How to give the Best Back Massage – Massage for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common problems suffered by almost every one worldwide. The most soothing, instant relieving and healthy way to get rid of the pain this is through the best back massage or back rub. Massage for back pain is a therapy that no one ought to miss out on. Most of our life styles include movement or work that will cause back muscles to become tense ,however, with a really good back massage you will definitely be able to get yourself the relaxation that you need. If you are having sleeping problems, a special back massage will definitely help you go to bed better than those sleeping pills that even have side effects. Furthermore, deep back massage is very helpful in releasing tension, stiffness and soreness that different activities may cause to the back. The back consists three major parts that is to say the upper back which is the area around the shoulders, lower back and the mid back which is around the spinal cord.

To answer the question whether anyone can know how to give a back massage or how to give the best back massage ever ; yes, it is possible once equipped with the right massage products, information and a little practice. In addition, there are certain massage tools that can deliver simple massages to the back and help in back pain relief.  In this post, I will simply go over the very best ways of how anyone can pull off giving  someone else a tantric back massage or back rub for simple back pain otherwise if the back pain is serious then it might require attention from professionals at a health facility such as a hospital. You may not be a pro at giving massages that is why I have the provided information that will make the process painless and possible. Whether its massage for the upper back or the lower back, I have all that covered for you so that you have all the details you need.


Necessary Massage Products or Tools for a Back Massage or Back Rub:

Sometimes just having the right skills or techniques may not help much if you do not have the necessary equipment or massage tools to use during the massage. There are a few things that you must have in order to give someone and effective and pain relieving back massage and these include:

  • Massage oil or lotion; ensure to test on a small part of your skin to know how it will react with the massage recipients’ skin. An example of massage oil to use is provided below.

Fractioned Aromatherapy or Massage oil


  • Massage table; the best one must have an adjustable face cradle. Anyone can purchase one and have it with in their home for best massage results. Otherwise if the massage table is not available then the regular bed should also work as long as the one giving the back massage  takes the appropriate positions throughout the session
  • Massage linen; pure cotton massage linen is the best for maximum comfort during the massage. Bed sheets that are also made of pure cotton may be substituted for massage linen that would be laid on the massage table. In addition, body towels also made of pure cotton do come in handy when you would like to cover certain body parts that will not be receiving massage.


What to Prepare : How to give a back massage

Set the Massage Table: Some people think that a back massage can be done anywhere such as the couch, floor or even the bed but that kind of massage will not be as effective as one done on a massage table. This is simply because when the recipient lies on a massage table you can have full access of their back as they also remain comfortable throughout the massage session. A massage table also ensures that the person offering the massage remains comfortable throughout the session.

Lay Sheets over the Massage Table: Most massage tables have leather material that is not comfortable on the skin at all so you must have cotton sheets with a soft and smooth surface that will not make the recipient uncomfortable since they remove most of their clothing. Sheets or linen to cover the table and the recipient of the massage should be made available. Also keep in mind that the sheets should be large enough to wrap around the recipient’s body.

Make the Room or Environment Conducive: Comfort and relaxation are paramount for any massage session therefore you must make sure that the room is free from any bad odor and add anything that you feel may be of interest to the recipient for a nice relaxing massage. The lighting of the room should be good enough to bring that calm feeling for the recipient. Things to consider here include; soothing music, dim lights, scented candles and adding a little heat to the massage table with the help of a massage table warmer.

Let the Massage Recipient undress to a level they are most comfortable: If someone is not comfortable undressing completely then they will not be comfortable throughout the session if they are forced to do so therefore allow them to show only what they are comfortable with. Have sheets and towels that the recipient can use to cover the parts of the body that are not going to be massaged.

The patient should lie down flat: This will give you enough access to the person’s back at the same time give the patient all the comfort they need.

Have all materials nearby and ready: Have all the materials(as mentioned earlier in the post) you will need during the massage nearby so that you don’t waste more time looking for them elsewhere; you will end up making the recipient wait for too long which may turn out to be very frustrating.


