The female reproductive cycle alternates between phases of expansion and creativity, and phases of introspection, quietness, renewal. Sometimes lifestyles and social norms contradict or disturb such delicate harmonies between one and the world, one and the other, one with oneself. Moons can then be troubled, and the women can experience various discomforts, all according to their own natures and lives.
The following massage is designed to bring relief from pre-menstrual discomforts, especially side headaches, breasts distension and pain, digestive disorders (diarrhea and/or constipation), distension of the abdomen, emotional sensitivity with sadness, irritability or anxiety, agitated dreams and confused mind. It draws from various techniques and particularly from classical Chinese medicine and Chinese therapeutic massage (TUINA), which concepts infuse this protocol.
The beginning of this massage, that is, the part on the head, is similar to the one we like to call the MONKEY MIND MASSAGE. Indeed here too we first seek to calm the spirit, take the heat and hyperactivity down, so it can be harmoniously redistributed.
Before your start your massage please visit the General advice for massage page. Make sure there are no contra-indications to giving/receiving massage for any of you, and become aware of any precautions you should take, depending on your health, settings, etc.
See also : Getting ready for massage
Invite your friend to lie down in a supine position (belly up), on a table (however this could be adapted for work on a futon on the floor), naked from the waist up but warmly covered in nice linens and blankets. I suggest the use of Rose oil, because its fresh deep feminine scent is harmonizing, reassuring, and it is suitable for use (nourishing) on the face.
In classical Chinese medicine, the Gall-Bladder meridian is also known as the channel foot of Shaoyang. It has many “points” on the head, especially the sides. The Gall-Bladder meridian plays an important part in descending, and thus redistributing evenly across the body, what is known as “ministerial fire”. It takes the heat down, basically.
Standing (or sitting) behind her at her head, no oils yet.
Place your hands under your friend's neck, at the base of the skull. Gently lift the head a little, softly pull it towards you. Slide away, leaving the head to rest on the table again. Repeat a couple of times - you should feel your friend give more “weight” each time as she relaxes into your hands. Then “shampoo” her scalp making circles with the pad of your fingers, insisting on the sides, around the ears. Give her the dream shampoo. Check with her how much pressure she likes. Then brush her hair with your fingers, gently pull it, imagine you are rinsing it.
However located on Du Mai (Governing vessel) Yintang does not belong to it, it is an “extra” point, much used for its “descending” capacity, to calm the mind
Standing (or sitting) behind your freinds head. With or without a bit of rose oil.
Place your thumbs together at the center of her forehead. Pressure and slide away from the point Yintang, along the eyebrows, towards the temples. Lift off, place your thumbs at Yintang again, repeat the move. Repeat the same move, only now further up, and again until you're working along the hairline. Next, starting from Yintang, draw straight unidirectional lines with alternate thumbs in direction of the hairline. When you reach the hairline, lift off, place yourself at Yintang again, repeat. You can also continue this line across the hair to the top of the head. Now with your thumbs, draw circles (towards you) on her temples. While you're there, you can also massage her ears, stroke her face, neck… Friction your palms together to create heat and gently apply on her eyelids.
Standing (or sitting) behind her at the head. Gently press your friends' shoulders down with your palms, as if to “lower the guard”. Imagine with these moves you're telling her all is fine, there is no threat. You've got her, she can relax. Alternate pressure with one hand, then with the other, as if you were a big cat. Maintain her shoulders down for a while, then release pressure. Be caring, yet confident and somewhat assertive in your touch: You've got this, she's in good hands. Now with oil, place your palms on her shoulders and slide simultaneously from the neck to the shoulders, to the arm/biceps, and out. Repeat a couple of times.
The following movement is an invitation to breath fully and a celebration of femininity. It might take some practice before you've got it real fluid, but eventually it should feel to both like a wave is coming to shore then curling back to the ocean (you're the ocean, she's the shore). She has to be OK with nudity though, so ask for her permission before you lift the linens.
Remember you're like water, so during all this sequence, you will envelope each curve, sink into each dip in the terrain, finding your way, always in contact. Use full hands/palms, not fingers alone.
Standing (sitting) behind her at the head. Place your hands flat on her sternum. Travel down the midline of the chest towards the abdomen. The path between the breasts generally allows for only one hand at a time, so your hands should be passing one after the other on the sternum. They then unite on the belly, draw some circles together around the navel. Then, they separate again: one climbs the body up from a side, the other from the other side. Envelope the ribcage, then pass below the armpits…
Then the hands surface at the shoulders. One hand slides down the posterior side (hairy side) of one arm, the other slides down the other arm, towards the hands/ wrists. Then both hands simultaneously slide up again, only this time from the anterior side of the arm, across the shoulder toward the neck… Then plunge below the neck, lift and roll the head like it's a small rock caught in whirling water, slide away, and exit at the head. Repeat !!!
