We asked two massage therapists what their top five tips are for giving your main squeeze a spa-style couples massage at home. Miriam Benatti, licensed massage therapist at Euphoria Spa and Edan Harari of Kinetic Massage Therapy, share the key elements, many of which go hand in hand, in making your special gift of massage a success on Valentine’s Day and beyond!
1. Clear Space, Clear Mind
“Create a peaceful and loving environment,” Miriam says. “Sometimes our homes (especially city flats) are anything but peaceful. Make sure candles and scented oils accent a warm, tidy environment.”
Be mindful and present by taking five minutes or so to clear your mind chatter and to prepare to work on your partner, Edan advises. “Remember, the mind is very powerful, so focusing on providing your partner with relaxation is key to helping them relax, let go and feel good,” he explains.
2. Use Simple Essentials Found in the Home
Be sure you have all the items you’ll need around you to give an uninterrupted massage. Some of Miriam’s suggestions include:
Oil (almond or grapeseed, even that olive oil you have in the kitchen) is preferable to lotion, which tends to absorb too quickly.
Have a towel handy to pick up any spills.
Use a pillow under the ankles and one for neck and face when he/she is prone (face-down) and prop the pillow under the knees when he/she is supine (face-up).
Make sure your fingernails are not too long. And if you just got a perfect manicure, use your knuckles, fists, and forearms. You can still apply the right strokes with almost any part of your hand.
3. Intuitively Indulge the Senses
“Remember that the massage is all about your partner and what they want or need,” Edan says. “Just because you like an elbow in your back doesn’t mean they do. Practice using your intuition to figure out what they like and what their body/muscles need.
If you can’t figure it out while being mindful, then just ask!” On the same note, create an environment to invigorate the senses, Miriam suggests. “Pick out some music you both love,” she says. “Use essential oils; they stimulate the brain’s limbic system, our most animalistic sweet spot of emotional memory.”
Choose your scent:
Sweet orange and neroli will brighten the mood
Ylang ylang and rose will heighten sensuality
Lavender is always a great road to relaxation
“Just a couple drops will do,” Miriam advises. “Why not complete your massage with a champagne toast and favourite dessert?” We love that idea!
4. Pace Yourself
Slow and steady wins the race: “Don’t forget to start slow – loving touch can be very nourishing to the spirit as well as the body,” Miriam says. “Your partner deserves to be nurtured with your full attention. The nervous system loves slow, repetitive movements and constant pressure.” Things to remember:
Apply the oil onto your hands and then his/her body.
Don’t rush; think in three’s — three strokes here…keep your hands on his/her body…three strokes there, and repeat.
Move to the music. Slowly. Edan agrees that you can’t go wrong by keeping things slow and simple. “Use the techniques that you know and do well – the ones that don’t get you tired, and work slower, much slower,” he says. “Hold compressions for longer than you normally would – this allows the muscles with the chance to truly let go. Giving a massage shouldn’t be tiring. Here are some tips on how to massage correctly – and effortlessly.
Use your body (fingers, arms, hands, etc.) and its weight properly (utilising proper body mechanics) so you don’t cause yourself discomfort or pain. If you do find yourself getting tired, adjust your body in a way that will allow you to let go and relax.
Drop your shoulders, lift your head up and make sure to use your body weight when applying the pressure with your hands.
Always lean in from your core/centre, rather than using your arm and finger muscles.
5.Relax & Have Fun
“Remember to let go a bit and have fun,” Edan says. “Use the time to meditate as you let go of your thoughts and allow yourself to be guided by your intuition. Rather than thinking about what to do next, just feel.
Trust yourself and be confident.” “Enjoy the time you’ve set aside to experience each other, and if you end up stumbling the whole way, you can always book a private couples massage therapy lesson, or throw in the towel altogether and let the professionals do the work,” Miriam says. “Either way, there will be an appreciation that you tried. And what could be better than honouring your partner’s whole body, mind and spirit with the gift of your time, respect and love?”
Spafinder’s DIY Chocolate Milk Bath Recipe
If you really want to pamper your loved one, start the night of spa romance at home by drawing a homemade chocolate bath to luxuriate in before the massage.
240ml bubble bath
60g chopped dark chocolate
Bring milk to a simmer, take off the heat and stir in chocolate bits, leave until melted. Let cool and mix the mixture into the bubble bath liquid. Use 100ml of the mixture for each bath. This amount can last about four days.
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