In our day-to-day lives, at work and at play, nothing moves more than our arms. So it’s no surprise that they need a good massaging now and then, especially since tense arms cause tense shoulders too. Here’s how to massage arms deeply and effectively.

Ask your partner to lie down on her back on a soft, flat surface. Pour some massage oil into your hands and briskly rub them together, careful not to drop any on your partner. Flatten your hands and gently rub the oil into the skin, up and down the left arm.

At your partner’s side, lift and lower your partner’s left arm, your right hand supporting the elbow, your left hand holding your partner’s hand. The purpose of this “passive movement” is to help your partner relax the limb. Continue lifting and lowering the arm until he is allowing its weight to relax into your hands, no longer trying to control the movement himself. Jiggle it to loosen it up even further.

Place both hands on the left shoulder–one on top, the other underneath. Firmly applying pressure, slowly move down the length of your partner’s arm, all the way through the fingertips, keeping your hands flat against the skin. Repeat this several times.

Hold your partner’s hand with your left hand, using your flattened right hand to move up the arm in a firm, slow, steady motion.

When you reach the shoulder, move your right hand up and over it to the back of the arm. Release your partner’s hand and move your left hand to the top of the shoulder. In unison, bring both hands down the length of the arm, in a firm, slow, steady motion out through the fingertips. Repeat several times.

Massage the forearm with fan strokes. Start at the wrist, and use the heels of your hands to climb up toward the elbow in firm sweeping motions.

Massage the upper arm with a transverse stretch. Place the fingers of both hands underneath the arm, directly beneath the bulk muscle area, and use the heels of the hands to create a firm, sweeping motion on the muscle itself.

Repeat Step 3.

Hold your partner’s hand with both of your hands and let it rest there for a few minutes.

Repeat Step 3 through Step 9 on your partner’s right arm. Be sure to adjust your own hand placement accordingly, so that the right arm massage is a mirror image of the left. For instance, when performing Step 4 on the right arm, hold your partner’s hand with your right hand (instead of the left), using your flattened left hand (instead of the right) to move up the arm in a firm, slow, steady motion.


  • • You can make your own relaxing massage oil by combining a carrier oil–like grape-seed, sunflower or safflower–with a few drops of lavender essential oil.