How to Massage Someone's Back

Four Methods:PreparationBack MassageVaried Touch MassageHot Stone Massage

Love to make other people feel good? Love to make others feel special? The best way to do that is by giving them a massage. This article includes various different ways to make someone you love relax and unwind after a tiring day.

Method 1
Preparation

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    Get a bed. The first thing you will need is a nice, clean bed (firm is best). Fresh linens are essential.
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    Ask the client to lie down on his/her stomach, with their shirt off.
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    Clean and disinfect your hands.
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    Obtain some massage oil and pour a generous amount into your hands. Start rubbing your hands together until they are warm. If you do not have massage oil, you can use baby oil or petroleum jelly.

Method 2
Back Massage

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    Start in the very middle of the client's back, with your hands clasped together (in a 'clap' type position).
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    Keep body contact at all times, including when you are getting more lotion. This avoids a startling response when resuming touch.
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    Begin to run your palms of both hands in opposite directions: One hand sliding towards right shoulder, other hand towards left hip. Then slide back, until hands meet again in another 'clap' position. Repeat this for a while.
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    Place your arms onto the back of the client. Rub back & forth on back with both arms, up and down.
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    Move up to the front of client, but keep your hands on client's back.
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    Squeeze and push the client's lower back.

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    Start making circular motions along the back of client, towards his/her shoulder.
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    Grasp the shoulder firmly and "wring" it, pressing your fingertips into them.
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    Make circular motions along the collar bone, going back and forth repeatedly.
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    Slide back down to middle of back, and make your hands meet in "clap" position.

Method 3
Varied Touch Massage

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    Vary touch from light to firm, you can drag fingers lightly as if tickling, then alternate with firm or intermediate levels of touch.
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    Gentle chops are another way to vary the touch. Relax your hand and in a chopping motion pat the clients back. Keep in mind the motion should come from the arm and you should offer no resistance from the fingers or wrist.

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    Don't limit touch to hands alone, another useful way to alternate touch is to use your elbow. This must be used gently to avoid causing pain. Do not cross the client's spine when using this technique! This technique is especially effective for masseurs who have weak or fatigued hands.

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    A knuckle massage is also effective, but like the elbow technique caution must be taken (in intensity and location).
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    Skin rolling is another way to vary your technique. If the client has skin that is not hyper extended, it often feels very good. Pinch with both hands starting by placing your thumb and forefingers about four inches apart. Then "pinch" down to about half the distance. Then grab the next couple of inches a finger at a time allowing the previous grab to slide under your thumb. Your forefingers end up crawling and your thumb keeps the "roll" in check and sliding forward. The easiest area to do this is side by side the spine, but not on it. You end (or don't begin) when it is difficult to grab a roll.

Method 4
Hot Stone Massage

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    Collect at least six smooth stones that fit comfortably in your palm. Cleanse them thoroughly before using them.
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    Heat the stones in water using a crock pot.
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    Heat the stones at a low temperature for about half an hour.
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    Use tongs to retrieve the stones. Pour away water.
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    Place a small pile of stones on the lower part of the client's back.
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    Place larger stones along the client's spine and shoulders.
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    With one hot stone, glide along lower part of back. Do not cross along spine, bones, or joints.
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    Glide the same stone along the upper part of the client's back and along the neck.

Tips

  • Clean and disinfect hands prior to massage.
  • Always clean and disinfect stones before and after each use.
  • Before performing a massage, ask the client to tell you their massage preferences or if any techniques cause pain.
  • Use clean towels and linen during massage.
  • One should always "warm" the skin first with effleurage techniques (similar to what one would do to apply lotion/oil) Then the practitioner can use other techniques such as tapotement (clapping) and petrissage (skin rolling) Effleurage not only "warms" the area but also introduces the client to therapist's touch. Also use resting holds before any movement to get the client use to the touch.

Warnings

  • Never use just any stone you find for massage. Purchase stones specifically used for massage from spa stores, etc. Applying heat to a random rock will likely cause it to crack or burst.
  • When performing hot stone massage, be careful that the stone is not too hot for person's back. Even if it is cool enough to pick with your hand, it may be still too hot for the client's back.
  • Do not perform the hot stone massage on pregnant women or small children.
  • Do not perform massage on people with bruises and/or heart problems (especially with heart problems)
  • If using aromatherapy oil, beware of any allergies or sensitivities that the client may have.
  • Do not perform massage on people suffering from anorexia, diabetes,varicose veins, or open wounds.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean bed
  • Clean sheets and towels
  • Massage cream or oil
  • Massage stones
  • Aromatherapy oils (optional)
  • lotion (optional)

Sources and Citations

  • Secrets of Hot Stone and Aromatherapy Massage, (An essential Guide for Health and Pleasure), by Margie Hare.

Article Info

Categories: Spa Treatments & Massages