The Art of Partner Massage
Husband and I have always shared massage in our relationship. It's something that I look forward to on a weekly basis, I love the feel of his hands releasing my stress. I love that we take time out for each other to do this. It makes me feel close to him when we have had a hard week, and I miss it greatly when we are too busy to make it happen.
There are many benefits to massaging your partner. It keeps both of you healthier, aids in circulation to the muscles, helps to prevent injury, and aids in flexibility. You are probably thinking this is a great idea, but have no idea where to start. Massage is very easy to learn and set up for. Just keep in mind that you don't need to "press hard" or have "strong hands" to do partner massage. All you need to have is the willingness to explore your partners body a little bit.
To set up for your evening you should have some massage oil or lotion, a few pillows, and a warmed towel. (I just start a dryer load about 30 minutes before we are going to start). Lay down a couple of blankets on your floor. You will use the pillows to stabilize yourself, your partner will be between your legs and you will be on your knees. Putting the pillows under yourself between you and your partner allows you to "sit" instead of rest on your knees. This will allow you to be in this position for a longer amount of time.
Your partner should be topless and wrapped in the warm towel to loosen up the muscles a little before you begin. Put the oil or lotion on your hands first and warm it up before you apply it to your partner. If the lotion or oil is cold it will cause your partner to tense up so do not apply it directly to their body, always use your hands first.
Add lotion or oil as required during the massage. Keeping the skin lubricated is important, loosen the towel before you start, remove it if necessary.
Starting at the top of the shoulders, where the shoulders meet the neck rub out toward the shoulders, using pressure on the down stroke but more of a light brush on the upstroke, repeat this 10 times, you can use more pressure if your partner asks you too but never to hard, you do not want to make them tense, and you do not want to make your hands ache.
Place your hands on your partners shoulders, roll your thumbs down toward the spine and then away from the spine, following the muscles that brace the shoulder blades. Again heavier on the down stroke then on the upstroke. Repeat this 10 times.
Take your fingers and squeeze lightly down the arms, toward the elbows. Then lightly trace your fingers back up toward the shoulders. Repeat 5 times. Roll your thumbs lightly in circles over the muscles of the forearm starting at the elbow and moving down toward the wrist. Only light pressure should be applied in these areas.
Move back up to the shoulders and place your thumbs (tips together) at the base of the skull, rub outward, lift thumbs and repeat as you move downward. Repeat from top to bottom 3 times.
Move down the back working the muscles that brace the spine, I tend to find my palms work the best in this area moving in small circles. Always pressure on the down stroke and light on the upstroke. Repeat from top to bottom 5 times.
We like to take turns doing this for each other on different days, that way the partner you have just relaxed doesn't have to immediately switch with you and use their freshly relaxed muscles. Trading off days is also a great way to keep the process going. Don't worry too much if you start of slow or only do this for each other once a month, anything helps and the service to your body is completely free. The massage should last about 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy trying out partner massage!