Massages have many health benefits, from easing muscle pain and alleviating stress to improving circulation and even bringing two people closer together, if you are performing the massage on your partner. Massages can improve your mood and also help you sleep better. If you do not have a massage chair (or even if you do and would like to try something new), take a look at the tips in this article for giving the perfect full body massage to a partner, family member, friend or even an acquaintance.

Pay attention to subtle factors such as the ambience

Play quiet, gentle music or nature sounds. If you know what music your massage recipient likes, then that is even better. Smells are also important for the atmosphere and the general feeling. Lighting candles can lend a relaxing mood to any space, and dimming the lights will help with this as well. Make sure not to use a very strong scent—something light and neutral is better. It is also important to keep the room warm enough and to have a comfortable massaging surface.

Do not give a massage without oil

Massage oil helps you and the receiver of the massage by saving them from any discomfort and making your job easier. You can use store-bought oils, but natural oils such as sunflower, almond, jojoba or grape seed will work too. Plus, they smell nice. If you are a fan of essential oils, you can add a few drops of those as well, but make sure that they are pure and gentle, and do not use them on anyone who is pregnant. Lastly, make sure your hands are not freezing if you do not want to shock the massage recipient.

Use many towels

Putting towels on your massage table will save it from getting stained by any oils. Because it is easier to massage someone who is in their undergarments, you can also cover your subject with a towel for their comfort and warmth. Additionally, keep a small towel nearby to wipe off your hands when they start to accumulate too much oil.

Practice your technique

Knead the recipient’s neck and shoulders with your thumbs, making sure to go deeply into the muscles. Avoid pressing your fingers into the subject’s collarbone. Next, press and release along the recipient’s neck up to their hairline. Then use your knuckles to rub the tops of your subject’s shoulders, and return to the press and release technique.

A foot massage is the piece de resistance. Massage the sole with your thumbs, giving extra time to the arches because this is where most of the strain accrues, then move to the heel and the ball of the foot. Pull each toe gently to release pressure.

Knead the recipient’s calves one by one, moving up to the thighs and repeating the process. Finish the legs by applying pressure with the heel of your hand and moving it slowly up the thigh.

Lay your hands on each side of your subject’s spine and move up, fanning your hands across their shoulders. Knead the lower back muscles on each side of the spine, and then press and release up the entire back. Ask the massage recipient to bend their elbows because that makes their shoulder blades more prominent, and then use your thumbs to press and release on the knots around the shoulder blades.

Knead the recipient’s forearms and upper arms, and then massage their palms through small round motions of your thumb. Pull each finger gently, but firmly.

The last part of the massage is the head. Request that your subject lie on his or her back, and massage their scalp with your thumbs. You can also give them a light head scratch if you wish. Rub the folds and lobe of their ears with your thumb and forefinger, and then use your fingertips to apply firm pressure to the hollows where the neck joins with the base of the skull. Press and release several times. Place your hands under their jaw and lift their head gently, stretching their neck muscles. Use your fingertips to press and release the spot between their eyebrows for a few 30-second intervals. Finish by massaging the temples with languid, circular motions.

Key points to remember

  • Do not go too quickly—take your time on each individual area.
  • Try not to break contact with the subject’s skin to maintain a good flow during the massage.
  • Make sure you are checking in with the recipient to see if he or she is enjoying the massage/level of pressure or if anything is hurting.
  • If it is not too uncomfortable for your subject, try to work out any knots that you find by rotating your fingers with increasing pressure in opposite directions.
  • Do not massage the spine or any bones.

In conclusion, it is crucial to not only pay attention to your technique during a massage, but also the overall ambience. The combination of correct technique and a pleasant-smelling room with mood lighting is guaranteed to be relaxing. But remember, if all of this sounds like a bit too much effort, there is always the option of buying a best massage chair. However, a massage done by hand is more intimate and builds a stronger connection and bond with the recipient of the massage, making it a great choice for anyone who is looking to get closer to his or her partner.