Principles of touch as they relate to massage therapy

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Establishing Therapeutic Touch

  • Get yourself into a good psycho-emotional state before establishing contact
  • Warm hands before establishing body contact
  • Establish touch within safe boundaries of body contact
  • Body contact should be established using the full palmar surface of your hand
  • Initial contact should be firm
  • Massage should begin with holding, or slow massage strokes.

Maintaining Therapeutic Touch

  • Stay relaxed. Maintain awareness of yourself in the massage
  • Maintain awareness of your body mechanics
  • Maintain contact with the client wherever possible.
  • Keep the massage flowing and rhythmical
  • Seek and respond to client feedback

Breaking Therapeutic Touch

  • Indicate to the client that the massage is finishing by moving to more general, superficial strokes, and slowing down the speed of your massage strokes.
  • Having a finishing ritual is another way to indicate to the client that the massage is finishing.
  • Gradually remove your hands.


David McQuillan 2008