02 Sep

How to get better at giving and receiving massage…

Simple tips, amazing results...

If you’re interested in my massage course for couples you’ve probably asked yourself, at some point, ‘how do I get better at giving massage?‘ It’s my belief and experience that being able to give amazing massage and touch is not just something you ‘do’…it’s something you ‘are’. It’s not something I can teach you in a nice neat formula, or something you can learn in a book, it’s not rigid techniques and skills. Having lots of certificates and qualifications in massage does not automatically mean you are ‘good’ at massage (we’ve all had underwhelming massage experiences from ‘professionals’ right?!)

Good touch is an embodiment of the way you live your life being communicated through your hands to hear, see, feel and respond to the other.

Being able to touch or give massage in a way that allows your partner to feel moved, opened, safe and stimulated, begins with connecting to your own body. Having awareness of the movement, flow and emotional fluctuations of your own body on a subtle, energetic level is more powerful than any technique, structure or form you can learn with your mind. To get better at giving massage and touch to others, you have to be actively, joyously and lovingly practicing giving and receiving touch with yourself.

Touch yourself...

Here is a great practice to help you start refining your receptivity to sensation, and your ability to choose where your attention goes. Practice this regularly on yourself and then, when you are giving massage or touch to someone else, you will be more skilled in focussing your attention (not getting stuck up in your head in distractions, or patterns of ‘performing’ and ‘pleasing’). This in turn will make you more aware of your partner’s subtle body language and responses, and your touch will be naturally more in line with their needs and desires. It will also make you more skilled in receiving sensation through your hands. This means you can enjoy exploring your partner’s body rather than simply ‘doing to’ them in a disconnected way. It also opens up channels of direct pleasure for you as the giver!

  • Sit down comfortably somewhere, allow your back to be supported so your spine and belly can relax.
  • Choose one area of your body – for example your forearm, the inside of your thigh or your neck.
  • Now, take your dominant hand (the hand you write with) to that area and touch yourself as if you are the giver.
  • Move slowly, let the hand be soft and relaxed, focus your attention on the sensations moving INTO the hand.
  • Allow your awareness to drop into your fingertips, the palm and edges of your hand, and see if you can experience the pleasure available to you as the giver.
  • Bring the hand to stillness, move it away from the body and take a breath.
  • Then return the hand and touch yourself as if you are the receiver.
  • Again, move slowly, focus your attention on the sensations moving INTO the body.
  • Allow your awareness to fall to your skin, your muscles, your bones of the area being touched and see if you can experience the pleasure of receiving.

Spend as much time on each as you want. Remember to keep the breath deep and constant, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Notice any thoughts that jump into your mind: ‘this is silly, I can’t feel anything, I must remember to do X, Y and Z later’ etc. and just let those thoughts pass. Notice any emotions that arise in your body and give them space to be expressed – sadness, embarrassment, frustration, arousal, just feel whatever is there.

I include at least 5 minutes of this beautiful self-touch practice in my day, every single day. It’s simple, it doesn’t require special equipment or setting. You could literally do this on the back of your hand whilst you’re sitting on the bus! Using my own body as a practice ground in this way, and building these skills, helps me to create the difference between an enjoyable or a mind-blowing quality of touch, a good massage and a sublime one. You will never get better at giving massage if you do not actively engage your own body in practicing.

How to relax with your partner...

A good massage, or touch experience, is as much about the way we receive as the way touch is given. If you, as the receiver, go into the experience with an expectation of disappointment, or a dense barrier of fear and mistrust, or a lack of ability to be present with (and feel) your own sensations, then even the most skilled practitioner will have a tough time connecting you with relaxation and pleasure!

Being fully open as a receiver means trusting, guiding and giving feedback, showing the deepest parts of ourself in each moment without fear of judgement. The art of receiving is an invitation to let go of self consciousness and ‘what the other might think of us‘ and just be present with the experiences of our body. Being open to truly receive involves a sense of curiosity and playfulness. If you feel that you struggle with receiving during massage or intimacy, you can try exploring my foundations of active receiving…

1. Focus on the here and now:

There is neither past nor future, only the present. Your thoughts and your ‘to do list’ can be paused. When being massaged, let your awareness settle in your body. Feel the touch, the pressure, the warmth. Feel the contact of your skin with your partner’s hands. Feel any and all sensations arising in your body. Let thoughts, judgements and stories drift in and out like clouds.

2. Focus on physical sensation:

Allow yourself to feel how your body reacts to stimuli that come. There is no need to analyse and over specify anything. Just be aware of your body and let the chattering mind relax.

3. Deepen and maintain the flow of breath:

Intentionally deepening and slowing the breath has a profound effect on your nervous system: creating deeper relaxation and capacity for sensation and pleasure. You can read more about this in my previous blog post here. Staying connected with your breath as a receiver deepens and intensifies the effects of any conscious touch.

4. Allow sound and expression:

Explore and play with vocal expression of how your body feels: hums, moans, sighs, yawns, laughter etc. You can read more about this in my previous blog post here. There is no need to talk or use words if you don’t need them. Frequently, our language is too limited to express experiential things. Non-verbal expression can help to ‘mute’ the thinking mind and keep you present with your body. It’s also a big step in burning through self-consciousness that blocks you from accessing deeper states of relaxation. There’s no need to ‘perform’ or ‘ham it up’ for the benefit of your giver, just get curious about what feels good for your body.

5. Let your body move:

To actively receive we need to participate in what is happening with our body. I often compare this to stroking a cat: the cat does not lie there, rigid, passive, unmoving. No, the cat will arch it’s back, turn it’s neck to you, allow the energy of your touch to move into and through it’s body. It is only natural to move during massage. Nothing needs to be forced or exaggerated, but you can connect with gentle, natural motions that correspond to the movement of energy or sensations in your body. So, you might wiggle, wriggle, bend, shake your legs, sway your hips, stretch yourself, or whatever feels right in each moment. You can read more about this in my previous blog post here.

So, whether you’re giving or receiving touch, remember you can deepen your experience and connect with your body on more subtle orgasmic or healing levels if you can be truly present to yourself and the other, with no agenda to ‘take’ anything, ‘achieve’ anything or ‘be a certain way’.

If you’re interested in deepening your experience of touch, as an individual or as a couple, then booking a session with me can be a great step.

With Love,

Libby

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Hi, I’m Libby... I'm a masseuse, a sex coach and embodiment coach. My focus is on helping you to feel more: both physically and emotionally. I work with clients who have specific issues around their relationship to sex, arousal, body image and pleasure. I also work with people who want to explore and expand their capacity for pleasure, or who just enjoy the luxury and intimacy of full body massage. I came to this work after a decade or so spent (variously) as a personal trainer, sports masseuse, pole dancer, musician and events manager. I've studied & trained in Somatic Sex Education, The Wheel of Consent, TRE and Tantric Bodywork (amongst other things). I blend my knowledge and experience of the physical body with my desire to create a healthier understanding in the world of sex, sexuality, boundaries, emotional communication, arousal and pleasure. You can read more about me and my qualifications on the 'About Me' page of the website.

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