couples massage

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What Is a Couples Massage & What to Expect

BY: Editors | Jul 17, 2018

If you’ve never had a couple’s massage, you’re missing out on one of the most relaxing and intimate spa services available. Let Monica Jaso, a licensed massage therapist and director of spa operations for Swissôtel Chicago's Spa 42, answer your questions about this memorable experience.

What is a couples massage?

The answer is simpler than you think. A couple’s massage is when you and a friend each enjoy a massage side-by-side with two therapists that work at the same time. Depending on the spa, a  couple’s massage may include soothing music, aromatherapy, candle lighting, and other relaxing amenities.

How much does a couples massage cost?

For a 60-minute massage, you can expect to pay anywhere between about $80–$150. For a longer session, you'll end up paying a little more, but you might be happy you did once you're experiencing it.

Can I eat before the massage?

"Eating beforehand is OK, but do it at least an hour before so you're not lying on a full belly," Monica says. "And don't have a massage at 6 o'clock and then make a dinner reservation for 7:30, because then you're rushing to get there and you're not going to enjoy that nice, relaxing massage you just had."

I've heard that if I come early (or stay late), there might be extras?

Many spas include complimentary access to saunas, pools, fitness centers, and other amenities with treatment reservations.

"By all means, make use of that," Monica says. "A lot of people [don't] take advantage of those facilities." If it's a hotel spa, there may even be an onsite restaurant.

If your spa doesn't have those extras, you should still show up a little early. "If you come too close to the appointment time, you might be rushing around, the therapists might be rushing around, and ... you can feel that rushed energy." Monica suggests arriving 15–20 minutes before your appointment time.

Do we each have to get the same treatment?

Nope! As with a solo session, couples massages should still include personalized consultations with the massage therapists.

"Usually people have individual wants and needs for their own bodies," Monica says. "Someone might have shoulder tension; someone else might have just had ankle surgery and want attention on their legs."

And it's not just about focus areas, either. Couples should feel free to ask for different modalities. If one person just wants to relax, Swedish is probably enough for them. If the other person wants a more therapeutic treatment, "then by all means, get the deep tissue, get the sports massage. Don't limit yourself."

Can l include add-ons?

It's very likely the spa will have no problem with this.

Has your partner had an especially stressful time at work lately? Then ask about aromatherapy, as scented essential oils can help calm the mind better than massage alone. Is it a particularly cold day? Add hot stones!

Can I talk during the massage?

Yes...but it's not recommended.

"One time, this married couple came in," Monica begins. "And 20 or 30 minutes into the [couples] massage, they're nice and relaxed, and it's nice and quiet, and all of a sudden you hear her call out, 'Honey? Honey, how are ya feelin'?'

"And you can see his shoulders raise up a little bit, and she's like, 'How ya feelin' over there? Are you relaxed?' And he just chuckled and was like, 'Well, I was until you opened your big mouth!'"

Monica chuckles at the memory of the interaction. Luckily, the husband in her story wasn't bothered much, but not every spouse is as patient. The takeaway: if you're giving your partner a couples massage, you should probably have a chat before your appointment about, well, chatting.

Will there be champagne?

Possibly.

A lot of spas offer champagne with couples massages, but watch your intake before andafter the treatment. "If you do drink afterward, it can hit you a lot faster because your circulatory system is going a lot quicker," Monica says. A little alcohol is OK, but make sure you drink plenty of water, too.

Do I have to bring a significant other?

Not at all.

Sure, couples massages make great romantic gifts for women and men. But Monica says plenty of platonic pairs come through Spa 42's couples room—siblings, friends, mothers and daughters. "There's been more than I would have expected." The most important thing is just choosing someone you can really relax and enjoy the experience with.

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Your First Couple’s Massage

by bardw

A couple’s massage allows partners, spouses, mom’s and daughters, sons and dads, BFFs or anyone else to experience massage together in the same room as one therapist works with each person.  Couple’s massage is a shared bonding experience that can have many benefits beyond just the bodywork session.

What to expect

For many couple’s massage recipients it’s their first trip to see a massage therapist. You may have been invited by a someone who’s experienced at receiving a massage who wanted to share the experience. Or maybe it’s a special occasion?  Or maybe a “surprise” gift? The good news is that qualified and professional therapists are used to massage “newbies” and will ensure you are comfortable, give you all the information you ned to have a great session, and be open to answering any of your questions. Our first priority is maintaining guest comfort and protecting your modesty while making sure that the specific therapeutic needs of each client are met.

 

Typically, you should arrive 10-15 minutes before your session so that you can fill out some simple, but important paperwork.  This paperwork gives specific information to the therapist so they can tune the session to your needs.  The form will ask about any areas of your body that might be sore, tender or in pain, as well as areas you’d rather the therapist avoid. It will also ask about medical conditions relevant to massage therapy, and a few basic questions about your overall wellness.

During this time you can drink some water or use the restroom. You should also silence your cell phone for the duration of your session. If you’re interested in any extras, such as aromatherapy, for one or both of you, let the front desk know.

The main event

Once it’s time for your session to begin, the therapists will come and guide each of you to the therapy room.  They’ll go over the form and ask questions.  This is a GREAT time for YOU to ask questions too!  If your form indicates you’re a first-timer, the therapist will take extra care to make sure you know what to expect. Each therapist will then ready the room, then leave and allow each of you to undress to your comfort level.  Typically, for a full-body massage, this means underwear, but many long-time therapy recipients will completely undress.  There’s NO wrong way to do this, just be comfortable.  Once you’ve undressed, you’ll lay on the massage table under the sheets.  After a few minutes, your therapists will knock on the door, then return to the session room, adjusting your linens and often placing support under your feet or knees.

During the session you will be covered (draped) at all times, unveiling only the parts the therapist is working on, then recovering and moving on.  A skilled therapist is an expert draper and it’ll all seem completely comfortable while it’s happening.

The therapist will work intuitively to relax your muscles, explore trouble spots, and pay special attention to any areas you marked on your intake form.  Sometimes they will use oils, lotions, or creams to help make the bodywork more effective. Typically, these lubricants are hypoallergenic and scent-free, but sometimes they contain wonderful essential oils, like lavender, to enhance the experience.

About half way through the session, the therapist will coach you on how to turn over (still under the covers) and get ready for the next steps in your body work.

While most people are quiet during a session, but you should ALWAYS feel comfortable communicating with your therapist about things like pressure. Your therapist will probably check in once or twice to make sure you are comfortable.

The afterparty

At the end of the session, the therapist will signal you and both therapists will leave the room allowing you to carefully get off the table and redress.  Once dressed, open the door – that’s the universal sign that you’re ready to see the therapist again.  The therapists will talk to you a bit about the session and make any recommendations for further care, then escort you to reception for payment and rebooking.  You may leave a gratuity in the room (20% is common) or put it on the credit card when you check out.

It’s not unusual for you to feel super-relaxed after the session, so plan a bit of time to come out of your fog after you finish.  You can prolong that feeling by drinking lots of water and taking it easy for an hour or two. It’s totally OK to do something very active after massage, too, though, and you’ll likely find your flexibility and range of motion are better than ever as you run, hike, walk or play sports.

At the desk, you’ll have an opportunity to schedule additional sessions, find out about products that might be for sale, pay for your services.

So if you get a chance to participate in a couple’s massage session, don’t stress.  It is a wonderful, shared experience that you won’t forget.