Advanced Hands Free Massage Training


NEXT WORKSHOP: See the Diary for workshop dates, cost, locations, etc


This 8 days training (spread over several months) is designed to save your fingers, thumbs and wrists (the commonest areas of strain for massage practitioners) while applying firm pressure. The aim is to expand your repertoire and freshen your approach, to help you be more effective when applying pressure, and thereby to help you to maintain your career. The course assumes and builds upon a developed feeling for pacing and fluidity in massage, and monitoring and adapting to the client’s build, comfort and responses.

Give your hands a holiday and save your career

You will learn how to use

  • the soft forearm (the fleshy inner forearm) for applying widespread general pressure – this is firmer and uses less effort than using your palm
  •  the hard forearm (the ulna) and the bony areas around the elbow for applying focused pressure in an appropriate, skilful way in order to save your fingers, thumb and knuckles
  • the whole forearm for mobilising parts of the body and for applying stretches
  • all of these tools for both oil and non-oil massage

The Extensive Hands Free Massage Training covers

  • a range of forearm and elbow techniques that can substitute for and extend ‘classic’ massage techniques for varied pressures
  • how and where to best use them
  • how to moderate the pressure applied
  • how to adapt them to different client builds, tensions and responses
  • how to blend them smoothly into massage sessions
  • how to support this with good bodyuse, rather than working too hard with your arms and shoulders


Book on this course

Bristol bookings through Leora Sharp – or 07887 612 242


Students on this course do a written and practical examination to receive formal course accreditation.
This  course is accredited with FHT (Federation of Holistic Massage Therapists), and is in the process of being accredited with MTI (Massage Training Institute).

Course Content

This course focuses on forearm and elbow techniques which can be blended into a ‘normal’ oil massage with the client on the usual height massage table, and with the client either seated in an ordinary chair or a portable massage chair. In each weekend, there will training on:

  • using the forearm/elbow skillfully to be most effective with least strain
  • dynamic bodyuse to support the work of your forearm/elbow
  • learning to feel with these massage ‘tools’
  • monitoring and adapting to the client’s responses
  • blending Hands Free techniques smoothly into massage treatments

Session 1: The ‘Soft Forearm’ – for broad sliding strokes, ranging from medium to firm pressure. This weekend is the same as the short two-day Basic Hands Free Massage course – Using the soft forearm on the back and limbs. People who have already attended that course can enter the longer training at weekend two, or, for  a small fee, attend this weekend as a review. Those who have done an introductory Hands Free Massage day – Using the soft forearm on the back – need to attend the whole of the first weekend, but will be charged a reduced fee to acknowledge that previous training.

Session 2: The ‘Hard forearm’ (the longest working section of the ulna) – for firmer pressure.  The Mid-length ulna – for more specific work on muscles and tensions.

Session 3: The Precision Elbow tools – for very specific work on ‘knots’/points of tension. The minor Hands-Free tools (the ‘blunt points’) – for pressure on small areas.  The forearm – for stretches and mobilisations.

Session 4: Forearm and Elbow – for ‘dry’ (non-oil) massage, for stretches and mobilisations , and for working on clients and when they are side-lying or seated.

Please Note: These are strong, powerful tools, which can deliver bruising pressure to clients if they are used without care. Therefore, using them skillfully and learning how to adapt each technique to a range of builds, tolerances and reactions is a core part of the training. Darien reserves the right to dismiss students from the course who consistently use these tools in an unnecessarily ‘gung-ho’ manner.

Note 2: These courses do NOT cover using the knees, legs and feet, because these work best when the  client is lying on a low table or a futon on the floor (as is done in many Eastern massage traditions).

Class size: There is a maximum of fourteen students in each course, so that participants receive satisfactory individual instruction, and also have a range of fellow students to practice on under supervision.  In practice, there are generally six to eight students in each class.

Class times: Each training day is from 10am- 5.30pm, with morning and afternoon tea breaks, and lunch break of an hour.

Other Tutors

Leora Sharp - Tutor and web designer The WebmistressLeora Sharp has been a a massage practitioner for 9 years. She trained in Hands Free Massage with Darien in 2008. Since then she has been an assistant teacher in his Extensive Hands-Free Massage trainings and now co-teaches the course. She also designs websites for complementary health professionals.

 “I really love how your work [helped me deal with] the problems I was having with my hands and arms, ….. and I wish I had discovered it earlier.” RS, Massage Therapist, Bristol.

“My clients often comment that they’re amazed at how deep I can get without it hurting.” RP, Cardiff

“I just did two full days of massage that, in the past, would have left my hands and body aching, but I didnʼt have any aches….. My clients also commented on how much deeper the massage was.” LS, Massage Practitioner, Bath.


Craig Foden

I became acutely aware of the healing & restorative potential of professional massage after receiving an inspiring treatment for a painful lower back due, in part, to poor ‘drum kit’ seated posture. My continued interest in martial arts practice consolidated my interest in flowing bodyuse, movement, anatomy, physiology and pathologies which inspired me to seek out and qualify in holistic & therapeutic massage at the Sheffield Centre for Massage Training (2005).

Now as a registered practitioner/tutor, with the Massage Training Institute, I deliver Soft Tissue Therapy and injury rehabilitation in clinic as well as advanced Diploma studies in Sports Remedial Massage in Sheffield with SCMT. I have also tutored with Bodyology School of Massage London.

Continuing skills development lead me to study with Darien Pritchard. In witnessing how hands free techniques have been intrinsic in saving massage therapists careers, who were on the verge of early retirement, I recommend implementing these methods into your professional massage and bodywork practice!


Book on this course

Bristol bookings through Leora Sharp – or 07887 612 242

Looking for a shorter ‘Hands Free’ Massage workshop?

Please read more about the ‘Hands Free’ Massage skills development workshops >
Skills development workshops >


NEXT WORKSHOP: See the Diary for workshop dates, cost, locations, etc


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