The back carries a lot of strain and these relaxing movements are often the most appreciated part of the full body massage. Don’t be tempted to use too much pressure: it is better to keep the strokes broad and flowing.
Seated to the side of your partner, apply oil evenly over the back with smooth upward strokes, following the direction of the lymph flow.
Figure of Eight
This sequence loosens the tissue all over the back and helps to stimulate blood and lymph flow, and relieve tension.
1. To begin this large sweeping movement, place both hands on the lower back, just above the base of the spine, fingers pointing toward the head.
2. Slide both hands all the way up the sides of the spine to just below the base of the neck.
3. Move the hands out around the shoulders and in toward each other across the upper back.
4. As the hands pass each other, cross the right arm over the left and continue gliding.
5. With arms still crossed, reach down around the waist.
6. Pull the flesh up firmly around the waist and then gradually release the sides as the palms glide to the middle of the lower back and pass each other.
7. Continue the movement by sliding the palms out around the hips and complete the figure-of-eight by returning the hands to the starting position.
This action works on the nerves along the spine and helps to disperse the fluid that accumulates in the back tissue as a result of tension. The effect is wonderfully relaxing.
1. Place one hand on the lower back, at the base of the spine. The fingers should be splayed open, with the index finger pointing to the side of the spine.
2. Fan the hand round in an upward and outward motion away from the spine. The other hand follows on the same side as the first completes the movement. Work all the way up the side of the spine, alternating hands.
Before being given a massage, always wash off any deodorant. This is important for this movement as it drains the lymph towards the major lymph glands in the armpits. This movement relaxes the shoulder and disperses tension.
1. Place one hand at the bottom of the shoulder blade with fingers splayed and the second hand poised to follow on the same side.
2. Brush the hand up and out in a smooth fanning movement. Follow with the second hand, work all round the shoulder blade and out over the shoulder, toward the armpit.
Kneeling at the side of your partner, turn the head away from you.
1. Place your forearm alongside the spine with your elbow just above the buttocks. Clasp the working hand with your other hand for support and stability.
2. Using the flat bone of the forearm, slide all the way up the side of the spine to the top of the shoulder ridge.
3. Life the arm off gently and repeat twice from the beginning.
Sit to the side of your partner, facing across the back.
1. With hands together and palms raised, place the fingertips at the side of the spine, just above the coccyx.
2. Keeping the fingers together, pull them toward you down the side of the back.
3. Repeat the movement all the way up the spine, ending at the base of the neck so the final movement pulls across the shoulders toward the glands in the armpit.
Kneading the Neck
This gentle movement releases tension and helps disperse the fatty deposits that can build up in this sensitive area.
1. Your partner should rest facing down with forehead on hands, so that you can work your fingers into the base of the neck. Smooth the hair away from the neck.
2. Resting one hand gently on the back of the head, use the other hand to pull up and knead the muscles in the base of the neck rolling the muscle between the thumb and the other fingers.
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