My boyfriend constantly asks me to give him massages. I do it, but to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m doing it the right way. Sure it’s enjoyable for him (why else would he keep on asking?), but I bet I could do a better job. And maybe teach him a thing or two when it’s his turn to give me a rubdown. I turned to the experts to uncover the essential ingredients to a good massage.
Couples, if you don’t already do this, massages are such a good thing for a relationship. It’s another great way to bond with your significant other. “A couples massage is a wonderful gift to share with each other. Not only will it strengthen the bond between a couple, it can reduce stress for both the giver and the recipient,” says Aubrey Rogers, owner of the City Magnolia Day Spa in Frederick, MD.
As for what to do in order to give an effective (and sensual) massage, read on…
Set the Mood
Setting the mood helps you get intimate and the same can be said of massages. “The basics for a good professional massage include dimming the lights, relaxing music, essential oils for aromatherapy, a heated table and a soothing vocal tone (from who’s doing the massage),” says Aubrey Rogers, owner of the City Magnolia Day Spa in Frederick, MD.
Use Relaxing Strokes
When you’re giving someone a therapeutic massage, be sure to use slow, relaxing strokes. “It’s important to maintain contact when giving a massage. A break in contact equals a break in relaxation,” explains Rogers. “All massage movements should move in the direction of the heart, increasing the circulation of the blood.”
Don’t Forget the Oil
For a good basic massage oil is a must! Vance suggests to use massage oil — not body lotion when giving a massage to your partner. Massage oil is designed to stay on the skin longer and provide a better glide along the body, says Robert Vance, spa director at the Sanctuary On Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, AZ.. Consider grape seed or jojoba oil. You’ll find these at Whole Foods or any organic market.
“Aromatherapy oils can also be used, however as these oils penetrate directly into the blood stream, caution should be taken when using pure essential oils,” Rogers points out. “Lavender and peppermint essential oils are good all-purpose oils that most people can tolerate. However, as with anything, if someone is pregnant or has any major medical concerns a doctor should be consulted before application.”
A great massage is what everyone should strive for, not just a good one. What is necessary for a great massage are the same things that are required for a great relationship, says Vance. Communication and chemistry are both important. Talk to your partner (calmly and in a limited fashion, of course). Ask if the pressure is good, where he or she would like you to focus on, and what feels best. The communication will not only make the massage feel great, but will strengthen your bond.
Take Your Time
Every massage can be a sensual experience in that it stimulates all of your senses simultaneously, according to Vance. The most important thing to remember is to take your time and enjoy the experience. “A massage between couples should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Don’t try to do therapeutic work because deep tissue work is best left to a massage therapist,” he says. “If you are inflicting pain or discomfort it will completely break the mood, so just focus on long, smooth strokes and read your partner and how they are reacting to the massage.”