If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, there’s a good chance that at some time you’ve offered or asked for a backrub or massage. But there’s a difference between a backrub that gets a polite thanks and one that really is appreciated by the person receiving it.
In this blog, I’ll tell you how to give a killer backrub to your significant other, referred to as “wife” below for convenience.
You probably don’t have a massage table in your home, so have your wife lie face down, undressed to the waist, on a bed, a yoga pad or folded comforter on the floor. A rolled up towel beneath her ankles will relieve pressure on her lower back. Dim lights, scented candles and soft music also will help her relax.
A lubricant such as body lotion or oil will help your hands glide across her back without friction. If it has a pleasing scent, that’s even better.
Pour a blob of lotion about the size of a half dollar into one hand (half that amount if you use oil) and rub it lightly between your palms to warm it.
Kneeling next to your wife’s left hip, place your hands next to each other at the top of her back on either side of her spine. Glide your hands down slowly, using light pressure with the full hand in contact with her skin. When you reach the bottom of her back, without lifting your hands off her, make a large slow gliding oval on her back, going up one side, across the shoulders and down the other side.
This warms up the muscles and spreads the lubricant.
Continue to warm her muscles by using the full hand with more pressure for several long gliding strokes from her left shoulder to her waist. Use the fingertips of both hands to outline her scapula (shoulder blade), starting at her shoulder, working down to the bottom of the scapula, then back up. You can use firmer pressure on this. With your fingertips, strum firmly from the base of her neck down across the muscles between the scapula and the spine.
Finish the left upper back with a couple of slow circular gliding strokes over the area you’ve just worked.
If she tells you at any time the pressure is too much, back off. Your goal is to make her comfortable and relaxed, not to demonstrate your upper body strength.
Now move to her right side and repeat that sequence.
On to the lower back. Place your thumbs on either side of her spine with your hands spread out. Glide slowly up to the bottom of her scapula with firm pressure. Bring your hands back down to the starting position, keeping contact with her back but using minimal pressure, and repeat several times. Using the side of your fist, drum lightly on her lower back, avoiding the spine.
Conclude the backrub with a couple of long, slow gliding strokes from the lower back up to her shoulders and out along her arms.
A few things to remember:
- Avoid putting pressure on the spine. Always.
- Keep your hands in contact with her back as you move from one stroke to another.
- Long, slow strokes are more relaxing than short brisk strokes, so take your time and move slowly. A good backrub takes several minutes.
- Medium to firm pressure is unlikely to tickle, and it feels better than light pressure to most people.
This technique is not the equivalent of a professional massage, but it’s a heck of a good backrub. If you need to practice it again and again to do it well, your wife, husband or significant other will be happy to volunteer to be practiced upon.