Image by madaboutasia via Flickr
We often want to give a friend or a loved one a massage that’ll help them deal with a current soreness, or merely make them relax and feel good. Not everybody can take classes in massage, though finding a brief class to teach you basic techniques for a good back rub is advised. Below I’ve listed some tips and tricks to give a good back rub, which you hopefully will find useful.
Tips to giving a good back rub:
- Don’t be afraid to touch, use your entire hand to massage with. When you use the entire hand to touch with it’s more relaxing and pleasant, it shows you have confidence and enjoy giving touch. A light touch, or partial touch can be tickling. It’s good to give a proper touch and have full contact when you start a massage and it can be very relaxing and soothing on its own.
- Be attentive and sensitive, pay attention to the reactions and try to feel all details in the muscles. The more attentive you are, the better a massage you give. A back rub should never hurt and you can instantly feel on the muscles if you press too hard. They will tense up. It requires focus and concentration in the beginning, but becomes second nature with practice.
- When you feel a knot, slowly stroke/press it with a fingertip, thumb, palm or knuckle, 5-10 times until it loosens. Often it doesn’t take that much effort to release a tight knot. Never overdo it and if it doesn’t release after 5-10 slow strokes, then let it be and return to it at a later time. Over stimulation of knots can cause harm, so try to limit yourself there.
- Make sure the room is warm and comfortable when nude, freezing makes the muscles tense up and isn’t relaxing. You want the massage to be a pleasant experience, so also make sure you are comfortable with the temperature. Should the one you massage feel cold, cover them with a big towel or a sheet. When people relax they often tend to feel the cold more.
- Use a mat or folded blankets on the floor, the bed is too soft. When you receive a massage on a soft surface, the pressure is going to be adsorbed by what you’re lying on instead of going into the muscles.
- Wear loose clothing. It’s important when you give a massage that you’re comfortable and can easily move around. You should be able to focus on the one you massage and not how you feel.
- Ensure that the massage oil is warmed in your hands before applying it. There’s nothing more shocking than cold massage oil when you feel all relaxed. Make sure the oil has the same temperature as the skin of the one you massage to make it a pleasant experience. Also, avoid using too much massage oil. Just use enough that you can glide over the skin without pulling it or hair on it.
- Move slowly. It’s always better to massage slowly instead of quickly. Too sudden strokes and pressures can feel painful. A slow stroke is very sedating and relaxing, while a brisk quick stroke is energizing and awakening. Think of the purpose of the massage when you consider the strokes applied.
- Soft music and turn of the phone. Make sure there are no disturbances and the environment is pleasant. Soft slow music can make people relax and float away, while quick rhythmic music will wake people up and energize them. Make music and the speed of the strokes match.
- Work only on muscles and avoid bones or areas with a pulse. It’s generally safe to massage muscles as long as you’re careful and make sure you don’t cause pain. Massing on bones is generally unpleasant and painful and won’t serve any purpose in a good back rub situation. Anything with a pulse should be avoided. Veins and arteries can in worst case be damaged, in best case you might make the person faint or an arm tingle.
- Start with long soft strokes, go deeper and end soft again. Long soft strokes are good to make the person relax and prepare him or her for the massage. When the person is relaxed, then you can work in more detail and deeper on the muscles. Don’t forget to say good bye to the area you’ve massaged by ending on a soft slow stroke again. The soft slow strokes should feel like a firm caress, not massaging the muscles, but with full contact to the skin, expressing confidence and enjoyment.
Most important of all, make sure you both enjoy what you are doing and that you trust each other. A massage can be done both fully clothed (without massage oil) and partially undressed. There is no need to remove more clothes than from the areas which will be massaged and keeping a towel or sheet nearby to cover can be useful.
Do you have any tips to giving a good back-rub, or have you any experiences you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.