When was the last time you gave your partner a massage? Or have you ever given them one? Not only do massages have incredible benefits for the body, but they’re also a beautiful way to build closeness and intimacy.
Instead of a tacky valentines gift that will end up in the bin come 15th February, why not treat your partner to a massage?
Taking the time to treat your partner to a massage shows them how important they are. It can help set the mood for relaxation and sleep, or it can set the tone for great sex - where both partners feel relaxed, present, and connected, your sexual experience can reach heights you never thought possible.
But giving a massage can feel awkward if you have no idea what to do, or if you feel self-conscious or worried about hurting your partner. So here is our step-by-step guide for giving the perfect massage.
Benefits of Giving Your Partner a Massage
In case you need convincing, here are the incredible benefits of massage and why it makes the perfect gift for your partner this valentine's day.
Massages Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety is rife in our society, and one reason is that our body’s have not yet caught up with our social evolution. For example, yur body’s fight or flight response evolved at a time when we had to run away from lions and fight for survival. Nowadays, the same bodily response is activated by daily stressors such as too many emails or fussy children.
These daily stressors stay around for a lot longer than a lion, and as a result, our fight or flight response can be activated for prolonged periods of time and can cause debilitating stress and anxiety.
Massage actually calms your nervous system and decreases levels of hormones associated with the fight or flight response, such as cortisol. Not only this, but massage can even increase hormones associated with pleasure, such as dopamine and serotonin.
In one study, massage decreased cortisol levels by an average of 31%, dopamine was increased by 28%, and serotonin was increased by 31%. (1)
Massages Help to Fight Fatigue
We all live busy lives - work, family commitments, hobbies, social events - it can feel like a never-ending battle against fatigue. Fatigue might even prevent you from treating your partner to a massage. However, massages can actually help relieve fatigue.
In a 2018 study, breast cancer survivors who received a weekly massage experienced a reduction in their fatigue, which can be debilitating for breast cancer survivors. (2)
Both the giver and the receiver in partner massages can share these benefits. Simply taking the time to slow down, relax together, and share physical touch can be incredibly restorative.
They Aid with Sleep
Massage calms the nervous system and reduces hormones such as cortisol, which could otherwise keep us awake and alert. Therefore, massages can help people to fall asleep and can even promote a better quality of sleep.
If your partner keeps you up at night fidgeting, then giving them a massage might also provide you with a better night’s sleep! Furthermore, when you give your partner a massage, you’re also giving your own nervous system time to relax.
Now that we have convinced you of the benefits of massage and why it makes the perfect Valentine gift for your partner, here is a step-by-step guide.
Step one: Set The Space
Setting the mood for relaxation isn’t just about having great massage techniques. In fact, your setup could be the most important thing.
- You probably don’t have a massage table, but for an intimate massage between partners, the bed is probably even better. Make sure the bed is made, and there are pillows handy that your partner can adjust to find comfortable positions.
- If your bed is too soft, then you can also try laying your blanket down on the floor.
- Next, fill the room with inviting and relaxing scents, with incense, oils, or candles. Is there a smell you know your partner likes? For example, for some people, lavender is super relaxing, but for others, it reminds them of their nan.
- Set the tone with some relaxing music. If you need some ideas, then some great Spotify channels are ‘Chillhop Radio,’ Bonobo (Black Sands album), Uyama Hiroto (Freedom of the Son albu),, and Tor.
- Make the room nice and warm so that your partner can feel relaxed with the least amount of clothing on.
- Keep the lighting low - you want to be able to see your partner, but minimal lighting is best.
- Pick a massage oil and have it handy. Massage oils allow you to run your hands over your partner’s body without creating friction. But also be careful not to use too much as you could leave your partner feeling greasy and in need of a shower.
Step 2 - Massage Technique
First of all - you’re not a professional masseur, and you can’t expect to learn expert massage techniques overnight. But when it comes to partner massages, that doesn’t really matter; it’s all about deep relaxation and creating an intimate and loving atmosphere.
However, it is good to make an effort, and knowing a few fundamentals of massage can help give you more confidence, and ultimately your partner will get more benefits from the practice.
- Apply oil - Before you start massaging your partner, be sure to apply oil, warm it up in your hands first to keep your touch comfortable.
- Gliding strokes - Start with slow gliding strokes that cover your partner’s skin with oil and introduce your touch. These long strokes will begin to increase blood circulation and prepare your partner for a deeper massage. Use this method before working on any given area and when you have finished with that area.
- Deep, kneading strokes - Deep kneading strokes are where you lift the muscle and squeeze it to feel what’s underneath the surface. Create a circular motion with your thumbs and feel for knots.
- Apply friction - Anywhere you find a knot move your thumb back and forth over it.
- Stay slow and repetitive - Keep your movements slow and repetitive and try to apply constant pressure.
- Listen and respond - It is important that you communicate with your partner and find what feels good for them and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly.
Step 3 - Use A Massage Gun
If your partner has aches and pains then you can replicate a more professional massage by incorporating a massage gun, such as the Pro Massage Gun.
A massage gun will allow you to get deep into their muscles and provide deep relief. Massage guns have also been shown to improve blood circulation, which encourages healing. (3)
You can use the massage gun across your partner’s body, spending longer on any area where they have knots. Start on a slow setting and make it stronger only after asking them. Stay on no one muscle group for longer than a couple of minutes and avoid the spine or any bones, injuries, or lesions.
Step 4 - Relaxing Motions
After using a massage gun, return to relaxing gliding motions with your hands. This time allows their body to relax and take in the benefits from the massage gun. This also gives you the opportunity to return to physical contact and the intimacy that comes with it.
You may want to take this time to massage any areas you might have missed, such as your partner’s hands, feet, or head.
Step 5 - Hold Your Partner
After the massage, hold your partner, allow them to be fully present with you, and take in all the yummy benefits of your massage.
This valentines day, gift your partner with connection and intimacy. A massage can benefit both of you in more ways than one. Have this time to be fully present with each other and relax and you will find that you are both happier and more connected.
You don’t need to be a professional masseur to give your partner a fulfilling massage, a massage gun can help where your skills are lacking. Focus on setting the mood, and keep communicating with your partner to find what works.
- Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (2005). Cortisol Decreases and Serotonin and Dopamine Increase Following Massage Therapy. International Journal Of Neuroscience, 115(10), 1397-1413.
- Kinkead, B., Schettler, P. J., Larson, E. R., Carroll, D., Sharenko, M., Nettles, J., Edwards, S. A., Miller, A. H., Torres, M. A., Dunlop, B. W., Rakofsky, J. J., & Rapaport, M. H. (2018). Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: Results from a randomized early phase trial. Cancer, 124(3), 546–554.
- Imtiyaz, S., Veqar, Z., & Shareef, M. Y. (2014). To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 8(1), 133–136.