How to Give a Massage
Start with conversation. Without even touching the person, talk to them. Get attuned to
how they’re feeling, etc., at the time of the massage. Find out how their day,week,month
has been (Depending on how often you talk to them. =) Ask them if there are any areas
that are painful or sensitive that they’d like avoided or paid special attention to.
Remember that if they’re not comfortable with you, they won’t be comfortable with the
massage they’re receiving from you. Ask them if they would be uncomfortable with
taking their clothes off. Let them know that you won’t see them completely nude, but
the purpose of the removal of clothing is so that lotions or oils can be used and so that
the friction between cloth and skin won’t cause discomfort for either the
masseur/masseuse or massee. If they’re uncomfortable with taking off their clothes, let
them know that it’s okay to leave them on. Again, they have to be comfortable in order
to enjoy the massage. If they do wear clothes, don’t use lotions or oils, but instead
decide (Depending on the type of clothing) if you’re going to cause the friction between
your skin and the cloth or the massee’s skin and cloth. If the clothing is very loose,
you’re best to keep the cloth with your hand. If the clothing is tight, it’s best to keep it
with the skin of the massee.
Assuming that not everyone has a massage table available, the floor is the next best
thing (In some cases, it’s better, IMO). Lay out an exercise mat or similar pad if you
have it. If not, a blanket or comforter will work fine. Make sure that the surface that
the person is lying on won’t hurt their skin. (Don’t use a rough feeling blanket… The
smoother, the better.) Make sure that there’s room enough for the person to stretch out
on and spread their arms and legs out a little on without falling off the edge. Tell the
person that after you leave the room, you want them to take off their clothing and lie
on their stomach on the mat, covering their butt with a towel. Have another towel
handy to cover the breasts of a female massee when she turns over. When they’re lying
on the floor properly covered, they should call you back into the room to begin the
You should have a natural oil or lotion ready. If possible, have a warm water
bath that you keep the bottle in (A bowl of warm water works good). You’ll want to use
an organic oil or lotion rather than an animal fat-based oil or a mineral oil. These can
harm some people’s skins. Vegetable oils and lotions work best. Personally, I use a
Keoki Papaya Aloe Lanolin lotion. You can usually find a good natural lotion or oil at
GNC or any health store.
Start by rubbing the lotion between both hands to warm it up if it isn’t already warm.
Gently spread it across the upper back and shoulders, getting the massee used to your
touch. IMPORTANT: Once you have touched the person, never lose touch ’til you’re
done. You want to create a bonded feeling between you and your friend through touch
and if you break contact, that feeling is ruined. Keep talking to the person while you
spread the lotion across the upper back and shoulders.
Spread the lotion in a circular motion of each hand for a few rotations, gradually
moving your hands to the shoulders, cupping the hands over the tops of the shoulders,
pulling down on the muscles between the neck and shoulder joints with your four
fingers and pushing up with the thumbs on the same muscles, pushing up along the
back of the neck muscles. Use circular motions with the thumbs along this area while
gently pulling these muscles with the fingers. Move the hands down the shoulders,
pulling on the muscles with fingers and pushing with the thumbs. IMPORTANT: Don’t
push on the spine! Keep the hands on either side of the spine, working down along the
muscles. Work your way back up the back with both hands cupped to the sides of the
back, thumbs along either side of the spine. Pull out from the spine with the thumbs,
working back to the top of the back.
Return to the shoulders, again cupping the hands
over the shoulders and pulling with your four fingers and pushing with the thumbs.
Starting at the top of the back pull down along either side of the spine with the four
fingers, pushing down with some force, being careful not to hurt the massee. Work
back up the back and use both hands on each shoulder, switching from side to side.
Repeat the above as necessary.
When you get bored working on the back [kidding] move gently down the sides to the
legs. Rub gently down to the ankles. Cup both hands over one ankle, moving your body
around to one side of the feet. Holding both hands over the ankle, knead the legs by
pulling up on one side of the leg with the thumb of one hand while pulling back with the
fingers of the other hand, keeping both hands next to each other. Move back and forth
like this with both hands up and down the calf of the leg. Rotate the hands ninety
degrees so that both thumbs are in the middle of the knee and the fingers are cupping
over to the sides of the thigh. Pull away from the center of the leg with the thumbs,
using the fingers as leverage (but not pressing too hard so as to hurt the person). Work
up and down the thigh pulling out from the center with both hands. When you reach the
top of the thigh, pull down the center of the leg ’til you reach the bottom of the thigh
and start working back up. Work back down to the ankle and switch legs. Repeat on
the other leg. Work back up the thigh to the back, cupping the hands over both thighs
with the thumbs off center to the outside of the leg, pressing with the fingers. As you
move your hands up, your thumbs will rub along the buttocks and the fingers along the
sides. You will be cupping each hand on the side of the lower back of the massee. Work
up the back repeating what you worked on before.
Move down the arms, gently rubbing lengthwise. Work back to the back and rub the
neck. Rub the fingers up into the scalp, moving back and forth with all your fingers as
if scratching, but without the nails of your hands. Show the person the other towel and
move your body around, placing yourself above their head. Have them turn over,
keeping your hands on their head. Move down their arms, rub the fronts of the legs in a
similar way as to the backs of the legs, and rub the feet, if you have the knowledge.
Unfortunately, it takes a lot of explanation to properly describe a foot massage, but as
long as you’re careful, you can’t hurt the person, so experiment.
In order to maintain contact, you’ll have to apply the oil or lotion with one hand, but
have to warm it before you apply it. To do this, use one hand to pick up the bottle and
squeeze some oil or lotion into the nape of the opposite hand, then rub the hand that
held the bottle over the nape to warm the oil, gently working the oil onto the skin. Just
remember that you’re free to experiment with these different techniques and don’t have
to follow this description exactly.
- The most important backrub rule in my opinion: never break contact.
Once you start touching the person, do not stop until the backrub
is over. Even if you must rest or switch positions, keep a hand
touching his/her back.
- Keep your fingernails short, and not sharp.
- Scratching (lightly or hard, depending on your victim) after a
backrub can be wonderful. Follow this with extremely light touching
(a backrub where you are hardly touching the person at all, except
with fingertips). Careful not to tickle too much — add more
pressure if you’re tickling. Finish up with very light “real”
- Before you start, ask the receipient to tell you if anything you do makes
her or him uncomfortable.
- Rub firmly, but not hard.
- Use all parts of your hand. Sometimes use your fingertips, your palms,
even your knuckles.
- Play piano scales all over his/her back. Some people really like
- If you use a substance, use skin lotion, and use it sparingly. Scented
oils are acceptible (but be cautious of allergies).
- Johnson’s Baby Oil is great.
- Backs are nice, but don’t limit yourself.
- DO limit yourself if you don’t know the person very well. Unwanted
touching will ruin both of your evenings.
- If you don’t know the person very well, offer a backrub ONLY if you
really mean “backrub.” If you say “backrub” when you really are
just trying to get the person into bed, she will catch on.