by Kelly Freeman, Willow Tree WC Massage & Bodywork Therapist
This February, deepen the connection with your partner through touch. Touch is the first sense we develop in the womb and as we age, it is the only sense that does not diminish. Hearing decreases, vision blurs and the smell and taste of things can become less discriminating, but touch never loses its potency. And we never lose our need to be touched, a basic need we are born with just like the need for food and water.
Compassionate touch has the power to transform our physical, mental and emotional health. Embracing someone or massaging their shoulders for a few minutes stimulates areas in the brain which release a surge of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that fosters feelings of trust and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Why not offer this gift to the loved ones in your life? Not sure where to start?......keep reading for some tips on how to increase quality touch with your partner.
A Hug a Day
Try this: Embrace your partner. Hold each other tightly. Begin to notice your partner’s breathing. Can you sync your breathing, inhaling and exhaling in rhythm with each other? On your inhales, feel the places where your bodies connect such as chest, belly, shoulders, forearms and hands. On your exhales, feel your feet heavy on the floor as you become grounded with your partner.
Imagine if you made this a ritual every evening when you reunite with your partner at home after the work day. It only takes a few minutes, but this simple exercise can reconnect you with your partner and reduce stress levels for the rest of the evening.
Back Massage…the ideal setting
The benefits of massage are endless: it reduces stress, relieves tension, and promotes restful sleep. Set aside some time at the end of your day to give your partner a back rub (and next time, it will be your turn). Make the massage a holistic experience; before beginning, create a space that will fill the senses.
Sound: play soft music your partner enjoys
Sight: dim overhead lights and light a few candles
Smell: add a few drops of your partner’s favorite essential oil to the massage lotion you will be using
Touch: Need some ideas on how to give a great backrub…that lasts more than 3 minutes…without tiring your hands? Join us On Saturday February 7th for our Partner’s Massage Workshop
Foot Massage…the weeknight reality
Life is busy and you may not have the time to give your partner a backrub every other night (ideally you should be alternating the roles of giver and receiver). But a 10 minute foot rub could be a reality: dinner is almost ready, the kiddos are doing homework or setting the table, so take a few minutes on the couch to care for your loved ones feet.
Sound: take these few minutes to share something fun or interesting about your day with your partner (steer clear of the stressful topics and scheduling details--this is the time to decompress and relax)
Sight: play a relaxing screensaver on your laptop like a crackling fireplace or ocean waves
Smell: a stew simmering on the stovetop or a casserole in the oven perhaps
Touch: slowly squeeze your partners foot in both of your hands, apply circular motions around the ankle bones with open hands, then use soft fist to gently compress the soles of the feet. Repeat on the other foot.
Invest some time and energy into deepening the connection you have with a loved one through compassionate touch! And make sure to check out our Partner's Massage Workshop coming up on Saturday, February, 7th!