A Complete Guide On How to Give An Amazing Back Massage

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Ever wondered how you can give an amazing massage to your partner to soothe all their back pain? You don’t need to be a professional in order to give a satisfying experience. You can start with the basics and be able to grasp what’s needed in performing a massage.

Back massage is a truly indulgent treat for people who feel pain, tension, and any bothersome knots on their back. One session is enough to increase the blood flow on the muscles and skin, resulting in an almost instantaneous relief from pain and stress.

People resort to getting back massages more frequently these days due to varied personal reasons. So why not take this chance to learn massage for the purpose of making a career out of it or merely just giving it to loved ones? Whatever your motives are on learning how to give a massage, we are here to you guide you all throughout.


Prior to giving a massage, it pays to prepare the essential requirements for your “client” to fully enjoy the relaxing therapy. Having the right tools and equipment makes all the difference. Here is what you need to arrange before giving the massage: 

A serene location

Take into consideration the ambiance of the spot you have chosen to perform the massage. Tranquility is a must in every massage session to increase the relaxing benefits. Loudness is not conducive for relaxation at all; silence is best for stress relief.

The right bed

A massage table is the best option of course, but if you are just a beginner, you might opt to use a bed, floor mat, or even a kitchen table that is sturdy enough to have someone lie down on it.  As long as it is firm and comfortable, it could pass as your personal massage table.

Soft pillow

The comfort of the “client” is your top priority. Make ready a fine quality pillow that would support the head and other parts that will need the use of it.

The essential oils

Though not required, the correct oils and scent can maximize the relaxing sensations of a massage. Not only does it reduce the awkward friction, but its scent can benefit the overall therapy. You can try Lavender, Jojoba and Coconut oils for starters.


Stripping off clothes will depend upon your “client’s” discretion, but if he decides to go at it, towels are a must to drape over the sensitive parts of the body.

Soft music (optional)

Though quietness is a major requirement in performing a massage, you can play some soft music in the background. It works just as well as total silence does. There is music that is soothing to the nerves, so add it to the playlist.

Lit candles (optional)

Lit candles surrounding you is conducive to soothing effects. They can serve as the source of the light in a moderately lit room. Lit candles are the perfect touch to a tranquil spot where you are performing the massage.

Different Massage Techniques

Here are some easy massage techniques for an amazing back massage:

  1. Effleurage or stroking – the use of two hands, with one being supported; for warm-up.
  2. Petrissage or kneading – the rhythmic grasping and squeezing of muscle with alternate hands.
  3. Friction – the supported finger, thumb, or forearm presses.
  4. Compression or deep pressure – the static thumb, knuckle, or elbow for knots.
  5. Tapotement or percussion – the loose wrist fists and pinchies.
  6. Vibration and shaking – the vibration of hands in one place or the picking up of a limb, pulling it a little, and shaking it.
  7. Effleurage ­­– the cooldown.

How to give amazing back massage

Step 1

  • Have the person lie down on his stomach and turn his head on one side. Ask him to take slow deep breaths during the massage.
  • Pour a small amount of oil onto your palm and warm it up by rubbing it between your hands.
  • Spread the oil onto the person’s back by gliding long steady strokes. This is called effleurage.
  • Use both of your hands to start at the bottom of the back and move upward. Apply pressure upward towards the heart where the direction of blood flow is. Then lightly bring the hands down to the outside of the back. Decrease the pressure as you go to the outside but keep your skin in touch with the back.
  • Do this repeatedly for 3 to 5 minutes while gradually increasing the pressure from light to medium.

Step 2

  • Use the petrissage technique to apply more pressure in a circular motion on the waist. This is similar to kneading as you will need to roll and press your hands onto the area for improved blood circulation.
  • Use your palms, fingertips, and knuckles to apply the circular motion from the waist across the entire back.
  • Do this for a maximum of 5 minutes. You can alternately do this technique with the effleurage.

Step 3

  • Do the percussive strokes on the person’s entire back by stimulating it with brief repetitive contacts of your hands. You can use your cupped hands and fingertips that are evenly gathered at one point, or the flat surface of your fingers when formed in a knuckle.
  • Make sure your wrists are relaxed. Flex your wrists while doing the percussive strokes to avoid applying too much pressure.
  • Do this technique for 2 to 3 minutes on the entire back for the benefit of the tissues there.

