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FIVE Tips for giving a GREAT massage

Are you giving your Valentine a massage tonight? Technique is important, but it's not everything. Check out our top 5 tips for transforming your at home massage into a great experience for both of you.

1. The setting. Turn off all gadgets. Turn off or ignore your phone. Gentle music (think -- slow down your heart rate). No distractions.

2. Set your intention. Do you actually like massage? Do you remember how good it feels? Focus on your memory of that sensation and use it as your inspiration as you touch your partner. Try not to approach them as an object to be manipulated or a piece of dough to be kneaded. They are a human body to be nurtured and touched.

3. Soft hands. If you use the "grip grip" technique to squeeze your partner's muscles, you are going to tire fast, deliver ineffective massage and you will both be frustrated. Use your body weight to deliver pressure with your full hand, keeping your hand relaxed. Your hand is there to deliver pressure from your body weight, not to squeeze your loved one's muscles.

4. Surface Area. If you're gonna touch them, really touch them. Really commit to being with them and completely attending to them in this time you have set aside. Instead of just using your fingertips, make sure to use the entire surface of your hand. Maximize the amount of your hand's skin that touches their skin.

5. Stop time. Slow it down. Way down. Slower. Even slower. When you receive massage, 20 minutes can seem like 2 minutes. It is our job as the "giver" to help stretch those 20 minutes out with long, slow strokes.

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