I like giving backrubs. It’s an essential part of a relationship for me. It’s a way of showing affection that appeals to me. It implies trust, it explicifies trust (not a real word). Trust is what I like about relationships.
So, I’ve had a lot of time to think and read these past few years. Let me share some backrub theory with you. First, massage is about finding muscles. You don’t have to memorize muscle groups or acupuncture points. Massage is something you can literally feel your way through. The goal is to relax. While massaging, seek out tense muscles. Keep moving your area of focus. Be aware of the response you’re getting from your subject. Look for signs that you’ve found a rewarding spot. Maybe a shoulder blade or a hard rub in the small of the back. This becomes your home base. Radiate kneading patterns out from that spot. The spot will move as your subject relaxes, so don’t spend more than a little time in one area.
Shoulders are a good place to start because several muscle groups cross there. Don’t impose your massage on the recipient, though. Your goal is to find the tense muscles in their back. Massaging one area relaxes the local muscles. Another area will tense up. You’re searching for those tense areas. As you search, there are some areas that deserve repeated attention.
Neck: The back of the neck is an area of concentrated nerves and muscles. Let your shoulder massage drift up to the base of the skull and back down again. The muscles in the back of the neck work all day holding our heads up. We’re used to them being tense. The relief of loosening those muscles makes the scalp rub a tingling crescendo. There are a lot of nerves in the scalp. A few brisk fingertip scratches can light up a scalp tingle. Besides, you get to run your fingers through her hair, too 🙂
Lower Back: The small of the back holds a large cluster of nerves. These are the nerves that do the heavy lifting of moving your legs. It is also the area where the pelvis meets the spine. Any signal going up or down has to pass through an area accessible to prodding fingers. Follow the connections outwards from that central point. Don’t overdue the spine tingle (running your finger up the back). Instead, try a kneading pattern up the spine. Use the palm of your hand, or a knuckle. The higher up the back you go, the more ticklish the sides are, so narrow your kneading as you go up. Tickling is for later.
Arms: The elbow and wrist are intersections of muscles and nerves. Don’t move to the arms until the back is well relaxed. You want to radiate your massage outwards from the person’s centerline. Allow your shoulder kneading to work outwards, pausing at the shoulder joint. I like to concentrate on one side at a time. As you move down to the Biceps/Triceps area, hold each muscle in a hand. Don’t stick your thumb in her armpit. Massage rhythmically, then opposite. Keep alternating. For limbs, range of motion becomes part of the massage. Massage from different angles. As her arm goes through it’s range, different muscles will tense and relax. Keep coming back to the same places at different positions. For example: the Bicep is most relaxed with the elbow at 90 degrees. Keep massaging as you extend the arm and bring it back up towards the shoulder.
When you come to the wrist, you’ve reached the frets of the arm guitar. Take the wrist between your thumb and forefinger and rock her hand back and forth and around and round. Now put your thumb in her palm and rub. Don’t rub the back of the hand. It’s better to use a finger tapping there. Go right out each little piggy until you get to market.
Legs: Legs and arms follow a lot of the same rules. Don’t rub the top of the foot, tap. Use more pressure on the sole of the foot, like you would on the palm. The back of the knee, the inside of the elbow, these are good places to massage as you lightly push and pull. Most people are more comfortable if you approach the buttocks from above rather than from the legs. Draw an imaginary miniskirt line on the thighs, and stay south of there. When you’re done, just jump back to one of the good spots on her back that you found earlier. Otherwise, you’re wandering into erotic massage, which a subject for another day.
I suppose I should put a disclaimer here. I’m not a licensed masseur, nor have I studied massage in any formal way. I’ve never hurt anyone, because I don’t forget that massage is intended to relax both participants.