Going to a spa or resort can be more than just a chance to relax — it can also be a chance to learn some basic massage techniques that you can give to your partner on vacation. While you may not be everywhere as a professional massage therapist, you can still learn some simple tricks on your next trip to the spa.
Because not all resorts and spas offer the opportunity to learn from your therapist, you should call ahead or visit the individual location website to see if there are licensed therapists on site who can teach you. Although some spas offer one-on-one sessions like this, it’s easier to book an appointment if you go as a couple so the therapist can put one person on the table while he or she is teaching the other (and vice versa).
You should expect to spend around 90 on full-time courses like this one, but you need to practice at home and come back for more sessions to perfect your technique. After all, because your therapist has a job, he or she has spent hundreds of hours of training to get a license in massage therapy.
What Massage Therapy You Can Do at Home
The simplest and most commonly used massage sequence is the Swedish massage, and many of the basic massage shots that form the basis of massage therapy come from the technique.
Being familiar with this technique can help you experiment with the sequence at home with your partner. While you really need a relaxing massage at home is massage oils and sheets that you don’t mind getting greasy to put on, knowing this basic technique can go a long way in helping your partner relieve muscle pain and stress.
The most basic Swedish massage technique is a smooth, sliding stroke called effleurage. Made with hand strokes that can work on large surfaces such as back, arms, legs, chest, or small surfaces such as face, throat, and hands. The massage usually starts and ends with superficial effleurage – which is light, slow, and soothing – and the kind you should try at home with your partner until you are more experienced.
At the spa, you will see how the therapist uses this stroke and how it varies with the speed and pressure to work in different areas of the body. Be sure to communicate with your partner if you want to try this, but don’t feel responsible for removing all of your partner’s knots — there are better professionals.
Other Basic Techniques for Massage Therapy
There are many other basic techniques that can help with the different problems your spouse may face in your daily life. If you are unable to go to the spa for a regular massage, learning some of these things can help you deal with muscle soreness in a professional massage.
Suction, also known as petrissage, is another commonly used technique in which therapists squeeze muscle tissue between their thumbs and the tips of their fingers. This is generally done rhythmically, first with one hand and then the other. This can be done on large curved muscles such as the thighs, upper arms, shoulders, and buttocks (although the latter is not usually performed at the spa).
Friction is a massage technique in which a therapist works on a special knot (called an adhesive) with their thumb or finger. It is more targeted to reach your deep tissue, and therapists go deeper to try to separate the adhered tissue. The targeted movement or pressure can rotate, travel with the muscle groups, tendons, or ligaments, or pass through the muscle in a process called cross-fiber friction. Be careful about this — you don’t want to hurt yourself or your partner.
Stretch massage technique is when the therapist moves your arms or legs to different positions and stretches. It is very common in Asian massage styles like Thai and western style called Trager. It can be used in Swedish tissue massage and is deep but not very common, especially in a day spa or resort spa setting.