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Avoiding Vulnerable Massage Areas

Part of the Massage For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Some vulnerable areas of the body are exposed during a massage. Highly trained massage therapists can actually work in these areas, but if you’re not a massage professional yourself, you should stay away from these areas.

Avoid the following spots of vulnerability:

  • Front of the neck/throat: You’ve heard of the expression, “Go for the jugular,” right? Well, this spot is where you find it. Steer clear of this area that also contains the carotid artery and major nerves.

  • Side of the neck: It’s not quite as sensitive as the front of the neck, but you should still treat it gingerly.

  • The ear notch: The little notch just behind your jawbone and beneath your ear contains a sensitive facial nerve, so don’t go shoving a finger into it.

  • The eyeball: This one seems like common sense, but don’t poke your fingers directly into your massage partner’s eyes.

  • The axilla: The axilla is the armpit, which is ticklish for many people. This sensitive area is full of nerves, arteries, and lymph glands.

  • The upper inner arm: Just down from the armpit, along the inside of the upper arm, is a sensitive, nerve-filled area along the length of the arm bone. Pressing too firmly here creates that yucky-nervy feeling.

  • The ulnar notch of the elbow: Otherwise known as the funny bone, this spot contains the ulnar nerve; if you touch it too hard, your partner may curse at you in several languages.

  • The abdomen: This area is filled with many squishy important bits known as organs. Be especially gentle around the upper abdomen along the ribs, the area home to the liver, gallbladder, and spleen.

  • The lower back: Don’t press too hard on the kidneys, found just to both sides of the spine and below the ribs.

  • The femoral triangle: This area is often referred to as the groin. It’s the inner part of the line in front where your leg meets your body. Pressing too hard here can actually cut off circulation to the leg.

  • Popliteal area: Popularly known as the back of the knee, this spot is sensitive to pressure.

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