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If you want to know how to give a back massage, you might want to consider several things in advance. First of all, you should identify the specific purpose of the massage, as there may be many causes or reasons for getting a back rub. Some people require a back massage to help with circulatory issues. Others may be interested in pain relief from the reduction of adhesions and trigger points. Some people, on the other hand, need a back massage to remove chronic tensions, reduce stress and/or muscle tightness, and increase relaxation.

Knowing what kind of ailment is bothering a person, will help you determine what type of massage to administer. For instance, if a person wants to relax, you can give a Swedish massage. If an individual wants to reduce chronic tension or knots in muscle fibers and connective tissue, you can administer a deep tissue or trigger point massage, respectively. Nonetheless, below are some ideas on how to give a back massage.

How to Conduct a Back Massage for Pain Relief

The back massage is perhaps one of the most used massages. It has been practiced for many years and utilized to relieve stress, tension, tightness, and pain in the back region. Even now, back pain is still considered one of the most common ailments in nearly all countries and populations around the world. It is also one of the most disruptive forces since it can interfere with our daily life activities including work and leisure. Likewise, the back massage is a recommended treatment and possible remedy for back pain. Here are the steps you can follow to perform one.

Back Massage

Determine Treatment to Administer

Before you begin a back massage, you need to determine which one to use. If a person is looking to just relax and for light pressure, then you can give a Swedish massage. It consists of various strokes that can warm up the muscles to reduce tension and break up adhesions. If an individual wants more pressure on deeper tissue and muscle, then you can give a deep tissue massage. If several adhesions or knots exist, you can apply a trigger point massage with the goal of breaking several of them up. Of course, how deep you go and the amount of pressure you apply will depend on the pain threshold of the person receiving the massage.


The first step you have to go through in how to give a back massage is preparation. This means preparing the venue and ensuring there is a comfy bed, mattress, or massage table available. The room should be comfortably warm with clean towels; a bowl of warm, clean water; massage lotion, oil or creams; soothing music; and so on. You should also have a pillow or two that can be placed (if required) under the individual’s lower leg and/or abdomen region.

Initial Steps

Now to conduct the massage, ask the person to lie face down on the bed and in a comfortable position. Place a towel next to each side of the torso so that the bed does not end up getting wet. Once this is done, uncover the back of the person and be sure to keep the other parts covered to allow for better overall body warmth. Then begin to rub the massage lubricant over the back and other areas of the body you are going to work on. This will warm up the muscles and help you identify problem areas.

Back Massage


Once the muscles are warm, use your hands to massage slowly and firmly from around the base of the spine towards the shoulders and neck. Try raising the pressure when going upward and lowering it when going downward. Also, pay attention to the person’s reactions so you know if you hit a sensitive spot or are applying too much pressure. For instance, you can spread your fingers and move your fingertips from the shoulder area to the lower back; or from the lower back up to the base of the skull. You could also use your hands to apply circular motions from the lower back to the shoulders. For adhesions and trigger points, you could use your fingers, elbows, and palms to apply pressure to these areas in the back and shoulders. You could also lightly grab these knots (if feasible) with your thumbs and fingers with the goal of flattening them.

When planning how to give a back massage, you could receive training by watching DVDs or videos on YouTube. You could also find a good masseuse who is willing to show you a few tricks of the trade via a live demonstration. Finally, learning how to give a back massage will come from training and experience.

Objects to Use

Determining if you are going to use your hands, feet, elbows, and/or another object during the massage will depend on a few factors. These include the type of massage and the amount of pressure to apply. For trigger point and/or deep tissue massage, it is common practice to use your fingers, palms, elbows, and/or feet to apply pressure to adhesions. The key is to start at each trigger point and work your way around and over it in soothing, circular motions that deepen over time. Pay attention to the person’s reactions as you do this to determine the problem areas and the ideal amount of pressure. For Swedish massage, you will more than likely use your hands for this massage since you do not have to apply too much pressure. You will use your hands to provide different strokes called vibration, friction, tapotement, effleurage, and petrissage. Feel free to watch this video for more details.

The recommended massage type will depend on a person’s condition and situation. Nonetheless, a back massage can reduce muscle tightness and knots and increase performance and flexibility.

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