May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and one of the best ways to care for your partner’s mental health is to give them a good massage. In fact, the American Massage Therapy Association strongly recommends the benefits of massage to positively affect mental health by reducing stress. Of course, treating your partner to a wonderfully romantic and sensual massage will enhance both of your mental health statuses, along with just feeling really good!
Create the atmosphere:
There are many components to giving a great sensual massage, starting with setting the mood for a relaxed, amorous evening. So, yes, take the time to set the stage for comfort and relaxation. Place candles to surround your partner with glowing lights in a darkened or dimly lit room. Select serene, easy listening music – whether jazz, classical, folk, a favorite soft rock album but not too rowdy – whatever the person receiving the massage would most enjoy. Make sure the room is set at a comfortable temperature.
You want to create a setting that enables the massage recipient to fully immerse themselves in the experience, as if they were floating on a cloud with not a worry in the world.
Discuss their desires:
Start slowly. Give your partner the time to relax; to feel good and comfortable enough to place themselves entirely into your loving hands.
Next, before you get into the sensual part, you should focus on giving your partner an enjoyable massage. For Angie Gardner, a Licensed Massage Therapist at Quintana’s Barber & Dream Space in Cleveland, Ohio, that starts with clear communication. Before you ever get serious about employing your hands to touch, knead, rub and lightly caress your partner’s body, ask them what would feel good to them.
“When people ask me if I could help them give their partner a really good massage, the number one thing I tell them is just talk with your partner and ask what you can help them with,” she says. “Are there any areas you would like me to massage? Is this bothering you right there? How is this pressure?”
Pressure is an important point, she emphasizes: “A lot of times the complaint I get from people when they’re talking about their spouse giving them a massage is they either use too much pressure, they don’t give enough pressure, or they don’t do it for long enough. So just check in with the person to make sure the pressure is comfortable and feels good.”
Get comfy so you can go the distance:
Another important component of an effective massage is body mechanics, Gardner advises. In other words, you need to place yourself in the best and most comfortable position for you to give a good massage.
“People tell me, ‘You know, I can’t give a massage for more than two minutes,’ Gardner reveals. “That’s because they are not getting over the body properly. If I were sitting right behind someone and just squeezing their shoulders, that’s exhausting for me, and I’m not going to be able to do that. I give massages all day for 12 hours a day, but I get tired siting behind someone and giving them a shoulder rub.”
Instead, the partner giving the massage needs to be above their loved one, Gardner advises, so that you can use your body properly and you are able to do it for a longer period of time. “Two minutes just isn’t really a sufficient amount of time to give a loved one a massage,” she says with a laugh.
Assuming that most couples don’t have a massage table in their home, the massager should ideally stand at their partner’s side of the bed for the best and most ergonomically comfortable position to give a massage.
“You do not want to straddle them with your body because that’s uncomfortable,” Gardner guides. “That puts the body into an awkward position when you have someone sitting on your bones, so it’s important that you are on one side of the body or the other and massaging from above. If someone is lying flat on their stomach, you want to come at them from their side so that you are leaning over them.” Save the straddling for when the massage is over and you’re ready to move on to something friskier!
A few additional tips from Gardner:
- Use the palms of your hands. because that is more a useful tool than your fingertips because you can actually massage those broad areas with the palm of your hands. The little tips don’t always feel good on large areas like the back. It feels better with the palm of your hand.
- Also, people will be ticklish on their back and on their feet if you are using your fingertips. Being ticklish is a sign of tension. So, if you are ticklish somewhere, it means you are holding a lot of tension in that area, and touching with your fingertips will make them tense up. Use your fingertips only where they should be used, like around the spine and on the palms of their hands.
- My go-to massage oil is coconut oil. It absorbs into the skin, and it‘s really good for your body. It’s a moisturizer and an antibacterial, too, so it’s an extra benefit of massage to get coconut oil on your skin. Just heat it up in your hands. It melts really fast. If people are going to use it in the bedroom to apply it sensually, you can put it anywhere on the body, and it’s edible.
- For a full body massage, start at the head and then work down the body so that you can end with the feet. Be considerate when moving all over someone’s body; the feet are usually the last thing that you should get to.
Lastly, start into the sensual portion of the massage with light strokes on the person’s chest, shoulders and back. Take at least ten to fifteen minutes to mindfully massage your significant other’s entire body. Then it’s finally time to begin to proceed to the erogenous zones and try all of your lover’s favorite things. Relax them, get them feeling crazy good, and then start with the sexier parts and see how the evening proceeds!
The most important recommendation? TAKE TURNS!