I would be lying if I said that I don’t enjoy getting chocolate, flowers, or jewelry from my hubby on Valentine’s Day, but what about something that you can do that doesn’t cost money? Something that just takes your time and still communicates how much you care. Why not try something new this year and give your partner a massage in the comfort of your own home? Since I’m not a certified therapist, I decided to ask one of our talented Massage Therapists, Dana Gunter, at Massage and Facials Brookhaven how to properly give a massage.
Check out her advice!
Q. What are your suggestions for creating a spa-like environment at home?
Dana: It needs to be quiet and soothing. Try playing music that is relaxing, not loud or busy. My favorite Pandora stations are ‘Spa Radio’ and ‘New Age Ambient’ because of the atmosphere created by the songs. Candles and low lighting play another important part in creating the spa environment. I suggest LED candles that you can leave on for long periods of time without worry. Give yourself plenty of room to move around, too.
Q. What is the correct way to give a massage?
Dana: To deliver the best pressure, you will mostly use the heel of your palm. Fingers and forearms can be used, too, but in certain areas (listed below). For the best at home massage, I would suggest using a sturdy dining chair. Have your partner sit backwards in the chair as you place a pillow between them and the back of the chair as they straddle it. You can either sit, kneel or stand behind your partner. I start these massages by using the heel of my hands to walk up either side of the spine from the hips to the neck and shoulders. Standing by their side, you can knead the shoulders, neck, arms and hands. Sometimes simple compression is great, too. The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable in giving the massage—don’t overwork yourself! Keep your fingers reserved for massaging the scalp. Forearms can be used on the shoulders around the neck.
Q. Besides making sure the atmosphere is relaxing, what else needs to be in place so that the massage is relaxing for my partner?
Dana: The one thing about being in the spa that is hard to replicate at home is that there are no distractions. So put the phones on silent, shut off the tablet and put them out of sight. Make sure the kids and family are taken care of and won’t be interrupting your quiet time. The less distractions there are, the quicker the person receiving the massage can relax.
Q. I know there are certain essential oils and/or lotions that are more calming than others. What would you recommend I use?
Dana: I would recommend using oils like sweet almond or fractionated coconut oils are great for massage, work wonders on the skin, and are excellent carriers for essential oils. My top three choices are adding a few drops of lavendar, rose absolute and sandalwood to a carrier oil or lotion. They are all relaxing and sedating; they also easily blend well together or use alone. You want to use a few drops of essential oil for each area you work on.
Q. Ideally, how long should the massage last?
Dana: The massage should last anywhere from 15-25 minutes. I would emphasize taking your time to work each area, because this will feel great to the receiver and you can focus on relaxing as well.
Q. Any other suggestions?
Dana: Always check in with your partner about the pressure you’re using–too much or too light of pressure can quickly change the mood. One the most underrated areas to receive massage is the scalp: use your fingers (not fingertips) to scrub or shampoo the scalp. There are many muscle attachments at the back of the head that influence migraines and headaches; massaging these often neglected areas produce immediately enjoyable results.
If you and your partner would rather get a massage by a professional and are in the Atlanta-area, then come and see me at Massage and Facials Brookhaven!
Happy Valentine’s Day!