Guest Author - Lori Phillips
“Couples Massage” DVD
by Tiffany and Gary Blackden
2006©Tiffany and Gary Blackden
Massaging each other isn’t a new idea. But my attempts at giving my husband a relaxing massage involved short-winded bouts of rubbing and squeezing until my fingers hurt. When it was his turn to massage me, he kneaded and pinched my shoulders so hard I thought he left bruises. Then, he moved onto other areas of my body and forgot all about the massage. So much for relaxing.
But then, a DVD arrived in my mail. It’s hard not to make a snap judgment upon one’s first impression and mine of the Blackdens, who produced this DVD, was immediately positive. The husband and wife massage therapist team looks pleasant, vibrant and, well, real. Together, Tiffany and Gary Blackden have over 16 years experience in the massage industry. They built two highly successful massage therapy practices, trained hundreds of professional massage therapists and continue to teach workshops for couples.
In their important introduction to “Couples Massage,” they give a brief description of the basic uses and styles related to massage along with important cautionary info. They demonstrate their variations of Swedish massage techniques including long, flowing strokes, compression strokes and Petra massage strokes.
What I love about this DVD is that you learn real massage techniques but you don’t have to study or commit anything to memory. You can watch the video for visuals with music only (turn off the voice-over instructions) to help you while you are giving your partner a massage. It is a 50-minute, comprehensive full body massage broken into specific body parts: Breathing awareness, the right front leg, the left front leg, the right back leg, the face and so on.
Other tips: Set separate days on the calendar for giving and receiving, preferably not on days when you’re tired from work or other activities. Make massage time a “no-tickle zone” to allow for complete relaxation. And be sure to use candlelight, play some relaxing music, apply oils and lotions and use sheets to keep the focus on the body part being massaged. It really does set the mood. They even explain how to elicit a relaxation response to jumpstart your repose before your next massage even begins.
Did I learn something from this DVD? Absolutely. Not only did I learn highly effective, low-strain ways to use my hands, fingers, arms, and even feet while giving a massage, I learned vital info that could save my partner from injury. Gary explained that blood vessels and bones are closer to the skin in certain areas so they should be avoided during a massage. Previously, my “massages” were rub-and-pound sessions all over his body. I cringe to think I could have done some damage!
We loved this DVD so much that we did as Tiffany and Gary suggested and now set aside our own massage dates. It won’t make you a certified massage therapist (after all, there is a LOT to know about the human body and touch therapy) but it will show you how to give your partner a fantastic massage session that can reduce stress hormones, improve blood circulation, increase endorphins, and oh yes, make him feel really wonderful and thankful to you, his benevolent goddess of the loving touch. And a grateful spouse is a happy spouse--who will gladly give you an amazing massage in return. Be sure to watch this together!