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Tips and tricks for home partner massage

We have all heard a friend or loved one talk about their aches and pains and wish we could help. Luckily all the tools you need are in yours and your partners’ hands, all that’s needed is a little willingness and guidance. Below are some tips and techniques for safe and comfortable massage.

The following is for general muscle stiffness only. If your partner is injured, or the pain they are experiencing is unfamiliar to them, please consult a professional.

For you at home, the aim is very simple, to restore circulation and promote relaxation. When muscles become stiff and tight, circulation is reduced and the muscle is not able to heal the damage done during hard days of work and play. Relaxation, better sleep and a deeper connection through touch will be a huge bonus for your efforts.


Communication – It is the key to any activity or relationship and especially important in massage. Details like pressure, pain, positioning, sharp nails, temperature in the room and anything else that will help you and your partner have a better experience should be communicated. Check in with your partner every few minutes to make sure they are comfortable.

Pressure – Massaging a partner is about helping THEIR body heal ITSELF. Go slow, don’t force a tight muscle to do your bidding, because it will rebel like a stubborn child every time. Warm the muscle up lightly for 5 minutes or so with a heating pad or gentle pressure, then, if your partner gives his or her permission, apply more pressure. Every body has a different tolerance to pressure, so again, communicate. Slight soreness is okay, pain is not. If your partner can breath comfortably and deeply, you are likely safe, but check in with them frequently.

Breathing – When experience any kind of stress, breaths shorten and heart rate increases making it hard to let go and relax. We cant control our heart, but we can control our breathing. Slow deep breaths slows heart rate, calms the mind and increases oxygen levels in the blood. In turn, muscles soften and let go of tension much easier and with less discomfort.

Oils – If its slippery and organic, it’ll work. My personal favorite is food grade oils like olive or coconut because only about a tablespoon is needed for the entire body. Baby oil or gel work great. Lotion tends to soak in very quickly but are very soothing. Try a few and pick your partners favorite. Make sure you and your partner have no sensitivities to the oil you intend to use.

Touch – Yes, your hands may get tired at first, but it’s worth the effort!  Go slow, start light and take breaks, it’s not a race. Use the heel of your hand with your other hand over top, it eases strain on the wrist for broad areas like the low back. Finger tips are good for specific spots like the back of the neck. Working your thumbs in an egg beater motion over tight muscles is always a favorite for between shoulders, hands and feet. It can take several minutes for a muscle to let go. With a little time and patience, you should feel the muscle soften — this is all you’re looking for. Experiment and remember, use light pressure to start and use more pressure as their body allows. Muscles are soft, bones are hard and feel more sharp when pressed, so be sure to stick to areas that give a little under your hands.

If you have any questions, please ask one of our massage therapists for advice. There are also lots of online resources that can help if you are unsure, or would like to learn more.


Michael Wells – RMT

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