Most people hold much of their tension in their back, neck and shoulders. Back pain is one of the most common forms of chronic pain suffered by people today. Massage therapy can help relieve the pain and stress in the back. Once that pain and stress is eliminated, you’ll feel much better and more relaxed.

Massage helps loosen tightened muscles relieving muscle tension. It helps break up adhesions in muscle fibers and helps relax knots. It pushes wastes out of the tissue and helps move nutrients into it.

Besides the effect massage can have on your muscles, it can also help decrease stress hormones and increase your body’s production of feel-good hormones like dopamine. It slows your heart rate and decreases blood pressure. It helps calm the nervous system and relaxes the mind.

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You can use lotion or an all natural oil to give the therapy. Almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are all good choices. You can also use olive oil. Natural oils will nourish the skin and won’t clog pores.

When you give a back massage make sure you’re relaxed during the therapy. The person you’re working on will be able to feel any tension you have in your hands.

During the therapy don’t work over the spine. Doing so could cause pain and injury to the spinal area.

Always communicate with the person you’re working on to make sure you are using pressure that is appropriate for them.

Let’s look at two basic massage techniques you can use the next time someone you know complains of an aching back.

Effleurage is the foundation stroke for many massages. This long, gliding stroke can be done with your open hand. It is used to spread lotion or oil and warm up muscle tissue. Starting from the low back simply place your open relaxed hands on either side of the spine and glide them upward toward the shoulders. This stroke is slow and gentle. Repeat this stroke several times during the beginning of the massage to cover all areas of the back. As you use this stroke notice the areas of the back that feel tighter than others. During the massage return to effleurage between other strokes.

Petrissage is a kneading stroke that is used to increase the blood flow deep within the belly of the muscle. It’s done with alternating hands. Just find an area on the back that feels particularly tight to you. Start with both hands flat on the area you want to work on with the thumbs and index fingers touching each other to form a triangle. Start with the right hand and grasp and lift the flesh. As the right hand releases perform the same action with the left hand. Repeat this action several times to loosen the muscle.

Armed with these two basic strokes you can give a great back massage.

If you want to find out more about how to give a great back massage go to You can learn many massage therapy techniques and find out a lot more information about massage and how it can help you achieve health.

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