Back Massage Techniques

Once you are equipped with the necessary massage tools or products the next step is to employ the appropriate massage technique to give that killer  back massage. There are different massage techniques that may be used and it will vary from one situation to another. For example, for a simple back massage or back rub the one giving the massage may decide to use techniques that do not involve applying lots of pressure or any pressure at all. Feel free to choose from the options  below that will work for perfectly for your situation.


  • Effleurage (Stroke Movement) of Applying the Heel of the Hand: With this technique, pressure is deeper reason being only a small area of the hand gets into contact with the area being worked on. Begin from the lower back and make small circles with the heel of your hand coming from the sides to the upper part and finally to the center. Follow the same pattern of movement until you get to the upper back.
  • Whole Hand Effleurage It can be defined as smooth recurrent stroking done using the whole hand. This is the technique used when applying massage oil or lotion. You simply glide your hands from the shoulders moving down to the lower back and then backwards to the upper back where you began from.

applying oil as give a back massage


  • Using Reinforced Thumb: This works on one side at a time, with the thumb pressed down to apply pressure. Glide starting from lower to upper however; as you reach to the neck pressure must be reduced. Hold the thumb down for a few seconds as you glide and repeat the process about three times on both sides.
  • Effleurage Applying Reinforced Fingers: Just the fingers get into contact with the area that is being worked on. As you only use the fingers a smaller area gets in touch with your body hence bringing about deeper pressure. Start just from the center line or spinal cord sliding your hands heading to the spine. Begin from the lower back making your way upwards to the upper back.
  • Applying Middle Finger Friction: This is very efficient in getting rid of any sore parts on the back; deep firm movements are employed on both sides of the spinal cord. Start from the lower back going upward to the upper back ensuring to rub friction to each area for about four or five times but in case you come across any swollen areas you can rub more than just five times so that those sore muscles are released.
  • Applying Forearms Effleurage: Bend down towards the recipient and place your forearms on to the back pressing them down firmly. With this technique ensure to stop just below the shoulder blades.
  • Sustained Pressure of the Reinforced Thumb: In this technique, it is mostly the thumb that should be used on any tender areas found while conducting the massage or on any parts that the massage recipient may show where most of the pain is felt. Hold your thumb firmly down for about 5 seconds using pressure while using this technique you must be able to cut down on the pressure and increase it momentarily. This will help to relieve the recipient pain without them going through or feeling too much pain in the process.



How to give an upper back or shoulder massage

The shoulder upper back  massage should be done for about a limited time but before starting the massage ensure to keep pressure minimal and stay away for areas that have broken skin, any kind of infection and blisters. Sometimes a massage to the upper back or shoulders may require giving a massage to the neighboring areas such as the neck or head.  Otherwise, if its simply a back massage them proceed to apply oil or lotion in the beginning and add more as needed while using any of the techniques below or a combination of any two or more for about 15 to 20 minutes.


Apply Oil or Lotion To The Entire Back: For even or proper distribution of oil to the entire back, it’s best that you stand at the close to the head or the head of the massage table. Using bilateral strokes; spread the oil or lotion to the back by starting from the shoulders downwards to the sides and hips. Oil is very essential if you want to have a comforting back massage.

applying oil for massage

Use Shingles Effleurage(Stroke Movement): With this technique you put one hand a few inches before the other and glide your fingers towards the targeted area; only use the fingers not the palm. So when massaging the upper back, stand at the side and use shingles effleurage technique on the targeted muscles while progressively deepening the pressure you are using.

shingles effleurage as you give a back massage

Use Deep Circular Effleurage: Stay in the posture you were in on the technique before. Put one hand over the other and use the palm to rub with more pressure. Following the shape of the shoulder; use circular movements with the palm over the shoulder. Re-do the procedure several times.


