What Is a Couples Massage and What Can I Expect?

What Is a Couples Massage and What Can I Expect?
Question:

My partner and I have an anniversary coming up, and this year I want to do something a little different. A friend of mine recommended a couples’ massage. I confess I’ve never had a couples’ massage before, and I’m pretty sure my partner has never had a massage at all. The concept sounds interesting, but I really want to avoid any discomfort or awkwardness that could ruin our anniversary celebration. What happens during a couples’ massage, and what can we expect?

Answer:

Happy anniversary! A couples’ massage is an excellent choice, whether to start or end your celebration. Your experience may begin with your choice of aromatic oils or soft music and lighting to help set the mood. Typically, you and your partner will disrobe and lay side by side on massage tables. A nude massage isn’t required, though. Disrobe to the degree you feel comfortable, and know that your modesty will be protected by draping or covering private areas. You also have the ability to choose a massage therapist of your same gender, if this makes you more comfortable.

Once you’re in position, each of you will typically receive a Swedish massage, unless you request another type of massage. Swedish massage uses long, gliding strokes to promote relaxation. The fluid, rhythmic movements in tandem allow you both to unwind, improving your clarity and focus so you can renew your devotion to each other.

The only awkwardness you might encounter would be if the two of you have different goals for the experience. If one of you feels chatty while the other wants to zone out, you may get frustrated. You also might consider whether either of you is shy or uncomfortable with nudity. The purpose of a couples’ massage is for the two of you to relax and bond together. Being tense or anxious about the circumstances could defeat the whole purpose. Communication is key! If you’re not sure how your partner would feel about a couples’ massage, find a way to discuss the idea with them (hopefully without giving away your surprise).

The feelings of warm touch relax your body and mind. Massage releases oxytocin, a hormone that increases feelings of bonding and love.[i] This stimulation can be especially important if you’ve been together for awhile. The hormones released by touch can help the two of you reconnect and feel like you’re falling in love all over again.[ii] A couples’ massage is just as beneficial if you’re still in the throes of love, though, because it reinforces your deep feelings for each other. And because it’s such an intimate experience, you’ll become more closely bonded by sharing the experience together. Massage also reduces stress hormones, and can even lower your blood pressure.[iii]

You might use the massage to kick off your evening, especially if you’re both coming home from a long and stressful day at work. Order in a massage to release the stresses of the day and get ready to enjoy some time together. A couples’ massage also works great after a night out. You might take your partner to a nice restaurant like you normally would, then surprise them with a massage at home later that evening.

References:

[i] Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: “Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251939

[ii] Medical Daily: “The Healing Power of Touch: 3 Surprising Benefits of Massage Therapy” http://www.medicaldaily.com/healing-power-touch-3-surprising-benefits-massage-therapy-373336

[iii] Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: “Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251939