Everyone should know how to give a killer back massage. If you do it right, your lover (or friend, or family member) will be blissfully relaxed in both body and mind, which will make them shower you with love and adoration!
Encourage them to give you feedback and ask if the pressure feels comfortable. Always avoid working directly on the spine and shoulder joints. Once you have begun to massage do not lose contact. If you sense that your receiver ever tenses up, ask whether they are feeling any pain, and if so, use lighter pressure.
Don’t get too hung up on perfect technique. A great massage is about tuning into the tissue to see where the tension is through your sense of touch, and using the right pressure accordingly.
The room should also be comfortably warm and draft-free. Use soft lighting and have fresh towels or clean sheets nearby. Make sure phones are turned off and there won’t be any interruptions.
Back massage techniques
Keep in mind that at the end of the massage, the oil should be well rubbed in and your recipient’s skin should not look oily. There are three massage techniques I suggest using on the back:
- Effleurage — a spreading motion that relaxes the surface muscles and helps to let the recipient get used to your touch. Effleurage is usually used at the beginning, end, and for link movements.
- Kneading — grasping the muscle and squeezing it gently in your hands.
- Friction — specific circular movements over a small area with your thumb, or hand over hand. Keep in mind that the harder you press, the slower you should move.
Performing the massage
1. Before starting the massage, make sure that you have plenty of towels so that your recipient is both comfortable and warm.
2. Let the recipient lie in the prone position with their hands at their side, and head resting to one side.
3. Before adding any massage oil to your hand, place your left hand on the back of the recipient’s head, and then place your right hand on his/her lower back. Next, you should oil your hands by placing a small amount on your palm.
4. Begin your massage by rubbing your hands together to warm the oil and start to massage your receiver’s shoulders. This is the T-shaped effleurage. Glide your hands up the back, either sides of the spine until you reach the neck. Then move out over the shoulders and ease the pressure off as you glide back down to the waist, returning to your starting point.
5. The next technique should be the figure eight movement. Place one hand on top of the other gliding smoothly over the back and pulling up the side. This movement should be deeper on the upward stroke.
6. Place the heel of your hand on the muscle running down the side of the spine,and kneed in circles easing the muscles away. Stop at the shoulder blade, and then repeat on the other side. Make sure you do not press the spine itself. This is a friction movement called petrissage. Use your thumbs and fingers to massage the muscles just above the shoulder blades and those in between them.
7. Next a reverse effleurage movement can be applied. Use very light pressure down either side of the spine, and then increase the pressure as you glide back up to the neck. It is very important you remember to not massage the bones. Kneed the muscles at the top the shoulder and neck area. Position your thumbs on either side of the spine, and use circular friction stokes to glide up and back down.
8. The next phase of a back massage should start at the top of the shoulders.Apply a piano type movement with your fingertips. Use light pressure on the muscles on the side of the spine; sliding your fingers down towards the floor. Then use your whole hand to kneed and alternatively grasp the flesh up the sides of the back.
9. The final phase of a back massage should be very soothing. Start by using the heel of your hands at the middle of the back. Stretch the muscles on either side of the spine with a spreading motion. Feathering also has a soothing effect. Take your fingers and brush gently down each side of the back.
10.Finally, end with effleurage. Gently pull each hand alternatively overlapping as you make your way up and down the back a few times to finish.