How To Give A Deep Stress Relief Back Massage
Whether it's a hobby or a skill you want to learn to practise on a loved one, our easy-to-follow guide will equip you with the basics of how to relieve the pain of a stressed back.
Step 1: You will need
- 1 Sheet
- Massage Oil
- 3 Towels
- 1 Pillow
- Massage table, mattress or mat
Step 2: Setting up
A massage is always better with soft light and music to help set the mood for relaxation. It is also important that the area is warm enough for the receiver to be comfortable without a top on. If you don't have access to a massage table, the next best thing would be a mattress or find a open space on the floor, preferably with some sort of carpet or matting for comfort.
Have the receiver lie face down on the sheet, placing the folded towel under their chest. Now position the rolled towel as a support for their forehead, allowing them to lie comfortably face down with the neck straight. This is a soothing massage, so remind them to tell you if there is ever anything that is painful or uncomfortable. You should never use excessive pressure on the low back where there are no ribs protecting the organs. Always remember it is the receiver's comfort that is most important.
Move to the side of the person and make gently lay your hands on the back of the head and the low back. Try to connect with the rhythm of the breath.
Cup one hand and fill it about halfway with oil. Warm the oil by rubbing it between your hands, and then begin spreading across the person's back with light flowing strokes being sure to cover the shoulders and neck as well.
Step 3: Palm circles
Now place one hand flat on the lower back and cover it with the other hand. With arms extended, begin making small circles, allowing the movement to come from your own centre rather than from the shoulders. Continue up the back, then down again. Repeat two or three times.
Step 4: Lifting
Lift the top hand off and make it into “lobster claw,” which means closing the fingers and opening the thumb. With a twist of the wrist, use a lifting motion on the muscles, then repeat with the other hand to create a windshield wiper motion while moving up the near side of the back, then down again. Repeat 2 or three times. With practice this becomes a smooth and confident rhythm.
Step 5: Knuckling
Without breaking contact, form the hands into loose fists with the knuckles and fingers in contact with the back. Again with arms straight and the movement from your centre, slide up the near side of the back, remember not to pressure the low back and avoiding the spine. Continue up over the shoulders, then lightly drag the knuckles down the back. Repeat 2 or three times.
On the last knuckling, instead of dragging down, use lifting motions on the trapezium which is the muscle that connects the neck to the shoulders. This is often one of the tensest spots on a person and should be done with care, not causing too much discomfort but applying adequate pressure to soothe the muscle. Continue rubbing as you move around the head and repeat Palm circling, lifting, and knuckling on the other side.
Step 6: Thumb strokes
Once you've finished knuckling on the second side, come around to above the person's head. Use an extended thumb to start making upward strokes between the shoulder blade and backbone, allowing the thumb to continue down over the trapezium muscle. As one thumb slides off, the other begins its stroke creating a constant rhythm. While avoiding the backbone itself, gradually move over and continue on the other side. Now bring both thumbs to the upper back, on either side of the spine, and with constant pressure, slowly begin to slide all the way down the back. Remember to be careful over the lower back where there are no ribs for protection. When you reach the top to the hips, allow the thumbs to remain there a moment with a steady pressure. Slide the hands back up and repeat 2 more times, each time moving a bit farther to the sides.
Step 7: Twists
After the last thumb stroke come back around to the person's side. Let one hand reac