Couples massage is a massage in which two people receive simultaneous massages, often side by side, benefitting from the natural health effects of a massage, as well as having an intimate and relaxing bonding experience.
What Is Couples Massage?
Couples massage is a form of massage during which two people, often romantic partners, experience the therapeutic and relaxing effects of a massage at the same time. Spas that offer this type of service often make it a part of a larger package, which may include access to a steam room, showers, a relaxation lounge, and other amenities. The couple will initially meet with their massage therapists to discuss their goals for the massage session and any medical conditions or issues.
The couple will then enjoy a simultaneous massage from two trained massage therapists, beginning, progressing and ending at the same time, quite literally putting both of their bodies on the same wavelength. While the purpose of a traditional massage is to soothe sore muscles, prevent injury or release stress, the benefits of couples massage often extend to the psychological and emotional connection of the couple.
There are many benefits to a couples massage, including the normal health effects of a massage, increased feel-good hormones, the comfort of a bonding experience and stress relief, among others.
- Bonding experience: This type of massage gives you a chance to experience something special and unique with a partner. By allowing yourself to relax into a pleasurable experience at the same time as your partner, it can increase mindfulness and awareness of the other person. This can help couples reconnect and dedicate time to one another in a naturally peaceful setting.
- Stress relief: One of the reasons for any massage is the release of stress. By soothing muscles and lowering cortisol levels, the irritations and stressors of life can wash away, helping you be your best self with your partner.
- Hormone release: An intentional effect of any good massage is the release of certain feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones increase pleasure and the desire for physical contact, intimacy, and closeness. This can be a benefit of couples massage that lasts well past the end of your massage session! Studies have found that giving massages between partners can also induce similar hormonal reactions in the body.
- Normal massage benefits: Aside from the benefits to your marriage or relationship, a couples massage still provides the normal effects of a massage, including reduced muscle tension, better blood flow to your muscles, improved sleep, lowered stress levels, and a boost to your overall immune health.
The preparation for a couples massage is slightly different than a normal massage. To begin with, you and your partner should both be on the same page about the experience, the duration, and what you both feel comfortable with. There is nothing worse than being on different wavelengths and potentially creating tension during what should be a relaxing experience.
Be sure to arrive at the appointment early to prevent rushing or traffic-related stress. Also, avoid eating in the 2-3 hours before the massage, as you will both likely be lying on your stomach during the session. If this is the first time you or your partner is getting a professional massage, do your research so you know what to expect and avoid any unwanted surprises!
Word of Caution
The potential side effects of a couple massage are no different than those of a regular massage. Depending on the pressure and intensity, as well as the receptivity of your own body, there could be some discomfort, soreness or pain in the day or two after the massage. Some people also report mild nausea or headaches during and after the massage. These side effects are uncommon, but they can happen, as reported in this review from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. If discomfort or pain persists beyond two days, speak to your massage therapist and consider a milder or less intense massage in the future.