Note : You can't rely only on the strength and capacity of your arms for this (you never really do in massage, but here it is very obvious) : You'll need to really move your whole body, dance, be tall and wide.
Located on the Conception Vessel, Shanzhong, center of the chest, is in fact a point that communicates well with the pericardium, which envelops and protects the “emperor” heart. Hence its use to pacify the heart, and generally to unbind an oppressed chest.
Stand at one of her side, your hips parallel to the table.
Place one hand, more exactly one thenar eminence (the fleshy base of your thumb) on her forehead between the eyebrow or just above (Yintang), and the other one on her sternum in the middle of the chest, level with the nipples (point Shanzhong of Conception Vessel, Ren17). With medium pressure, start describing small circles on both points simultaneously. Slow-ly. You really want to get into a groove here. Be sure to keep your arms, your shoulders, low and relaxed, light like feathers. Ground yourself and draw “8” with your hips, symbol of the infinite. From your center, the spirals will emerge. Let the goodness build up.
The meridians of the Liver and Gall-Bladder travel across the ribcage, which is our area of focus here - Indeed, manifestations such as breast distension and pain are interpreted in classical Chinese Medicine as a consequence of their Qi stagnating in this region. The following movements intend to resolve this stagnation.
Standing at her side, plunge your both hands below the side/rib-cage opposite you and then gently stroke towards you, hands alternating, like you want to bring back towards you sand that's piled down there. Your contact should be firm not to tickle her, and relatively strong, swift, and continuous, so as to induce a light rocking movement. You should start at the upper part of the ribcage and progress to the lower part, lift off and start from the upper part again (one way only). Then move to the other side and repeat. Alternatively, or after the first moves, you can friction laterally both sides of her ribcage in turn, with your palms, again moving down from the upper part to the lower part of the ribcage (one way only). The friction should produce heat and light redness (within the limits of comfort). This last technique is known as CA FA, in TUINA.
An important prerequisite of good health according to classical Chinese medicine is a harmonious presence of fire across the body, and especially a balanced (and dynamic) distribution between the upper part (above the diaphragm) and lower part (below the diaphragm). Between the navel and pubic line is the region of the uterus. If the uterus “lacks” sufficient “fire”, it will be “cold”. Cold in classical Chinese medicine is said to congeal the blood, leading to poor blood circulation, and possible gynecological disorders.
Massage her abdomen in circles, especially between the navel and pubic line. If she is constipated, work more clockwise, if she has diarrhea, more counter-clockwise. In any case, what you're looking for here is warmth, to produce heat. Massage until you feel her belly is noticeably warmer (If trained in Chinese medicine, this would be an indication for moxibustion, on Guanyuan on Conception Vessel, Ren4). You can also place a hot water bottle here for the time of the massage.
By holding on to her strong hip bones, lift one side, let it fall, lift other side, let it fall, again, again, look for a rocking movement. Amplify it, then when you've got it, guide it along the legs, towards her feet. Picture a bottle of mineral water lying down: You want the water to find momentum when rocked (in fact, you can practice this move with a bottle of water).
Now standing at her feet, grab hold of her heels, and lift her legs a little, pulling them towards you slightly. With a movement similar to that of playing table football, only much softer (!), shake them.
San Yin Jiao is point 6 of the Spleen meridian. “San” means 3: Here the three Yin meridians of the Kidneys, Liver, and Spleen intersect. The three are much involved in the workings and wonders the female cycle, hence its wide use in classical Chinese gynecology. San Yin Jiao is situated approximately 4 fingers width above the malleolus of the foot. It is often very sensitive, if not painful. On other occasions, do NOT use this point on a pregnant friend unless you are trained and really know what you are doing
Locate San Yin Jiao. Massage this point with your thumb, adapt pressure to your friend's liking, don't make her jump ! Next locate a soft hollow spot between the first and second metatarsal bones (big toe and second toe) on the dorsum of the foot, that will be Taichong, point 3 on the Liver meridian. Careful, it can be very sensitive too ! Then stroke up from the toes to the hips on the inside of the legs (the Yin side of the legs), then down from the exterior (yang) side of her legs, down to toes again and repeat.
Come back closer to her, tell her you have finished the massage. Check with her that she's alright (but don't start a conversation now), let her rest a couple of minutes on her own, while you go put the kettle on… (and inform her of that, so she won't feel abandoned). When she is ready to get up, enjoy a moment together, share about your experiences. Never insist on getting feedback !! Massages sometimes spare us words, if so, we might as well enjoy that aspect..!
Below is the map I drew of the pre-moon massage, so as to help situate better the moves. It's a draft really, and it's got my little codes and stuff. It can be nice to draw and have yours :)