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How to Give a Great Massage

Find out how to give a massage to a partner & to a baby. Plus: The best oils

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How to Give a Great Massage
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I'm a huge fan of massages. I love getting them and I love getting them. As a pre-teen, I gave my mother hours-long massages. She'd call me into her bedroom where I'd find her lying face down on her bed in a slip. I'd rub her shoulders, arms, back, legs and feet and I'd say things like, "Tell me about your childhood." And she would. These were great bonding times between us. I didn't know what I was doing, but I kneaded and rubbed away, using my mother's happy sighs as signs for where she wanted more pressure and where I should stick around for a bit.

The benefits of massage are extraordinary, so much so the "Attachment Parenting theory" recommends parents give their infants and children massages. Olympians swear by them. Doctors recommend them. I try to get a massage at least twice a month. You can score deals on massages through discount Websites such as Lifebooker, Groupon and Living Social. I like to buy packages of 10 massages, which save me about 15 percent.

Since massages can be pricey, I strongly recommend you and your partner learn how to give yourself massages. They relieve stress, bring you closer to your family member and allow you to do something nice for someone you love. Here are some tips on how to give a killer massage.

Take a Couples Massage Class

You can learn basic massage techniques in a massage class. Bring along your partner so you can both learn the tricks necessary to give a relaxing massage. Find a class through your local college or adult ed programs provided by the city by searching for "couples massage, (insert your city here)" via Google or Bing.

Some massage classes in the US include:

My Favorite How-Tos on Giving a Massage

There are so many wonderful online resources for massage. Here are some great how-tos I found on the Web:

What Type of Products Work Best for Massage?

A word about massage products: I've found oils work much better than creams for massages. I like any kind of health food store oils, and found that sweet almond oil is my all-time favorite massage oil. I also like extra virgin coconut oil in a pinch. It's all-natural and soaks beautifully into the skin. Just be sure to lay down a towel on the bed before you give your friend, partner or child a massage because oils can be messy.

For more information on massage oils, see Which Massage Oil is Best? on About.com's AltMedicine Website.

How to GET a Great Massage

So what if you don't want to do your own massages and you want to just get them? I've received dozens (and I mean dozens) of massages over the years and I've had a lot of good ones, a couple "meh" ones and a few amazing ones. So what makes a great massage? Find out in What Makes a Spa Massage Good? and get the scoop on the various types of massages you can get in a spa. You'll learn the difference between Swedish, shiatsu, sports and rolfing as well as many other types of massage.

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