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Refresh Your Spirit: At-Home Massage

Need to chill out? Give each other a massage. Here's the how-to.

Feeling stressed? On the verge of screaming at your fiance, "Don't you understand how much pressure I'm under?" One great way to relax and get in some blissful, stress-free couple time: swap back massages. It's a great way to focus your energies on each other -- it can help bring you closer together as a couple. Here are the how-to's:

Getting Started

Get some oil to help hands move more smoothly over the skin. Anything from vegetable oil to a more luxurious scented massage oil will work, but always warm it first by placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water. Have your sweetie lay on his stomach while you straddle the upper part of his legs with your hands on his back. Remember, the basic rule of massage is that it should feel good, so ask your partner whether you should press harder or more gently. Always avoid massaging recent fractures or scar tissue, bruises, or inflamed areas.

Making Contact

Put a small amount of oil on your palm and place your hand gently on your partner's back, letting both of you feel the connection. Then begin to slowly spread the oil over his back and shoulders. Now the real massage begins. Place your hands on either side of the spine, just below the waist. With firm strokes, push your hands up toward his shoulders, leaning forward to allow your weight to follow the stroke.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub

When you reach the shoulders, move your hands outward almost in a heart, to follow the shape of the shoulders. Let your palms lead the way out to his sides, and then lightly stroke your fingers down his back again to return to the starting position. Take your time, and never allow your hands or fingers to stop touching his body -- it is important to keep the connection. Continue this stroke pattern over and over, moving your hands slightly farther out to the sides of your partner's body each time, for as long as it feels good. Next, have him return the favor.

Remember, the basic rule of massage is that it should feel good, so ask your partner whether you should press harder or more gently.

-- Susan A. Segrest

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