How to Give a Great Back Massage
Begin with light, gentle strokes. Your focus, according to Jokinen, should be on keeping the palms of your hands on the body as much as possible. Use long, slow strokes. Start at the neck and shoulders and go down to the lower back, smoothing your hands along the sides of the spine. Remember to keep your hands and arms relaxed as well—if you’re comfortable, they will be too.
“You know what feels good to you,” says Jokinen. “Keep that in mind when you’re massaging someone.” And don’t take it so seriously. “Think of it as artwork, like you’re painting the back.” For extra points, work the pads of the feet and the hands. Then to finish things off, she recommends two tension relieving moves. First, gently grab the skin at the back of a neck (like a cat) and slowly release it. Then work up the neck with your fingertips, and massage the lower scalp, focusing on the ridge at the back of the head. These areas contain a lot of nerves, which allows for a great release of stress and tension.