The young couple from the city showed up at Sea Spell Massage in Cannon Beach for their couples massage instruction appointment. They were celebrating their wedding anniversary at the coast. He would be the "giver" for this appointment. She was the receiver.
The session was a surprise gift for her and she had no idea what to expect when they arrived!
A review was left on my website after the session:
“Michelle (Michele) taught me not only the basics of massage, but how to specifically work on my partner's trouble spots. Very professional, kind, and a great teacher - I highly recommend the couples instruction massage option, it may be the best thing you and your partner ever do!”
Because I just moved back to Oregon and I am new to the area, I wanted to offer a service for couples in my practice in addition to individual massage sessions. But I didn’t know any other therapists to partner with for a side-by-side or tandem couples session – and I don’t have room for two tables in my office – so I decided to offer “Couples Massage Instruction” as an option, something a couple might do for a date night. I limit the service to only one person receiving in a full 90-minute session, though.
Giving a massage to someone you love is a deeply connecting and intimate offering. There is a degree of vulnerability as both the giver and the receiver. Touch can create a bond and greatly benefit all aspects of a couple’s life together.
The intent of my couples massage instruction is to create more intimacy in relationship with a partner through the giving and receiving of massage. It can be quite powerful to slow down and take the time to truly be present with another.
The session includes a grounding and quieting exercise, instruction, demonstration, and a hands-on approach and practice to integrating massage into a relationship at home. Massage is no longer considered just a luxury!
An appointment would usually involve full-body massage instruction. In this case, the receiver is an athlete so we chose to focus on the upper body and particular areas of tension in her back and shoulders.
We talked about the couple’s experience with massage and knowledge of the body and muscles. After a grounding practice, we got started with the instruction! We focused primarily on Swedish effleurage long stroke techniques, starting with a flat palm with light pressure, moving into different stroke types (such as kneading, stretching, and compression) as his confidence increased, and then into more therapeutic offerings using deeper touch and different “tools” such as knuckles and forearms.
We also focused on his posture, application of his body weight over her at the table, and body staging in order for him not to become fatigued during the course of the massage. He is a natural giver!
I believe in the session the couple was able to:
In addition, the receiver was encouraged to communicate about pressure and give partner feedback. It will motivate the partner when telling him/her what an amazing massage he/she is giving and remembering that the giver definitely wants to please!
Throughout the appointment, we always returned to the Essences the couple picked at the beginning.
Do not use a bed to massage, if at all possible. It's uncomfortable for the receiver, especially for the neck, and uncomfortable for the giver, the hunching over and trying to move around. In the private home, you need a hard surface to sit and lie on – the floor is better than the bed – and use props such as pillows, rolled up towels, and blankets.
Prepare the space. Lock the doors and turn off the phones if you don't want to be interrupted. Keep all supplies near you. Use the bathroom beforehand.
What are some issues couples face when starting a massage routine?
Sore thumbs – Using them too much. Knuckles, palms, and forearms are good alternatives. Use other tools such as balls or other items you can find in the department store or bath and body shop.
Tired hands – Too much pressure or kneading. Gravity and body weight are good alternatives. Contour your hands to partner's body and try to touch more surface area. Try to keep fingertips and palms down, especially for long, deep strokes.
Boring – Do a different body part, use a different stroke, use different pressure, or make an agreement beforehand to change the giving/receiving within a certain time frame.
Lack of confidence – Learn just one or two approaches. Ask your partner for feedback and be excited to learn together!
I hope you find this information useful in creating connection through touch in your own relationship! As always, don’t hesitate to ask me questions or leave a comment.
Essentially yours ~
Michele Duncan King