Economic indicators may be discouraging, but that doesn't mean you can't have a spa date -- in the comfort of your own home. Giving or receiving a massage in the privacy of your own home has some very nice advantages beyond the money you'll save over splurging at the day spa. Nothing's keeping you from turning a private massage into -- ahem -- a sensual event. Getting reacquainted with his (or her) body from the fingers out is fun, too. That tantalizing dimple at the base of his spine or the tender spot behind her ear could definitely use some attention. A little TLC in the right spot might even lead to an afternoon worthy of a "Dear Diary" entry.
Offering a loved one a home massage has other benefits for the lucky recipient, too. A massage that's firm enough to leave behind a gentle pressure indentation can help reduce the amount of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone associated with everything from a weakened immune system to weight gain. A relaxing massage can also lower blood pressure and may help manage pain by triggering subtle chemical changes in the body.
Here's the best part: You don't have to be a reflexology guru to bestow a massage with healthful benefits. A general massage using long, gentle strokes can be surprisingly effective because many of the best benefits of massage are the direct result of simple touching. Touching releases a host of helpful chemicals that keep working for hours after you put the scented oils away. So, even if you can't tell the difference between a shiatsu (pressure point massage technique) and a Lhasa Apso (adorable puppy dog), you can still give a good massage.
If he likes to have his neck rubbed -- and let's face it, who doesn't -- a 10-minute massage will loosen his tight muscles, reduce his stress level and may even reduce muscle aches in other areas of his body like his lower back, legs and feet. That's an impressive return on a short investment.
Let's take a look at a few best practices when it comes to home massage. All you really need for a good massage is a gentle touch and a few undisturbed minutes. Adding some enhancements will help set the scene, though, and awaken his senses to a style of "bodywork" that has nothing to do with vehicle maintenance.