The spider walking or spider fingers technique is one frequently used during a comprehensive back and neck massage. It tends to enter into the “routine” after the introductory period of effleurage and following any deeper tissue work along the muscles of the spine, neck, and back. This means that the application of massage oils has already been done and no preparatory applications are required for this technique.
The spider walk involves walking both hands, in a spider like movement, along the area of the body being massaged. Only the fingertips are used to put pressure on the area, and it is usually very similar to playing the piano as well. The receiver will be lying on their stomach, with their head positioned on their hands in order to ensure proper alignment. The provider will be to the left or right of the receiver and will be working across their back, which is the reason that the spider walk is often compared to piano playing.
The technique will not play a powerful role in the overall outcome but it is a wonderful way to transition between intense and gentle massage techniques. For example, it would ideally be used after the effleurage process that used light pressure down both sides of the spine, beginning at the base of the skull. Once the masseur or the masseuse has completed a path both down and back up the spine using the thumbs to create frictional strokes they could then put the spider walking technique into use to work their way back down to the lower back before transitioning into a kneading technique of the lower muscles of this region.
Clearly this indicates that it would require only a few minute’s time, but this keeps the contact between the provider and the receiver, and also continually stimulates the muscles in the most crucial areas of the neck and the back.
If at any time the receiver seems to tense up it is important to inquire if any particular movement has caused them discomfort or pain. If this is the case it is going to be vitally important to use a significantly lighter touch for all remaining techniques. The spider walking technique is an excellent remedy for moments when a patient needs to be transitioned into less intense massage.