How to Massage Calf Muscles (Massage Monday #412)

My client told me he uses his thumbs to massage his tight calf muscles and his thumbs get tired quickly. Ahhh the thumb circles – very typical massage move that kills your thumbs. It’s one of massage don’ts unless you have super thumbs. My thumbs are tired just by doing this in the air.

I already sent him the link to my old video on how to massage your calf without using hands. I’ll include the link below so you can check it out too.

This week I’ll show you other ways to massage your calf muscles without killing your thumbs. I will be sharing quite a few techniques off the top of my head in this video. And I have a favor to ask you. If you can please get your pen and paper ready and as you watch this video, please count how many techniques I’m sharing. People see things differently and I’m just curious how many techniques you see in this video. I would really appreciate it.

You don’t have to do them all. In fact, I recommend you do not do all of these because my calf was very sore the next day. Just pick and choose what works for you.

Caution: if you have a blood clot or severe swelling such as lymphedema do not do this!

As you may or may not know, calf muscle, more specifically soleus, is called the second heart of your body because it helps to pump the blood back up to the heart against the gravity. So it’s a very good idea to have a healthy calf for a good circulation. Soleus is a flat muscle that lies under gastrocnemius. When you massage calf muscle with decent pressure, you are massaging both muscles.

Now let’s get started. I will be showing them on the floor. But you can do some of them on a couch if you are flexible.

Rubbing: With your knee standing, briskly rub the calf muscles with the side of the thumb. Sandwich the calf with both hands and briskly rub by rolling between hands.

Kneading: Pull the calf muscles with the four fingers towards you and press the calf muscles around the shin bone using the heel of the palm. Use one hand or both hands to go up and down. When you use one hand, I would grab the ankle for stability.

Do the same on the outside. I have a very tight hip so instead of using both hands, I’ll anchor one hand and knead with the other hand up and down.

You can also do it with the knees standing. Knead outside on both sides or simply squeeze as you go up and down. Alternate hands on one leg. Twist the calf muscles around the shin bone from right to left and left to right.

Squeeze: Squeeze the calf muscles between the thumb and four fingers. Squeeze the bigger area. And squeeze the smaller area. This is how you can really see your cellulite. If you don’t have cellulite, lucky you.

With your knee standing, squeeze the calf with the entire palm from underneath. Do it with one hand or both hands. Experiment with different angle of the knee. If you can comfortably reach, weave your fingers and squeeze the calf with the heel of your palm from underneath.

Grab and shake: Lightly grab the muscle with your fingers and shake side to side or in a circle. The key is to relax your arm and hands and use the entire arm to shake. If you find a tight spot, you can grab a smaller area and shake.

Acupressure: Draw imaginary lines on your calf and press the line with thumbs facing each other.

Put 6 imaginary dots on each line. Press each dot with overlapped thumbs. Instead of pressing your thumbs, think of hooking and pulling the shin bone or muscles with four fingers for more stability and less effort. If you find a tight spot, hold it there as you take deep breaths and tell that spot “it’s ok to release.” You can increase or decrease the number of dots on each line depending on how thoroughly you want to work on it.

One good acupressure point to remember is Bladder 57 or BL 57. It’s where the Achilles tendon meets the calf muscles called gastrocnemius. This point is good for cramping of the calf, tired leg, as well as lower back pain and hemorrhoid.

You can do the same with the knee standing.

Fist: Grab the ankle with one hand. With a loose fist, circle and loosen up the calf muscles. If you want it harder, press your calf with a tighter fist as you slightly pull the ankle towards you. Experiment with different angles and find the angle that feels good.

Do it on the outer side.

Tap with fist: Tap with the back of the hand with a` loose wrist. Make a fist harder if you like harder impact but your wrist will also be hard so you probably won’t last for a long time doing this. Chop with the side of the hands with loose wrists.

With lubricant: If you have a lubricant, you can do Swedish massage techniques such as petrissage. You use your thumb and four fingers to glide, pick up and squeeze the muscle. You can do short strokes or long strokes. Use your torso to move your hands instead of just moving your hands. And fanning which is to glide over the imaginary lines using alternate thumbs in a semi-circular motion like a fan. Keep this V between the thumb and index finger and move the entire hands to move the thumbs instead of just moving the thumbs. I see this is another way to really see the cellulite. Put the thumbs next to each other and glide down to strip the calf muscles.

With the knee standing, cup the calf from underneath and glide up with your palms. Or with fists.

Grab and pull the muscles upwards. Add some shaking.

So these are the ways to massage your calf muscles that I could think of. Let me know how many techniques you think I shared in the comment below or message me.

Massage Monday #412 – How to Massage Calf Muscles