There's a good reason massage
therapists charge what they do. They've undergone
intensive, long-term training that involves learning anatomy and
physiology. They've practiced for months or longer, hours per
day, to develop the understanding and the skills to detect physical problems which may be corrected by skilled body work.
They've learned a demanding trade.
That all having been said, sometimes dedicated amateurs can emulate their
skill to a lesser degree, making those needed sessions a little fewer
or farther between. Here are some tips on how to do that, when giving a
The Fan Stroke
performed with oil to decrease friction, simply kneel astride the
subject, who is facing down on a comfortable surface. Put the
palms of the hands in the mid back, fingers facing away from the spine.
You'll be asserting pressure on muscle groups called the latissiumus dorsi
and the trapezius.
Be sure not to press directly on the spine, but alongside it.
the whole hand (palm and fingers) with moderate pressure up the back,
along the shoulder blades and out, away from the line of the spine.
Move back to the rib cage on the back and repeat.
That's a fan stroke. Increase the pressure
moderately, seeking feedback to keep it within a range that's
comfortable for the recipient.
on the lower back, again with the hands flat, move at right angles to
the spine. Then, right away, circle the right hand
counterclockwise with gentle pressure as you move up the back.
Keep the fingers pointing away from the spine as you make the
the right hand with the left hand and repeat the motion, on the right
side of the recipient's body. Then start over with the right
hand on the left side of the body. Make the circles, then
replace with the left hand and repeat.
hand trails the other, move up the body on the right, then left, then
in professional massage circles, is a motion that kneads the flesh and
muscle. In this technique, the idea is to move "clumps", but
also to smooth out "knots". Working on more localized areas,
with smaller surfaces (such as the thumbs, fingertips, even elbows if
applied lightly), move up and down the back.
will help avoid pinching and tugging. If you see the skin
ripple, you need a little more. Take care over areas where the muscles
are thinner, such as the rib cage.
portion of a muscle group and squeeze, then move to the next, working
your way gradually around all areas of the back from low to high, left
and right. Change hands and repeat.
your hands on the recipient's shoulders. Using the
fingertips, with the fingers spread apart, move both hands down the
back, "raking" the flesh. Then use one hand moving up, the
other moving down simultaneously.
Rake alongside the spine, but not on it.
The net effect of all these back massage techniques is to relax the muscles, warm up the skin and improve circulation. That brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to them, removing toxins in the process.
The body is relaxed and the mind soothed.