A back massage is often called a back rub. It is given by stroking the hands across a person’s neck, shoulders, back, and buttocks. A back rub is important for people who spend a lot of time in bed.
Whether it’s a simple shoulder rub or a deep massage of the upper and lower back, a back massage relieves stress and optimizes relaxation. And while nothing can replace the attentions of a trained and certified massage therapist, a few masterful strokes incorporated into a home rub routine can be surprisingly effective. You’ll find it’s easy to do.
The Benefits of Back Massage
Everyone will derive enormous benefits from back massage, irrespective of age. You will be amazed at the number of ‘knots’ that are discovered during a back treatment. Poor posture, physical or emotional stress, maintaining an unaccustomed position for too long (e.g. gardening), too much sport, excessive studying or a sedentary lifestylr are just some of the factors that can give rise to problems.
Many people will experience a back problem at some time in their life and many back conditions are responsive to massage. However, if the back pain is severe and persistent then always consult a doctor or a fully qualified osteopath. Realignment of the vertebrae may be necessary.
How to Give a Back Massage
Before You Begin
Prior to having a massage, a hot bath or shower is an ideal way to begin the relaxation process. Scented candles can add to the atmosphere, as long as they do not conflict with any essential oils that might be used during the massage. Wear some loose-fitting clothes and use an edible oil, such as almond oil, because the skin soaks it up and can be friendlier to your body then a petroleum-based one. Ideally it is better if the person receiving the massage has no shirt on but it can be done through clothing as well, however oil is not recommended if that is the case.
Massage to Relieve Back Pain
Mentioned below are few steps, which detail back massage techniques for relieving back pain.
Ask the person to lie face-down on a flat surface, with his head turned to one side. Avoid straining your back when you giving a massage. Stand or kneel beside the lying person.
Put a small amount of warm lotion on your hands. Rub your hands together so the lotion is spread evenly on your hands. Place one hand on the lower back and one hand between the shoulder blades, over the heart.
Warm up the back by applying thumb pressure along both sides of the spine simultaneously: Start from the lower back and knead gently with your thumbs up to the neck area. This will also promote relaxation.
Use a smooth, delicate stroke (called “effleurage”) to get things moving. In one long stroke, slide your palms down either side of the spine to the pelvis; scoop out around the hips and back up the sides to the shoulders. Maintain contact with the back. Glide your hands over the back to start a new area. Continue up both sides of the neck to the base of the head.
Starting at the spine, slide your palms in opposite directions outward to the sides of the back, starting with the lower back area, and moving up to the shoulders.
Knead the fleshy muscular areas at the top of the shoulders, the mid-back area and the buttocks to loosen any tight muscles and fascia, which is a connective tissue.
(Optional) Add head massage by standing at the head position and gently applying fingertip rotation to the scalp with shampooing action. With very slight pulling and tugging of the hair root, run your fingers palm up through the hair to stimulate. Smooth hair down gently when finished.
After the massage
Gently remove any extra lotion from the person’s skin with a towel.
Help him get back to a comfortable position in bed.
Clean and put away other items used for the massage.
Back Massage Tips
Always put the oil first on your palms and then on the person’s back.
While giving a massage try not to take your hands off your subject.
But do not:
work on infectious skin conditions
massage directly over recent scar tissue
work on inflamed or swollen areas
use friction movements directly over the spine
use heavy pressure where the skin is thin or bruises easily
massage over lumps and bumps – check these with a doctor first.