Step 4

  • Perform muscle-lifting techniques by closing your fingers while holding out the thumbs. It looks as if your hands are claws of a lobster. Apply the pressure in a twisting, lifting motion.
  • Do this method up and down the back for 3 minutes.

Step 5

  • Stand at the head of the table and place your thumbs at the upper back, right below the neck and either side of the spine.
  • With your thumbs extended, gently push down toward the lower back with the pressure aimed towards the person’s feet rather than the ground.
  • Alternate the pressure applied on either thumb, sliding your way from the top of the back down to the hips.
  • Ensure that you are only applying pressure on the muscles on either side of the spine and not directly on the backbone. As a beginner, it’s risky to get involved with the spine so steer clear from it.

Step 6

  • Go back to standing on one side of the bed and place your hands on either side of the person’s hip—one near you and one on the far side.
  • Start to pull your hands on the opposite direction of where it is. Do this with a fluid motion. In the middle, they should slide against each other.
  • Repeat this technique on the entire back until you reach the shoulder area and then do it again downwards.
  • Do this 3 more times.

Dos and don’ts of an amazing back massage

Ensure that you remember these dos and don’ts to fully redeem the benefits of giving an amazing back massage.


  • Check the person’s skin condition for any complications.

Ask the client if there are any open wounds or underlying skin conditions that may prevent the use of particular oils and lotions.

  • Ask for any existing allergies or sensitivities toward particular scents or ingredients.

Besides skin conditions, ask the client if there are any existing allergies from ingredients and sensitivities to scents. This way, you can skip any lotion or oil containing those that might irritate them.

  • Stop massaging any area that feels numb and stinging.

Massage should bring relaxation and relief and not pain. If the client feels any kind of irritation, you need to pause and target other areas of the body.

  • Wipe off excess oil with a warm, damp towel.

Don’t leave your client soaking with oil. Wipe it off carefully with a warm and damp towel.

  • Use your body weight when massaging.

Use your weight to apply pressure on the body areas. This is because when you force your hands to work alone, you will quickly get tired.

  • Start from bigger areas.

It’s common to start on big muscle parts and body parts first, like the back and thighs, before moving on to smaller areas like the neck, arms, hands, calves, and feet.

  • Keep the contact constant.

When giving a massage, it’s crucial to maintain skin contact. You don’t necessarily have to apply pressure all the time. Sometimes, a light touch is already fine.

  • Reinforce the movements.

If you aim for more pressure, control, and less strain, you can massage with your hand after the other. Your free hand can be used to support the wrist of the occupied hand. 


  • Apply direct pressure on bony areas.

Lighten the pressure when massaging bony areas as there is little to no muscle there. Putting pressure in boy areas will cause discomfort.

  • Massage broken, blistered, or infected skin.

As much as you can, avoid any areas that have broken skin, blistering, and infection. Massaging such areas will further irritate the skin.

  • Give a massage to someone younger than the age of 20 and older than 55 who experiences back pain for the first time.

You have to be cautious in giving these persons a massage as their symptoms might indicate another underlying condition. It might be best to ask for their physician’s permission first.

  • Massage someone with a fever, recent injuries/difficulty in bending, cancer, nerve and spine problems, and HIV.

These cases need their doctors’ professional advice, so before getting a massage, they must seek approval first for a massage.

  • Blabber on to the person.

Don’t make conversation with anyone in the room. Peace and tranquility are a part of inflicting relaxation.

  • Face each other at the start.

It’s a common practice to start the massage with the person facing away from you—whether by lying on their stomach or sitting on a chair. These positions make it easy for them to close their eyes and relax.

  • Go too fast and hard.

A massage should not be too hard and fast. Remember that the deeper the massage is, the slower you must apply the pressure.

  • Pour oil directly onto the body.

Never directly apply oil or lotion on the client’s body. If you will use oil, apply it onto your hands, and slowly spread it onto the area you’re massaging.

  • Break your spine when massaging someone.

When you are massaging with someone lying on a bed, you’ll typically catch yourself bending down. To avoid a bad posture, widen your stance to get lower.

  • Overwork your fingers.

Don’t get overboard with using your fingers. This is mostly applicable when massaging the shoulders. Doing this will tire you out quickly.

This is how you give an amazing massage to someone when you are just starting out. If you are interested to go deeper into the practice, you can find online courses to help you, like this home massage therapist course. There are many ways you can learn, and this is one of the easiest.

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