Men have larger muscles than women by sheer genetics, so giving your man a deep, relaxing back rub is a particularly loving gesture. Maybe you want to trade back rubs for chores or just want to help your guy relax after a long, hard day. Regardless of your motivation for giving him a back rub, he will appreciate your touch, and if you do not put him into a deeply relaxed slumber, maybe he will repay the favor.
Set the mood. While men might not care as much about flower petals and scented candles, setting up a quiet, calming space for his massage will allow him to relax better. Dim the lights or turn them off and light a few candles (unscented, eucalyptus or lavender for a calming aromatherapy effect) and play relaxing music or ambient noise. Turn up the thermostat to about 76 degrees so the room is warm during the massage and your man isn't cold with his shirt off.
Ask your partner to undress or remove just his shirt and lie on his stomach.
Rub lotion or massage oil between your hands. Any lotion you have in the house will do if you do not have one that is massage-specific. You just might need to use more of it since massage lotions tend to have a little more slip to them and absorb more slowly than lotions made only to moisturize skin.
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Rub your hands up and down your man’s back, distributing the massage cream or oil. Run your flattened hands up from his lower back along either side of the spine up to his neck. Return to the lower back by pulling your hands down the sides of his back, making long ovals. Repeat with slowly increasing pressure five or six times adjusting the size of the ovals as needed to cover the entire back and distribute lotion or oil evenly.
Curl your fingertips in toward your palms and massage using your knuckles in what is called a “bear claw.” Massage his lower back with your hands in bear claws, being careful not to massage over the spine. Spend a few minutes massaging his lower back with bear claws, concentrating on areas that cause him to grunt and groan.
Roll your bear claws up to his shoulders and massage the mid-trapezius muscles (the big muscle between the neck and shoulders) using the same kneading motion with your knuckles as you did on the lower back. Your knuckles have the ability to apply a deeper, more even pressure than your fingertips. Do not be afraid of applying too much pressure – men prefer deep-tissue massage to one that feels more like a tickle. He will tell you to lighten up if the pressure becomes too much.
Massage the lower trapezius (the area between his shoulder blades and his spine) with your knuckles and thumbs. Thumbs are stronger than the other fingers and can apply more pressure, making them perfect for getting into smaller areas. You can start with bear claws or go straight in with your thumbs. Use the pad of your thumb to apply pressure while curling the other fingers into a fist so they are out of the way. You can rest your fists against his back and move only your thumbs to target specific points. For additional pressure, lift up onto your knees while massaging and use the weight of your upper body to add weight behind your hands.
Knead and pinch up his neck to the base of his scalp using the knuckles of the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand. Either use two hands and gently rub up either side of his cervical spine with the pads of your fingers or use one hand with your thumb on one side of the spine and the middle knuckle of your forefinger on the other side and press into his neck muscles using small circular motions. While you are straddling his spine with your hand in this movement, you are not putting pressure directly on the spine itself. People carry a lot of tension in their necks, and your man is probably no different. If your gentleman had a particularly stressful day, concentrate here for a while.
Use the heels of your hands to massage up and down either side of his spine. With your palms facing down and your hands parallel to his spine, fingers toward the head, press down and rotate your fingers away from his spine keeping the heel of your hand rotating on an axis with each compression.
Revisit any areas where you noticed any knots or any places he seemed particularly in need of massaging. Loose, relaxed muscles will feel pliable and will move under your fingers. Knots are harder and your fingers might jump over them when you rub. If you notice your fingers hitting hard spots in the middle of muscles, you likely have found a knot. Use your fingertips and pads of your thumbs to press into knots with steadily increasing pressure until your man tells you to stop or until you can feel the knot breaking up or disappearing.
Revisit the oval movement you performed earlier on his back, this time with diminishing pressure with each set of ovals.
Drum your fingers on his back while moving your hands in small circles, starting up near his shoulders and working down to his lower back. This tapping massage, called tapotement, is relaxing but also helps to bring people back from their deep state of relaxation and ready them for the end of the massage.
Never massage directly on top of the spine.
- "Massage Basics"; Davide Sechi; 1997
- "Massage for Dummies"; Steve Capellini, Michel Van Welden; 2010
- "Milady's Standard Esthetics"; Joel Gerson; 2008
Based in Austin, Texas, Carrie Burns has been writing professionally since 2004, primarily ghostwriting corporate white papers and reviewing local theater productions. She has also spent time devising new works with cutting-edge theater ensembles. Burns holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.