I'm a firm believer that everyone, at some point in their lives, should learn to give a decent backrub. And I place emphasis on the word decent -- I'm not about to instruct you in the art of sensual massage, here (sorry if that comes as a disappointment to you). Whether it's after a long day hunched over your keyboard at work, or after a powdery morning on the slopes, everyone needs a good rubdown from time to time. But there is are few things more disappointing than going to all of the trouble to con someone into giving you one, only to find that they have clammy palms, weak fingers and no finesse. It does seem like backrubs are something that everyone likes to get, but no one really likes to give. But, as is frequently the case, once you master some simple techniques, and you become comfortable and confident in what you're doing, it can actually be a lot of fun (and no weird rubber hose required!).
When it comes to backrubs (as with everything in life), it seems the more you give, the more you get.
How to Give a Good Backrub
1. Have the intended beneficiary of your magic fingers lie or sit down in a comfortable position. Lying on an elevated surface (so you can reach them without hunching over) or sitting in a backless chair in front of you are good options. There is really no need for you to straddle them or any of that nonsense, as people often do- I think that's more of an intended seduction technique gone awry.
2. Alternate the following techniques. All of them will work fine through a shirt, but if you are massaging someone with whom you are intimate, you can have them remove their shirt and use a massage oil.
a) Begin by pressing the heels of your hands in on either side of the spine and slowly and firmly running them up the top of the back. When you get to the shoulders, turn your wrists so your fingers are pointed toward the armpits, and slowly work your way back down.
b) Press your thumbs into the back on the inside of the shoulder blades, and working them in small circles, work your way along the spine up onto the muscles in the neck.
c) In places where there is a lot of flesh (like the shoulders and lower neck), firmly grasp the muscle between your fingers and your thumb and (without pinching!) knead the muscle. Don't be afraid to work the muscle deeply, but make sure the recipient is comfortable.
d) Press your fingertips into the flesh at the top of the back (just the tips, not the fingernails- remember, this isn't that kind of massage), and pull down, raking your fingertips down on either side of the spine, stretching the muscles.
Here are some tips:
- Once you begin the backrub, keep at least one hand on the recipient at all times- it will keep them comfortable with your touch.
- Be aware of the recipient's ticklish spots, and stay away from them. Otherwise, you'll leave them more tense then when you started.
- If your hands are easily tired, or the thought of massaging someone with your actual hands creeps you out, buy one of these little massagers, from Koziol. They feel almost as good as the real thing (and much better than nothing!) $17, from Verbena.net
photo credit: borrowed from getty images.
6 hours ago