The back area of the human body is the most important area in relation to massage. The back provides us with strength as well as flexibility. Since the back contains the spinal column, where most nerves radiate from, you can reach nerves that extend to every part of your body. The most common massage of this area would be the full back massage.
This massage focuses mainly on the spinal area and also the lower lumbar area. The full back massage is an excellent reliever of stress in the body, while also improving mental and physical wellness. Strong and firm strokes are used along the spinal muscles and on the lower back to heal aching or knotted muscles that are at a deeper level. Softer more flowing strokes are required to extend the muscles around the contours of the back giving improved flexibility.
Although a back massage can be extremely beneficial, caution must be taken in certain areas for novices. The spine itself should in no instance be directly massaged upon. The kidney areas should also not receive any aggressive motions such as chopping with the edges of hands.
Preparation For Giving a Back Massage
Obviously we cannot all have massage tables close to hand, so using a bed or something else that is similar is also fine. The main point in preparation for the back massage is to have the person that you are massaging very comfortable, otherwise there is no point if they are uncomfortable from the get go. Your subject should be lying face down with their arms resting parallel to their face. Place a rolled towel underneath the forehead to support it. Tie up any loose hair and leave the back and neck free from any obstructions. Use another rolled towel or a pillow to put under their chest. You can use other various things to make the experience more pleasant if you prefer like soothing music, scented candles or incense.
Effleurage Massage Technique
You should begin effleurage in the correct position, which is done by kneeling beside the persons right hip. You will begin by oiling your hands and you should then use long effleurage strokes while seeking out any areas of notable tightness and tension.
Starting on the lower lumbar area, commence these strokes using your thumbs to join your hands together, using firm pressure on your fingertips and moving slowly up the persons back. Continue with this stroke right up the back towards the peak in one fluid motion. Once you reach the peak of the back, separate your hands and move them away from each other across the shoulders, all still in the same movement. After you have rounded the shoulders then you bring your hands down the sides of the back, beginning the sequence all over again.
Starting level at the shoulder blades with your thumbs each side of the spine initiate circular pressure movements, working deep into the muscle. Keep working in circles until you reach the bottom of the neck. Then if you ask the person to bring their right arm behind their back, you then hold this in place with your left hand. This action will slightly bring out the shoulder blade. With your right thumb, work deep circular movements over the shoulder area. There can be tightness under the shoulder blade area, so you can place firm pressure here to release it. Moving to the other side, repeat the opposite of this for the other shoulder blade.
With your left hand placed over your right, massage in small circles from the bottom of the neck toward the shoulder. Maintain these circles round to the shoulder blade giving firm pressure to release any tension.
First of all, you will need to get into position on the right side of the person that you are massaging. Then you will begin to knead the side of their back using both of your hands. You start this at the outsides of the waist, pick up, roll and then release the muscles, alternately pressing one of your hands toward the other. Continue this process up the back until you get to the shoulders, then you start again at the waist but this time further in nearer the spine. To do the other side of the back you shouldn't need to change your position.
Using the lower side of your hands use a chopping motion rhythmically from the lower back up to the shoulders, avoiding the shoulder blade.
Then start cupping beginning at the lower back and moving up the back and then across the shoulders. To do this you should be using both of your hands. These movements should be used on both sides of the back.
Once again you should use the effleurage strokes to soothe the back. You can do this as many times as you feel fit.
With your thumbs entwined roll both fists up the sides up the spine to the nape of the neck, when this point is reached open your fists and use the palms of your hands to sweep down the sides of the back. Do this process three times.
Place your thumbs to the side of the persons back with your fingers around their side. Starting at the lower back and travel up the back making small circles with your thumbs, applying a firm amount of pressure. Continue this until you get to the hair and then using the same movements go back down the back.
Crossing your thumbs again travel up and down the sides of the spine two times using loosely held knuckles.
Starting at the lower back and using the flats of the outside of your fingers, push up the sides of the spine until you get about a third of the way up the back, then sweep your hands outwards and then back down around the hips, do this three times.
To finish the back massage, repeat the effleurage strokes from the beginning, starting at the lower back, up to and around the shoulders, down again to the lower back while in a continuous sweeping movement.
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