Use Circular Friction with Finger Tips: In the same standing posture; make small circular motions on the upper back and for more deep penetration to those tense muscles make circles clockwise to the right and anti-clockwise to the left.

finger tips use as you give a back massage

Apply Friction: Use your palms to project friction between the shoulder blades. This is an equally good technique of massage for back pain.

Knead the Trapezium: You can use both hands and just one hand to knead the upper trapezium.

Use Thumb Pressure: Stand at the head of the table or close to the head area and rub the upper trapezium using pressure from both thumbs. Apply thumb pressure on the targeted areas and press down for about two or three seconds.

thumb pressure as you give a back massage

Use Two Hand Patrissage: Patrissage is a kneading skill that routines short and circular strokes but with a little more pressure compared to effleurage. As you finish up with massaging the upper back, place both your palms flat on to the upper and make circular movements. While making your hands pass each other keep trying to lift up the skin but just slightly, do not overdo it to cause the massage recipient pain.



Lower back pain is yet another big issue that brings great discomfort as causes by many different things however; lower back massage will definitely help you relieve the pain. Just like upper back massage, it should be given for about 10-20 minutes; here are ways in which a lower back massage should be done.

How to give a lower back massage or how to give a back rub

Apply Massage Oil or Lotion: Stand at the head of the table and apply oil or lotion to the whole back starting from the shoulders going down to the hips. Use your palms to evenly distribute oil on the area that is about to be worked on.

Apply Circular Friction: Put one hand on top of the other and make circular movements around lower back area. Keep the movements small and for effectiveness make circles both clockwise to the right and anti-clockwise to the left.

Use Thumb Strips: Stand in a posture that allows reach the lower back easily and slide your thumbs along the spinal cord. Do not use too much pressure because areas around the spine are delicate so just use minimal pressure to glide your thumbs on the area.

thimb strips as you give a back massage

Apply Direct Pressure: Stand at the side and use pressure on the lower back areas; do not skip too much just press from one spot to the next so that some areas are not left out. On each spot that you direct pressure; hold for around two to three minutes so that all those tight muscles deep down can be worked on.

direct pressure during a back massage

Apply Deep Effleurage(Stroke Movement) On The Sides: To massage the waist area; stand on one side and reach out for the opposite side and use lifting effleurage stroke movement) pulling to the side on which you are standing.

how to give a back massage on the side

Apply Pressure with Your Palms On The Entire Lower Back Area: Press hands down with just the required pressure starting from the shoulders moving down to the hips while standing at the head of the table. Press down with repeated procedures so that the patient can get relief quickly enough.



Back Massage Tips to Remember:

  • Avoid Using Pressure If You Have Not Taken Classes On How To Do It: Massaging the back is very sensitive and applying pressure just any how may cause more harm than good. If you want to try out using pressure then you must keep it very light or just medium.
  • Let The Massage Recipient Stay On The Table For A While After The Massage: With a towel wrapped around the body, let the recipient stay on the table for sometime so that the oil can dissolve into the skin. Some of these oils contain ingredients that are very good at improving blood circulation and releasing tension that may be causing the back to hurt.
  • Avoid Taking Both Hands Off The Recipient: The more you remove your hands from the recipient, the massage does not flow perfectly and it becomes disturbing to the recipient each time they feel you touching them and as getting your hands off them. Ensure to keep continuity by keeping one of your hands on the patient all the time.
  • Control Pressure well: As go towards the upper back; cut down on the pressure because those areas are more sensitive but as you get to the lower back increase pressure. Make sure you use relaxing strokes and take your time without rushing the session.
  • Communicate in a good tone. Its important to communicate effectively in a good tone to ensure that recipient is having a relaxing session throughout.
  • Take a Massage Class: To improve your skill; a simple class in massage will take you a long way to improve the nature of massages that you are able to give.

A well planned and done back massage should be able to offer relief for back pain or even offer relaxation after a long day. Ensure that you use the recommended massage products or  massage tools, follow the tips and information in this post in order to guarantee that you are equipped with all that you need on how to give the best back massage for that much needed relaxation or relief  to agonizing back pain.

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