By Anna Lynn Sibal
Back pain is one of the most common ailments for which people turn to massage therapists to alleviate. There are even a number of massage therapies that pay special attention to the back. You do not have to set an appointment with a massage therapist, however, to get a simple but relaxing back massage. A back massage is something you and your partner can learn for yourselves and give to each other whenever you feel that it is needed.
Photo © Marek Tihelka
Enumerated below is a step-by-step routine on how to massage your partner's back. But before you proceed to work on your partner, make sure that the atmosphere in the room where you will be doing the massage is conducive to relaxation.
A clean room is a relaxing room, so make sure that the room is clean.
Toss a CD of relaxing instrumentals into your player and, for added effect, light some scented candles.
Also, take a shower and warm your hands before giving a massage; you need to be in a relaxed state yourself in order to be able to give an effective massage.
The back massage routine listed below makes use of effleurage, which is a massage stroke that is long and sweeping. It is meant to loosen and relax the muscles and to make each part of the body feel connected to each other.
Since this is a back massage, make your partner lay on his or her stomach. If you have a massage table at home, that would be awesome, but the bed or the couch will do as long as it is firm and your partner would be comfortable laying there.
Rub some massage oil in your hands to warm them up. Then, using both hands, apply massage oil to your partner's back and make firm strokes from the lower back up to the neck. Trace a circular path on your partner's back with your hands when you return your hands to the lower back.
Press the heels of your hands to the lower back of your partner, one at each side of the spine, and move them in a circle starting from the lower back, coming upward to the center of the back and then outward until you get your hands back to your starting position. Slowly move your strokes upward until you reach the shoulders.
With your fingertips, and with one hand lying on top of the other, press against the muscles of the back on the side opposite where you are standing. This means that if you are standing to the right of your partner, press to the left side of his back. Gradually move from the lower back to the shoulders, and then repeat on the other side.
Using firm and deliberate pressure, let your thumbs travel the length of both sides of the spine, moving towards the shoulders, then returning to the lower back. Find the knots and the bunched up spots on the area being covered.
Using your forearms this time, apply pressure to the lower back, and then rub your arm that is closer to your partnerís head towards the lower end of the shoulder blades.
While performing the massage thus far, you may have noticed some knots and bunched up spots on your partnerís back, or he/she may have told you about particularly painful areas on his/her back. Press your thumb on each painful spot until the pain lessens or disappears.
Repeat steps 2 to 4, and then lightly tap your fingertips along your partner's back. Afterwards, give your partner a glass of water or two and then leave him or her to rest and relax.