How to Massage a Back – A Quick 10 Minute Primer You Can Try Immediately


The back is the most popular area of the body to massage for two obvious reasons, as well as a third less obvious one: 1) It’s got a large amount of the body’s muscles, and they’re all intertwined thereby making it the place where you’re likely to get the most knots and cramps, 2) It’s where people tend to store tension, and the third less known reason is that the lower back itself, which is often given special attention during a massage, is actually a very powerful erogenous

zone which makes the back massage popular with two people who are romantically involved (or wish to be 😉 ). Even peer-reviewed medical research has demonstrated that properly done massage is capable of providing such benefits as reducing blood pressure and heart rate, pain relief, helping with depression, and

reducing anxiety. There are various theories (none of which have been conclusively proven) about how massage goes about doing these things, including improving sleep, blocking nociception, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system which may cause the body to release serotonin and endorphins, stopping fibrosis (preventing scar tissue from forming), and causing the flow of lymph to increase.

This is designed to be a quick and simple primer, not a comprehensive course, such that you can read this and watch the video, all in under 10 minutes, and then give your friend or lover a wonderful and relaxing massage. Let’s have a look at the video first, of course I’m sure the person you’re massaging won’t mind if you have this playing while you’re ‘experimenting’ on them, considering that the ‘experimentation’ will certainly feel really good to them! Here’s the video, and there’s a few quick tips afterward:

Quick Tips on Back Massage

  • Don’t neglect the neck! There are so many nerves in the neck that a very simple massage done right can put them on cloud nine. I personally recommend that you use a pinching motion with your hands starting at the base of the neck and working up–you can probably pinch harder than you think, I’d try going right up until they tell you it hurts, and then backing off just a bit from that, that’s the sweet spot where you want to stay.
  • You can use a surprising amount of pressure: pressure isn’t the problem, just so long as you go SLOW. The problem is quick and jerky movements, those are what hurt.
  • You should always avoid working directly on top of the spine, unless you are using extremely gentle strokes. Work the muscles on either side of the spine instead, those will almost always be in need of attention.
  • Don’t forget to use plenty of oil, and right now I’ll give you one of those valuable tips as far as massage goes that you’ll ever hear: grape seed oil, and lot’s of it 😀 .

Additional Resources and Further Reading About Massage

Here’s a really good and detailed set of instructions (with video) on how to do a Swedish massage at Mahalo.

How to give a Shiatsu massage at…if that was a bit too basic for you, see this article at on how to do Shiatsu massage, here’s a short video on doing Shiatsu that I like because she’s actually a licensed therapist and SHOWS you what to do.

Here’s a video about choosing between Shiatsu and Thai massage–this would apply if you were looking to get a massage done by a professional.