Everyone likes a good back massage but not everyone can afford to go to the massage therapist when their back hurts. While a professional is your best bet for getting rid of any chronic pain, you or your spouse can learn to give a pretty decent massage for those times when you can't get to your therapist.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your massaging skills and give a great back massage:
One easy way to give the massage is to do what is called "raking". Here you use your fingertips with your fingers spread apart. Start at the shoulder area and move your hands down the back in a raking motion. Move your fingers alongside the spine but not on the spine. Alter the motion so that one hand is going down on one side while the other is going up on the other side.
The fan stroke is another popular massage stroke and uses oil to eliminate friction on the skin. To perform a massage in this fashion you want to have the person lie face down and then kneel with your knees on either side of them. Here you'll be putting pressure on the trapezius and latissiumus dorsi and in order to do that you want to have your fingers facing outward away from the spine with your palms in the middle of the back. Using a fan shaped stroke you want to move your hand up the back to the shoulder blades and then to the outer edge of the body away from the spine. Be sure that you don't put pressure on the spine itself, only alongside it.
The circling hands back massage is also very popular. This massage starts on the lower back and moves up the length of the back. Start with your hands flat and using a gentle counterclockwise motion circle your hand up the back keeping your fingers pointed outwards away from the spine. Use the right hand on the right side of the body and the left hand on the left side of the body. Move upwards with one hand, then the other then the first again, repeating as much as you want.
Petrissage is the kneeding of the flesh and muscle and will help to smooth out knots or kinks in your back. This type of massage works on a smaller area and uses fingertips or thumbs to work out the knots. Here you just want to grab the muscle and squeeze, then move to the next muscle working your way around the shoulder area and back. Using oil will decrease the tugging and pinching feeling on the skin.
A good back massage will leave the recipient feeling relaxed. The massaging motion works to improve circulation and blood flow to the muscles, bringing them nutrients and helping them to remove toxins. In this way, massage not only feels good but it's good for you too!