Muscle Kneading in Corporate Seated Massage

Corporate Chair massage requires specific techniques for reducing stress for a client who is fully clothed and doing it in less the 10 minutes.


The most commonly applied technique is probably Muscle Kneading Technique. This chair massage technique 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 affect 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. (Talk to your instructor about  “Breathing” and “Visualization”.)


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 integrative approach to massage 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. This assists in eliminating metabolic toxins and waste matter from the tissues while 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.


Muscle kneading has many benefits.  It is especially useful for firming weak muscles.  Of all bodywork techniques, this is probably the most structurally oriented.  It is invaluable in paralysis and in all cases where there has been tissue degeneration.  It can be applied easily anywhere on the body with the exception of the shins, bony joints, and the skull.


In working with muscles near a bone that has been fractured (and has already had the cast removed), or near a sprain, muscle kneading is the technique to choose.


Caution: Avoid using this technique in any situation where deep pressure is ill advised such as hypertension, heart disease, cancer or on irritated skin.


Lewis Harrison is the director of Events Chair Massage, a provider of chair massage and stress management services to meeting and wellness events planners.

He is the author of the classic massage book – “Hands-on Healing”. This book has been used as a textbook by students in massage and bodywork schools throughout the United States for over twenty-five tears



Here is a short interview with Lewis;

Lewis Harrison is a best a best-selling author and a teacher of corporate chair massage. His corporate chair massage company is based in NYC. Corporate chair massage offers stress management services to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States.