Giving an arm massage

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An arm massage can provide a relaxing introduction to a complete body massage or may be performed in insolation.

The arms are prone to holding tension, so a relaxing arm massage is a good way to relieve this. It is also an excellent addition to any stress-relieving shoulder massage. Arm massage is similar in approach to a leg massage, with strokes adapted slightly for the upper and lower part of each limb.

Specialised strokes

When working on the lower arms, the main massage stroke you will use is effleurage, which you can also combine with gentle, circular movement to loosen and relax the muscles.

Support the arm as you work each of the muscles, gradually tracing your way from the wrist to the upper arm. The arm muscles may seem delicate at first, but you will find that you can actually use quite firm strokes.

Improving muscle tone

On the more muscular upper parts of the arms, there is generally enough flesh to use some petrissage and tapotment movements. These can help tone muscles as well as reduce muscular tension.

Apart from providing a warm-up or final relaxation for any massage, arm massage benefits the body in a number of ways:

Vary your strokes depending on whether your aim is to tone muscle, ease tension or improve circulation.


Helps boost blood flow around the body, bathing all the tissues in nutrient-rich blood.

Joint mobility

Manipulation of the joint helps improve their mobility – a useful therapy for arthritis and rheumatism.

Lymphatic system

Helps remove waste products from the tissues by boosting the flow of the lymph around the body.

Muscle tone

Improves tone and appearance of the arms


Relieves tension.