Whether you want to help others get rid of stress during midterms or practice the art of seduction on that cutie in your entryway, a relaxing massage is the means to your end. Pull out your scented candles and spread the feeling of leisure with some simple backrub techniques learned from the professionals in StressBusters, a student-group that aims to relieve stress through the art of massage. FM attended one of their workshops and picked up some tips.
1. People like to be touched—it’s human nature. To begin the massage, lay your hands on the shoulders of the person for a few seconds to set the mood.
2. After hunching over a laptop for hours a day, we all feel stress in our backs or necks. Rub your thumbs in circular motion along the person’s back or shoulders. Focus on the sides of the spine, but don’t massage directly on the vertebrae.
3. To create the feeling of cutting away stress, slide the outsides of your hands along the person’s shoulders or up and down the back in a slicing motion.
4. After writing that 10-page paper and asking yourself, “Why did I take this class?” this massage technique will ease your mind, as well as help you get rid of the typing-induced soreness. While holding up the person’s wrist, use your thumb to massage his or her forearm.
5. Hands feeling sore from late night texts or too much Angry Birds? To relieve stress, use your thumb to massage the person’s hands, working your way around the palm.
6. The neck region is the area that tenses up most from stress. Rest one hand on the nape and use your other hand to support the forehead, so the neck can be completely relaxed. Gently massage the neck from the base of the skull down to the upper back using circular motions. Don’t massage too roughly or there could be a choking risk.
7. Finish the massage by gently brushing off the person’s shoulders, back, and arms. You don’t want to abruptly end a massage, so dusting is the perfect subtle finish.
A few warnings: Don’t massage directly on someone’s bones or spine. If you are massaging someone ticklish, don’t get too close to her sides, or you risk a case of hysterics. If someone says, “Don’t touch me there, those are my no no squares,” listen.