When giving a massage to a friend or lover, remember to do no harm. Apply gentle pressure and ask for feedback as you try to visualize the muscle and bone structure beneath the massage area. Use your whole body and avoid overexertion as you focus on your partner.
Depending on whether you give a friendly or sensual massage, it's best to try and become one with the other person. Let your mind go as you feel the skin and muscle react to your manipulation. Listen carefully to the sounds your partner makes to determine if they are sounds of pleasure or pain. If in doubt, ask them for feedback.
Use baby oil or some other type of lubricant to reduce the friction of your hands on the body. Raking is a good way to begin. Spread your fingers out along the back and slowly pull down, avoiding contact with the spine. Now that your hands are at the base of the spine, work your hands and arms up and out over the shoulders, slowly pushing your thumbs along the spine. Start slowly and let your creative genes flow as long as you don't receive an opposition. Just remember to start lightly and apply more pressure until you get an indication to tone it down a bit.