Here's a few tips I've learned in my experiences with both sensual and platonic massages. First of all this should be with the intent in relaxing, pleasing or pleasuring the recipient. Much of this information applies to massage in general, not being specific to the back so be creative try giving an incredible foot massage sometime. Although you may enjoy or find as much pleasure as they do keep in mind that this is for their benefit not yours. You are giving them a precious gift, human touch in a very personal, intimate way. Massage engenders trust or distrust all depending on the intent. During such intimate contact both parties should be able to sense what the other is feeling through their reactions, and body language. As the masseuse (or masseur if you happen to be a man willing to learn the finer points of massage by reading this), you are in control, act like it. What I propose is that you not be afraid to use those muscles, to tell your victim to calm down and relax if they tense up, keep focused on your mission, and in some situations to be willing to use as much of your body and strength or stamina to achieve your goal.

Still with me? Good. Here's a list of items you are going to need or want for a really great back rub.

1. location location location

Choose a quiet, secluded room with a bed is the most comfortable and obvious choice but there are some nice variations. The living room floor with lots of throw pillows handy can be even more relaxing... You get the idea, I'm guessing.

2. the laundry

This includes but is not limited to at least one firm pillow, two sheets (I highly recommend a plastic sheet too if you plan on making a night of it ;), two or three hand towels and possibly a blanket. Be sure all of these items are ones you don't mind getting oily or greasy as it's very likely they will.

3. lotions and potions

I suggest you have at least one oil, lotion and powder for the intended to choose from. These are very important in the massage process so be thoughtful and creative on what you choose to use. The oil which is the best tool in your arsenal for a great massage should only have a very light scent if any, vanilla is a superb choice imho. Almond oil has an almost perfect viscosity for a massage and has the added bonus that it absorbs nicely into the skin leaving it feeling supple. Mineral oil also works but not as well as it tends to leave the skin feeling greasy and gritty...but then that means a shower so that's a judgement call. The lotion should be alcohol free as these are designed to dry quickly, making you have to apply often. They also tend to build up leaving a nasty film on the skin. A few suggestions are Lubriderm or Keri. The powder will probably have to be a talcum type. Go easy when applying the powder, you don't want to instigate a sneezing fit. One last potion that's a good idea to have a round is a spray bottle that has a mixture of alcohol and water in it. This is nice to use after the massage to help clean off the other lotions and such. Although not entirely effective it works in a pinch when there's not a shower handy.

4. mood enhancers

These are highly subjective so again use good discretion, don't spoil the night with too much distraction. Less is more or at least the subtle appearance of it is what you're shooting for in this environment. Soft music is a nice touch, nothing too bold or erratic / erotic. The lighting is important, it's hard to relax when you have a blinding white light that can't be ignored. Candles are simple yet highly effective solution for soothing lighting. Turn off the phone, television and most importantly the computer. No distractions, remember?

It is best that you have everything just the way you need it BEFORE you begin. Once you have initiated contact it's best you keep some form of continual contact with their body through out the entire massage if possible. When and if you do break contact it should only be for a moment or two as the loss and gaining of your touch can be distracting. So have all your tools of therapy within arms reach. The potions and lotions should be warmed as this is comforting, nothing like starting a massage with your victim jumping up and exclaiming BRRRR! that's cold! to get on a bad start. As you might have ascertained by now clothing is a bad idea so both of you should have on as little as you can feel comfortable in, i.e. underwear if nudity is out of the question.

So now you have the setting, the mood, and the tools of the trade all you need now is your time and body. Have the massaged lie down with the pillow beneath their torso this elevates their body making it easier on the neck and head to slightly bend forward. This is fairly relaxing for most people because it allows for easy breathing and relaxing without having to turn the head one way or the other throughout the massage. If this doesn't work leave it to them to decide what will. If their cold or uncomfortable being nude or semi nude this is where the second sheet and blanket might be needed.

You want to be sure to keep communication going between the two of you this is vital in achieving maximum effectiveness. This does not mean constant chatter but rather asking about their comfort, what feels good what doesn't, and sometimes it means whispering calming notions in their ear. Vocalize what your going to do when making sudden movements, like when you are about to apply the lubricant of choice. Always pour into your own hands first and rub vigorously to insure the warmth of it, also this makes it easier for you control exactly where it goes. Start with a generous amount in hopes you will not have to reapply quickly. Your position should be comfortable you are going to be here awhile so make it easier on yourself. My personal favorite s the straddle because it gives symmetry and the best vantage for a powerful manipulation (of the muscle tissue! get yer mind out of the gutter..hehe).

When manipulating muscle tissue here is the NUMBER ONE thing you want to always keep in mind. Upwards and outwards! Most every muscle group is designed in such a manner that for the best results you want to be pushing in a circular motion upwards and outwards from the center. Second thing to remember is whenever going over the spine itself, or anywhere there is cartilage is go EASY. the muscles and tissue in these areas are easily damaged, bruised etc. Another major no no is to try and play chiropractor, the obvious reason for this is you could make matters worse, another is adjustments generally cause muscle tension, strain. Having said that, don't be shocked or too terribly worried if their back does adjust, this is the body reacting naturally in response to the tension release, a sort of self correction feature.

With a gentle but firm enough not to be ticklish touch you want to spread the lubricant around the entire area you will be massaging. Ensure that there is plenty of it to go around and that every area is soothingly stimulated. Now you can begin in slow rhythmic circular motions from the base of the spine working your way along the sides of it all the way up over and on top of the shoulders . Use pressure on the upwards and outwards motions and a lighter more fluid motion as your hands move inwards and down. Work your way from the spine outward to the sides. You might take the time to do each side individually especially if you are finding knots. Knots are muscle tissue that gets stuck in a tense or restricted position. They generally require deep muscle massage.

There are several ways of achieving this type of pressure point release. One is to simply press deeply on the point itself for several seconds until it releases. You can use your thumb if it's strong enough to keep up that kind of pressure, elbows and knees are especially good for larger areas. Another is to use percussion to work the kinks out. Did you ever want to be a drummer ? Well here's you chance either way. The trick to this technique is keeping the pressure of your blows consistent. My personal favorite however is the leg massage. This involves using as many of the leg surfaces as needed to get the job done from the thighs down to even using the foot. Not only is this a great workout for you, highly sensual and erotic, it's also extremely effective. Be sure to use heavy oil for this one folks, it's a slippery job but with the power of your legs you can focus on those nasty knots that have been building up for years. Go easy around the neck and watch your spinal pressure with this one.

All the major kinks and stiffness should be gone at this point or at the least if the subject is really suffering from a bad back the muscles are in need of cool down rub. This is a nice time to focus on the neck. Be gentle! The neck for many is highly sensitive and generally very sore. Small circular motions, remember this as you caressingly rub their tensions away. Fingertips are all that are required from the neck up. If you find knots, very short pressure bursts and a lot of slow rhythmic rubbing. Don't try and work it all out the first time if their in bad shape, you can easily give the recipient a headache if you over do it. After tackling the neck and possibly a scalp massage, now you want to return to the original gentle soothing strokes that encompass the entire back. Some vertical strokes perhaps with the forearms is a nice touch.

At this point they should be relaxed, calm, and might even be asleep which is the ultimate testament of your skills in massage. Now ya want to clean off the oil, first wipe off the entire area gently with one of the hand towels. Next spray the water mixture into your hands and warm it before applying, Wipe with a new towel and repeat until their satisfied. What you do from here is all a matter I'll leave to you, your imagination, and partner to figure out.