Massages are a minefield for the uninitiated. To stop fun flirtation turning to painful awkwardness, our experts from Third Space Spa are here to help you navigate the pitfalls.
It’s hard to be seductive when you have no idea what you’re doing. You need confidence. A tentative prod won’t work. A self-assured stroke up a back that’s holding a stressful week’s worth of tension, on the other hand? Now you’re talking.
But where to start? How hard is too hard? What if you’re all fingers and thumbs? Do you need to do that weird karate chop thing along their back? What about walking on them? How hot are those hot stones you see on Instagram?
Instead, you need to slow down. Take a deep breath of some essential oils and relax into our simple guide to making a massage with your partner memorable, for all the right reasons.
The ground rules:
- Don’t forget the oil. To prevent uncomfortable friction and help your hands glide easily, use some lotion or a little baby oil. Remember to warm it slightly and pour it onto your hands not straight onto your partner.
- Start gently. You need to spend some time softening muscles using lighter strokes or gentle holds to warm them up and promote circulation before you start applying any real pressure.
- Avoid pinching or grabbing muscles – this is meant to be relaxing, remember! Try to keep your fingers together and use your whole hand in the massage.
- Use your body weight so you don’t get tired. Being able to give a good massage that lasts more than 5 minutes is less about your grip and more about your stance and the use of gravity.
Start with the shoulders:
- Ask them to sit upright or lay on their front and drop their shoulders so they’re not hunched up by their ears. Then ask them to slightly tuck their chin to their chest to stretch the neck.
- Place your fingers (not including thumbs) on the area where your neck and shoulders meet at the top of the traps.
- Press firmly and hold for three seconds. Ask them how the pressure is.
- Release and repeat until the muscles feel more relaxed.
- Now place your fingertips on either side of the back of their neck and repeat this process.
- Now go back to the traps and introduce your thumbs. Gently apply a little more pressure in circular motions.
And now, the back:
- If they aren’t already. Ask them to lay on their front and drop their shoulders so they aren’t hunched up by their ears. Then, again, ask them to slightly tuck their chin to their chest to stretch the neck.
- Make a soft fist in both hands and use the base of your palm to rub up and down the vertical muscles running up either side of their spine. Be careful not to press on the spine itself.
- Now the muscles are warm, use a kneading motion and apply a little more pressure.
- Occasionally when you get to the base of the spine, separate your hands and move along the waist as if you are going to grab the waist. Let your hands wander…