Getting a massage is a relaxing treat with a variety of health benefits. Massage therapy wakes up your muscles, improves the circulation of blood and lymph fluid and drains harmful toxins. Even more, it’s been reported to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Beyond physical and mental health, bodywork can also boost wellness and intimacy in your relationships.
According to Geraldine Abergas, a New York-based massage therapist, bodyworker and neurofeedback practitioner, touch can deepen our physical, energetic and emotional relationships with others. Whether kneading out knots or simply holding hands, she views touch as a playful way to connect and communicate.
“Our hands are filled with so many nerve endings. The parts of our bodies that have the highest number of nerve endings are our hands, our feet, our lips, our ears and our genital organs. That is where we receive the primary amount of information through touch. So when it comes to partnerships, relationships or just being with another, utilizing touch through hands can help you share energy, warmth and create magnetism. It’s a deep connection that conveys so much,” Abergas tells Bloomi’s Intimate Talk.
As appealing as that sounds, attempting to give a massage without any bodywork training can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. By setting the mood and following a few key techniques, you can give your partner a magical rubdown and connect deeply and sensually. Here are a few pro tips from Abergas on how to give a full-body massage that will ease tension and enhance intimacy.
In order to give a soothing massage, Abergas says it’s important that you are personally relaxed. Because touch conveys so much, your partner will likely know if you’re stressed or disinterested, which won’t help create the calming or seductive experience you both are looking for. To get grounded, Abergas suggests knowing your intentions, removing any distractions, paying attention to your posture and taking a few deep breaths. “When you’re centered, you can just focus on the experience. It might even feel like there’s no separation between the two of you. You breathe in unison and maybe you close your eyes while giving the massage so you are more present,” she says. To help you get comfortable, consider supplements like Peak + Valley’s Balance My Stress blend ($38) or Foria’s Wellness Gel Capsules with CBD ($72).
Set the mood
While a massage primarily focuses on touch, to create a truly calming or alluring experience, it’s important to delight other senses as well. Abergas encourages creating a comfortable base on the floor, where it’ll be easier for you to move around than on a bed, and using light, sounds and scents to take the rubdown to the next level. Dim the lighting in the room by burning a candle or covering a lamp with a scarf. Cancel out outdoor noise with soft water sounds, piano music or a playlist you curated that enkindles the mood you aim to set. Finally, and arguably the most important, light a scented candle that your partner will enjoy. Scent is the most powerful and direct human sense, so you want to ensure there are no smells in the room that will repulse them.
How to begin
After you’ve prepared yourself and set the mood, all you need is your partner and some massage oil or lotion. Bloomi’s Massage Oil ($64) is formulated with organic, full-spectrum hemp extract to help relax the body and soothe sore muscles. Even more, its custom blend of botanical aphrodisiacs will arouse both your and your partner’s senses. With a couple pumps of oil in your hands (less is better; you can always add more), it’s time to put them to work. According to Abergas, the best place to start a massage is on the person’s back and shoulders. “Most people have tension in these areas, so working there will help them to relax, which helps you become less nervous and more comfortable,” she says. Having your partner lie down on their stomach also avoids any awkward eye contact that might make you embarrassed.
Move through the body
Whether you’re giving a slow, relaxing rubdown or an invigorating, faster-paced massage, your flow through the body should be seamless. Instead of going from the shoulders to the feet, Abergas suggests working your way through the entire body before turning them around. When reaching sensitive areas, like the glutes, it’s important not to surprise your partner with a choppy transition. She recommends moving from the waist, to the hips and then pushing into the glutes or creating long strokes up and down the waist, glutes and thighs.
Areas to avoid
As you’re moving through the body, it’s critical to avoid areas that might cause your partner pain. Avoid boney areas and stay away from the spine, shins, knees or other parts where the bone is more prominent than fat or tissue. If your partner is hairier on certain parts of their body, like their chest or legs, Abergas advises using more oil to help avoid friction or painful hair pulling. If your partner is a survivor of sexual or physical violence, avoid the areas that might trigger painful memories or emotions. If they are working through these traumas and have given you consent to touch these parts of their body, start by using their hands to massage those areas and, when they’re ready, they’ll allow you to use yours instead.
Read your partner’s response
Hoping to spare your feelings, your partner might not immediately tell you what hurts. As such, it’s important to ask questions like, “is this OK here,” “do you want more or less pressure” or “how does this feel?” Even more, Abergas suggests keeping an eye on your partner to read their response and gauge what they like and don’t like.
When and how to stop
Knowing when to end your massage session is important. You don’t want to stop abruptly but you also want to avoid overextending yourself or going on so long you lose the energy you aimed to create. As a newcomer to bodywork, your massage should last between 10 to 20 minutes, Abergas advises. Since you started the rubdown with your partner lying on their stomach, you’ll end with them on their back. After working yourself up the body, Abergas says it’s nice to finish by massaging their head, scalp and ears. “Being that these are areas with high nerve endings, it’s a great place to end. Here, you’re face to face and really intimate,” she adds. This close to one another, it’s also the perfect moment to transition into sexier activities.