms in a backwards and forwards sawing motion up the sides of the leg from ankle to thigh. Bend the leg and repeat with one hand at the front and the other at the back of the leg. Repeat the sequence from Step 1 on the other leg. Finish by holding the ankles and pulling gently to extend the legs for a count of 10. Release and repeat.