Hands On

There’s nothing better than a sensual massage, when it’s done properly of course.

There’s nothing better than a sensual massage, when it’s done properly of course. Follow our 10-step guide to a great massage…

1. Create an atmosphere
Setting the mood before you begin a massage is very important. Try using a low light or candles, says Jean Pierre Hartmann, a massage therapist from Bodyworks in Cape Town. ‘Use candles for some gentle indirect lighting to create warmth.’

2. Make sure your partner is comfortable
The key to making your partner feel comfortable is making sure the room is warm – they will be lying there half naked after all. When you relax, your heart rate slows down and as a result your body cools down, says Angela Hardy, from Cloud 9 spa in Johannesburg. Drape blankets or towels on your massage table/bed/area, and keep a towel handy in case your partner wants to cover up their more intimate areas. Even though it’s your partner who you’re massaging, you don’t want them to feel exposed, says Hardy. Privacy is very important to relaxation.

3. Choose good music
The type of music you play should be determined by the type of massage you intend to give, says Hardy. A good masseuse works with the rhythm of the music, so rocking music would help you imitate a rocking movement. For a sensual massage, Hardy recommends Nora Jones.

4. Smells affect the mood
Hop into the shower before giving your partner a massage. You’ll feel and smell fresh, especially as you’ll be leaning over him while you massage. ‘Maybe light gentle incense, nothing that is too strong,’ suggests Hartmann.

5. Oil up
‘Use a good base oil [avocado oil, grape seed oil or sweet almond oil] when giving a massage,’ says Hardy. If you don’t have any of these you can also use your normal olive oil from the kitchen or even sunflower oil. Many people use baby oil, but Hardy says it’s too light and doesn’t offer enough resistance.

‘Ideal for men is arnica oil to relax and loosen stiff muscles,’ says Hartmann. ‘If you want to use essential oils then it’s a good idea to use oils that are pre-blended and that contain lavender, ylang ylang, clare sage, geranium, neroli or sandalwood.’

6. Connect to the person you’re massaging
Before beginning, place your hands gently on your partner’s body and hold them still for a few minutes. This helps your partner feel safe, says Hardy. Then begin by gently touching them, increasing the pressure slowly as you go along. Never break contact with your partner during the massage, always keep one hand touching the body as you work.

7. Plan in advance
Plan each step of your massage in advance because your partner will feel the hesitations in your movement; move logically from one part of the body to the next, says Hardy.

‘Slowly and thoroughly move from one area of the body to another releasing any areas that are particularly tight,’ says Hartmann. ‘Always following this routine of general and then specific, until you have completed all areas of the body.’

8. Pressure points
Do not use a bed; make him lie on the floor or even on the dining room table, as this surface is firmer and will allow you to exert the right amount of pressure, says Hardy. The trick is to not let your hands apply the pressure, they’re not strong enough, but shift your body weight onto your hands as you lean over the person, says Hardy.

‘Always ask your partner how much pressure they want, and keep asking throughout the massage, so you know what to do more of and what to do less of,’ says Hartmann. Hardy also says to remember the massage must be a combination of a loving touch and a hard touch, there must be a balance between the two.

9. Massage strokes
‘With men it’s best to start with a general, firm and strong massage using the whole palm of the hand and adding body weight with the second palm of the hand behind it,’ says Hartmann. Once an area has been warmed up sufficiently, use your hands to knead, much like you would knead dough, especially the arms and legs but also the shoulders. Once the muscles are really loose, you can start using your thumb to steadily dig into any ‘knots’ you may come across, Hartmann suggests.

10. A perfect ending
Hardy says a massage should never end abruptly. Tickle his back or stroke your fingers through his hair or even hold the sides of his face for a few minutes and get him to breathe deeply. Hartmann suggests a head massage using the finger tips, working in a circular motion on the forehead and scalp. ‘Always remember to follow your feeling and to do what you feel is relaxing. And most important of all, don’t take it to serious, have fun doing it.’