Human grooming by Daniel Laberge
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How to groom

Four types of grooming strokes

Grooming is accomplished stroke by stroke.
A stroke is the gesture of pressing your finger onto your skin and grooming it for a moment.
You generally start over immediately.
Since there are two ways to groom, with superficial and pressure techniques, and each can be performed using one or four fingers; you get four different grooming strokes.

Superficial grooming

Single finger superficial grooming stroke   Four finger superficial grooming stroke
Single finger   Four finger

Superficial grooming

Single finger pressure grooming stroke   Four finger pressure grooming stroke
Single finger   Four finger


Each stroke is described in detail on these pages:
Superficial grooming
Pressure grooming

One stroke after another

Strokes are repetitious gestures.
They can be divided into three phases;
1• The finger strikes the skin,
2• The nail grooms the skin in some manner,
3• The finger returns to its initial position.
Each grooming stroke usually lasts between one and ten seconds.
These movements have to be done over and over to get any result.

Support and grasp

Whatever part of your hand that is not used directly in the grooming action may act to support it.

Grasping fingers while grooming

Some fingers grasp the skin to secure the hold
so that another finger can groom.

The unused fingers may stretch and stabilize the skin or simply anchor your hand for stableness.
In some positions, you can rest your whole hand on your skin, relieving you from the weight of your arm.
I also recommend that you engage your other hand to aid and support your grooming hand. For more on this, see the two-handed grooming page.

Moving just the tip of your finger

Tip of finger moving

In many situations, the area you are grooming is very small; such as a fold crossing.
Your nail should pass over it repeatedly for a while.
Once your hand is well positioned, all you have to move is the tip of your fingers(s).

Nail and fingertip positions

The nail only

Perpendicular nail

• You can use just the tip of your nail

The nail then performs most of the sensory signal reception and all the grooming work alone.


Both the nail and the fingertip

Both your nail and fingertip

• You can use your nail and fingertip simultaneously

Even occasional fingertip contacts with the skin relay mounds of information.
Any part of the flesh will do.


The fingertip only

Just the fingertip

• You can use only your fingertip

It's amazing how much grooming you can do without using your nail.
Often, just pressing your fingertip on a folded area will flatten and open it up.

Don't hurt yourself

It is very easy to wound your skin while grooming.
Putting just a little too much pressure may result in a small lesion, abrasion or scratch.
Sometimes, you may even get to the point where the skin will bleed and not realize it until later.
Harming your skin won't help it.
Control the force you exert on your skin with great care, mostly when exploring new grooming techniques or when working on less familiar areas of your body.
Grooming, when performed correctly, should be a rejuvenating experience for your skin, with few after effects.


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