Back Strokes – Circle Stroking

This is a wonderful linking movement. It is a circular, flowing action that can be done in either direction on the back. It’s a great move for spreading more oil over the back, and to help make the massage feel continuous and flowing.

Place both hands on the right-hand side of your partner’s back, one hand slightly higher than the other. Slide the top hand down the side in a large curve, and at the same time slide your lower hand up to the spine.

Continue stroking around in these wide curves. Imagine a circle on the back, and stroke around it in a clockwise direction, one hand following the other. Always work up and away from the spine.

Lift your left hand over your right arm while your right hand continues stroking in a circular motion. Your right hand does a complete circle but your left hand does only a half circle.

Complete the circle with your right hand and place your left hand down gently. Work up the back on this side, then slide your hands down and work on the left-hand side. This time you are working counterclockwise since you are stroking away from the spine, with your left hand doing the complete circle, and your right hand working just a half circle. This continuous, flowing stroke can induce a dreamlike state in some people.

Circle thumb stroking

This is similar to circle stroking, but the movement is concentrated in much smaller circles. These are very useful on either side of the spine and medically as the scapula all around the scapula.

Start with both thumbs on one side of the spine and stroke around in a circle.

One thumb follows the other as you stroke up and out, pushing the muscle away from the spine. The movement is precise, working about 1 inch (3 cm) from the spine.

Lift one thumb over the other hand and continue circling. As in circle stroking, one thumb makes a complete circle, and the other just does a half circle.

Additional moves

You can then relax the small muscles on either side of your partner’s spine with a series of firm pressures. Start on the lower back with your thumbs on either side of the spine. Lean your weight onto the pads of your thumbs, keeping your elbows straight – you need to apply a relaxed pressure, not a sharp poke. Press firmly, then release, and repeat a little further up the back. Do extra work on the shoulders and the base of the neck as these are the areas where most tension is stored. Then glide back to the base of the spine, and start again. Vary the movement by making small, penetrating circles over these muscles.

Continue with some finger drumming. Although this movement can be tiring to give – since you cannot use your full body. weight, just the strength of your hands – it is very useful for relieving tension pressure in the shoulder muscles. Drum your fingers down individually, pressing heavily on the muscle. Keep your hands close together and, if you’re like me, and one of your hands is stronger than the other, cross your thumbs to equalize the pressure. This heavy drumming movement brings blood to the area and helps to ease pain.