Getting a massage is a wonderful way to take a break and practice self-care. A professional massage is ideal but can be quite pricey. A great option is to offer to give your partner a massage. Not only can it help relieve stress but build a deeper connection. Here’s are some tips for making the experience great.

Set the Mood
Create a dreamy setting by dimming the lights and shutting down screens. Make sure to turn those phone ringers off. Light some candles to set the mood. Use scents like lavender to help create a more relaxing vibe. You can also put on some mellow music or even just nature sounds. Make sure the playlist is long enough for the massage so you’re not interrupted by a tune that can flip the mood.

Check that the space is comfortable and easy to move around for the masseuse. Most of us don’t have a massage table, so make sure you have a few extra pillows under the head or knees.

Talk to your partner about what they are feeling and how much pressure they want to have applied. Ask them where they’d like you to focus and for feedback on how you’re doing. You don’t want to hurt your partner and ruin the mood by being too aggressive.

The Basics
Use massage oil or lotion to create a smooth experience. If you aren’t able to get any in time for an impromptu massage, you can try something like sweet almond oil or another neutral carrier oil.

Spend some time learning a few basics techniques. Thankfully you can find anything on YouTube. Remember that massages are to help length and stretch muscles. Do not massage the spine.

Start around the upper back and work your way down. Use long, fluid strokes with a technique called effleurage. Use your palms more than your fingers, so you don’t tire out. Once things are warmed up, you can also try a kneading technique called petrissage. These are strokes that involve squeeze from hand to hand. Take your time and build-up to the more intense pressure.

You can also massage your partner’s feet or hands. Both can provide a lot of relief and are often neglected.