While dinner with a movie and roses are all nice tokens to show appreciation for your significant other, one of the best gifts for giving and receiving true love and affection is the simple act of massaging one another. The intimate bond and connection that massage can bring to your relationship will be something you cherish throughout your life.
“Focusing on the other person is what really makes the connection for a great massage,” says Jana Schafer, an Elements massage therapist. “Whether you’re an amateur at home working with your spouse or you’re a licensed professional, focus is what’s important. When you are massaging your spouse, you are telling them that they are your center for right now, they are your focus. It’s all about creating that little bubble of intimacy between two people.”
Make this Valentine’s Day a turning point in your relationship by bringing daily massage into your household. The following three tips can help you get started on giving and receiving great massages with your significant other.
Set the Mood with a Mellow Atmosphere
While in-home massage shouldn’t replace regular massage therapy sessions with a professional, introducing massage between you and your significant other can drastically enhance the mood of your household by reducing stress levels and fostering a more relaxed atmosphere. Whether you’re most comfortable on the couch in the living room or hanging out in your bedroom, you can set the mood for a calm and enjoyable massage by turning off the television, lowering the lights, lighting scented candles and turning on some soothing music. Just pick a favorite place in the house and dedicate this downtime to showing each other that you love and care for one another.
“A massage is a great way to say I love you and I’m going to take care of you,” explains Ana Gomez-Richburg, an Elements massage therapist. “Since my husband and I have started doing massage at home, it has completely changed the mood of the entire household. The stress level in the house has gone from a 10 to a zero this past year and nothing else has changed financially or otherwise.”
Approach the Stroke with Gentleness and Kindness
One of the most common concerns couples have about massaging each other is that they worry about not knowing how to massage properly. Gomez-Richburg advises couples to not get hung up on technique, but rather focusing on giving a massage from your heart that includes positive energy and thoughts for one another.
It also is important to remember that massage is a natural instinct for making people feel good and to relieve pain. If you run into a table and bang your leg, you rub your sore muscle to make it feel better. If you’re feeling stressed out or tired, you rub your neck to help reduce the tension. The same principles hold true when you massage your significant other – keep it simple, keep it natural and keep the focus on making each other feel better both mentally and physically.
“Whatever you do, make it nurturing,” advises Gomez-Richburg. “Feel your passion and give your heart to your spouse when you’re trying to give them some relaxation. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, at least focus on nurturing each other.”
When it comes to giving the proper pressure and technique, Schafer says that massage isn’t necessarily about physical strength. Rather, gentleness of the touch and being aware of how the partner’s body responds are the most important aspects of giving a great massage.
If your partner is relaxing and melting from your touch, then you’re listening to their needs and giving them a massage they enjoy. If they are tensing up or telling you that what you’re doing hurts, then you might be going too hard and applying too much pressure.
Relax, Re-Connect, Repeat
Massage in its own right allows you to deepen the connection between you and your spouse that can get lost on a daily basis as everyone is running around fulfilling professional and family obligations. When you bring massage into your home, you are making a commitment to each other that you’re going to take a step back from the busy world around you and just live in the moment with each other.
“We’re humans and we all need touch,” says Schafer. “Touch is something that as time goes on we lose. We don’t hug our spouses as much. We don’t hold hands as often. Just a few minutes a day of touching and rubbing can help to show the love between two people.”
Make sure to set time aside on a regular basis to relax together and re-connect. In as little as five minutes each day, a wife can help her husband release tension in his back and shoulder area with a gentle loving rub. The husband then can return the favor by massaging his wife’s sore throbbing feet. And, both husband and wife can melt into a state of relaxation by finishing off the massage session with a simple scalp and temple rub.
“The quickest way to a woman’s heart is through their feet,” says Schafer. “Our feet hurt us constantly. A little bit of pampering on the feet and just five minutes of massaging each other can make a world of difference on showing your partner that you care for them, love them and they mean so much to you.”
Turn up your commitment to dedicating time and energy to relaxing and re-connecting with your spouse this Valentine’s Day by incorporating massage into your relationship. The benefits of massage to you, your relationship and your household will have more of a lasting impression on your life than any roses or chocolates ever could.