Done correctly, a back rub can alleviate stress and induce tranquility and relaxation. Different strokes such as palm circles, knuckling and muscle lifting are used in this massage, which may also involve the use of various types of massage oil.
Back Massages – Basic Preparation
A pillow or cushion should be placed on the area of the massage table where the patient’s chest will be. The whole table should then be covered with a sheet to catch excess massage oil. Back massages work best when delivered on bare skin, so the patient should loosen or remove top clothing before lying down on the table. They can also be offered towels to wrap around their chest. The patient should position himself or herself face down, making sure that the pillow is underneath the breast bone. To keep the neck straight, a folded towel may be placed under the client’s forehead. The lower back can also be given additional support by placing another folded towel beneath the client’s ankles. In some cases, the table for back massages is contoured to eliminate the need for these accessories. Normally, an extra towel or blanket is used to cover the areas of the body that will not yet undergo the massage.
Back Massage Techniques – Varieties
Effleurage, or smooth rhythmic stroking, can be done using the whole hand. This is one of the back massage techniques in which the stroke is done firmly upwards starting at the lower back and ending at the neck. Gentle pressure is then applied in a circular fashion as both hands come back to the lower back area. This is done for five to ten minutes. Another method is to use the heel of the hand, which results in deeper pressure. Beginning at the lower back, both hands should massage the area in a circular motion outward, upward and back to the center. This should only take five minutes. Other back massage techniques involve reinforced fingers, stripping using the thumb, frictions, and effleurage using forearms.
Back Massagers – Equipment
The Thumper Mini Pro 2 electronic back massager uses a unique percussive thumper action that gives users the option to deliver 20, 30 or 40 thumps per second. This product is one of the portable and lightweight back massagers on the market, designed to relax sore muscles. In contrast to the Thumper, the Jeanie Rub Massager employs an oscillating technique that has been found to eliminate deep-seated muscle pains. Recommended for use on bony surfaces and sensitive regions of the body, the Jeanie Rub Massager also claims to improve blood circulation. Homedics’ Quad-Roller Massaging Cushion has heat capabilities and works like a shiatsu massage. It can be used with a remote control and has six settings that users can choose from.