Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back Massage Guide

I will only go through the stages of back massage here, although you can adapt the moves to use on any part of the body.

Although a back massage can be performed through clothes, some of the steps are easier if you work directly on the flesh. Make sure your partner is wearing something loose that can be lifted up easily.

Place one hand on the sacrum. Stroke your other hand in a swift, smooth action up the right side of the back and around the shoulder. Glide back, then stroke up the left side of the back and shoulder in the same way.

Hold the top of the arm with one of your hands and place the knuckles of the ring and little finger of your other hand on top of the arm. Roll your wrist obliquely away from you, then roll it back onto the knuckles. Work all over the upper arm and shoulder, then repeat on the other side.

Place your thumbs and fingertips around the muscles that run down either side of the spine in the small of the back. Then, keeping your hands still, slowly rock the body. Rock for about 30 seconds, then squeeze the flesh between your fingers and thumbs, and push your hands together to create a compression. Hold for 5 seconds.

Loosely clasp your hands and rest your forearms on the upper and lower back. Then circle your forearms in an counterclockwise direction, using your body weight to achieve a deep pressure. Cover the whole area.

With your forearms in the same position, roll one of them briskly up and down the back, while keeping your other arm still. Make sure that your body weight is evenly distributed by keeping your feet apart. Then use your other forearm to roll up the back.

Place your thumbs on top of each other, just beside the spine on the side nearest to you. Press down and stroke your thumbs toward the spine. The technique, which has a strong, toning effect on the muscles, requires some practice. Stroking away from the spine relaxes taut muscles. This movement can also be done on the legs and feet.

Squeeze the flesh on the sacrum between your thumbs and the sides of your index fingers, and roll the flesh up the back by "walking" your thumbs forward. When you reach the middle of the back, glide back and repeat this movement three times. Then squeeze the flesh on the sacrum again, but instead of rolling it, pull it up sharply. Release and repeat all the way up the back.

Press your palms and fingertips together and lift your elbows out to the sides. Then, starting on the buttocks, make a hacking movement with your hands, trying to create a loud clacking sound as your fingers knock together. Work up the back.

In traditional Chinese massage, this vigorous movement is used with a special warming ointment or oil. Place one hand on top of the back as a support, and make a strong, quick, sawing movement with the side of your other hand, up and down the side of the spine. Repeat on the other side of the spine.

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