Massage Tips for Couples and Friends

Massage Tips for Couples and Friends Who Want to Exchange Better Massage Sessions
By Chrystos Minot 4-24-12

Often my clients will ask me for advice about giving massages to their spouse or partner. I thought I’d share some tips that I have shared with them over the decades. Here are three things to keep in mind;

  1.  Usually women and smaller people have trouble supplying enough pressure. This can be achieved by using your weight. What this means is not “muscling it” with your arm strength, but positioning your center of gravity over your partner. Your arms are more straight. Your partner is below you, perhaps on a mat, cushion or a futon. Imagine massaging with your belly button moving, such that your center (of gravity) is moving with the massage strokes. Imagine slowly kneading bread, or cutting soft cheese, or mixing a quick-bread batter. Feel free to carefully use your knuckles, on soft tissue only, to transmit more pressure with your weight. With practice you will be able to supply really deep, slow pressure your recipient enjoys!
  2. Usually men, and larger people, are asked to be more gentle and sensitive in their massage. This can be achieved by checking in frequently with your partner. You need to go slow. If you start very gently, and then ramp up the pressure incrementally, while verbally checking in often, you engender a feeling of safety and trust in your recipient, which is important. Try to avoid small talk, or “pragmatic talk” (e.g., “Did you remember to fill the tank?” or “Have you seen that movie yet?” etc) because this changes the mind’s focus from the present experience, to elsewhere. Imagine slowly squeezing out a sponge, keeping the pressure slow and even, even on the release of the pressure (lightening it). This is a very common mistake I see, even with professional therapists with years of experience: The release of pressure, if it’s rapid, can pull the recipient up out of a relaxing state. It can be “intrusive” – even though the pressure is “retreating”. Keep practicing and you will find your massage skills, (and your receiver’s appreciation) increasing each week. It really is wonderfully rewarding!
  3. Here are some tips about creating a massage environment that is conducive to relaxation:
  4.  a) Temperature – check with the recipient, but usually rooms are too chilly. Try to keep the rooms between 74 and 80 F. We go to Costa Rica to  relax and unwind, not to Iceland.
    b) No interruptions. This is important. Turn off the phone. Make sure the kiddo is looked after, really asleep, or on a playdate. Even small distractions can  break the relaxing mood, like a buzzing housefly in an intimate house concert.
    c)  Try creating an austere visual environment (or have the session out of the house) — less visual distractions. It’s no fun being visually reminded that say the

    house needs cleaning, when the whole idea is to create a psychic oasis


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