Over the past few months, I have written extensively about the myriad benefits of massage. A few examples include:
Giving your partner a massage can open new doors in your relationship
Anyone who has received a massage from me can attest that it is no secret that receiving a massage can help to improve physical and mental well-being and health. According to a recent study*, however, giving your partner a massage may be just as beneficial. This research was performed by Sayuri Naruse, a graduate student in health psychology at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.
The researchers came to their findings by enrolling 38 adults, or 19 couples, in a 3-week massage course. Before the course, at the end of the course, and 3 weeks after its completion, participants were surveyed to report their physical and emotional well-being, perceived stress and coping, and relationship satisfaction. A total of 74 percent of adults continued to massage at home after the course concluded.
The team found that the massage course was associated with a significant reduction in perceived stress and coping among the couples, and these effects persisted for 3 weeks after the course had ended. Additionally, the couples reported significant improvements in physical and emotional wellbeing after each massage session. Researchers found that these benefits were evident when partners performed a massage or when they received one. 91 percent of the couples in the study said that they would recommend mutual massage to friends.
According to the researchers, their findings suggest that couples may benefit from frequent massages:
“These findings show that massage can be a simple and effective way for couples to improve their physical and mental well-being whilst showing affection for one another.
Massage is a cost-effective and pleasant intervention that isn’t just for a therapeutic setting but can be easily incorporated into a healthy couple’s daily routine.”
~ Sayuri Naruse
Massage is so much more than just touching each other, getting sensual, or helping your partner relieve a tight muscle. Initiating touch with the intention to heal, exceeds any other kind of touch. It is a caring act, that benefits both partners. Partner massage is a way to show selfless love and affection, in addition to fostering trust, improving communication, and expressing vulnerability.
A loving touch releases chemicals into the brain which work as anti-stress mediators, promoting a sense of peace and relaxation. Oxytocin, for example, is a hormone known as the “love hormone.” It is released into our bloodstream when we come into pleasing contact with someone or something we care about, including our pets. As well as the bonding effect it creates, it also reduces blood pressure, increases tolerance for pain, improves mood, and is believed to increase healing in various parts of the body. It is the hormone that is directly linked to trusting others, which of course is fundamental to any successful relationship.
Previous research has shown that couples tend to operate as a pair when coping with stress, and with these new findings, it may suggest that massaging each other may help ensure relationship stability, and can be a simple and effective way of improving wellbeing while also showing affection.
Not relying on a massage therapist is also cheaper, and it gives willing couples the chance to experiment. Still, it cannot hurt to invest time into watching some YouTube videos, where I offer free tutorials, or in a short how-to course that can guide you through a massage. If one or both partners are not confident or comfortable, that may negate the potential benefits. “It is a bit like cooking,” according to Naruse. “Anybody can cook, but not everyone can cook a nice meal without a bit of patience or experience.”
In my YouTube video series on couples massage, I guide you through HOW to perform a successful massage on your partner, as well as how to receive one. This will include aspects like setting the space, choosing the best oil, speaking to your partner about preferences, tools in communicating feedback, tips on how to touch, and different massage strokes you can use on your partner to help build confidence.
As I write this, most of the world is in some form of quarantine, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2). Taking this opportunity to practice massaging your partner will help reduce the overall stress in your household, it will reduce depression and anxiety and help with conflict resolution. Many of us are stressed due to losses in income, having our children home all the time while working from home, learning how to home school and not getting a break, lacking in touch from friends and loved ones, or simply having our regular way of life altered significantly. If you have the good fortune to be quarantined with someone you love, take advantage of the power of massage!
And stay tuned for a series of tutorials and courses that I plan to offer online.