in: Dating & Relationships

Exploring Couple’s Touch (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

Treat your honey to the ecstasy of massage from the comfort of your own home. Elise Fabricant, our favorite massage therapist, guides us in couple’s touch.

The media gives sex a lot of attention. But in most healthy relationships touch trumps sex for building a loving bond and helping you as partners feel connected.

Touch is one of the most fundamental ways of fostering and communicating intimacy in a romantic relationship. Personal accounts from long-term committed couples tell us how important the human touch is to a loving partnership.

These couples hug and kiss each other frequently. They may touch each other while chatting, sit shoulder to shoulder while talking, spoon each other in bed, massage each others’ shoulders after a long day—all in addition to sex. To touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence and to communicate your desire for them. That’s why the most successfully committed couples among us do it so often.

Tiffany Field, author of the book Touch, believes that touch is stronger than verbal or emotional contact. From many well-known studies we know that touch is critical for children’s growth, development, and health. Nevertheless, Fields asserts that many societies, including current American society, are also dangerously touch-deprived. Both children and adults (single and partnered) today suffer from a shortage of tactile stimulation, which she terms “touch hunger.”

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth,” writes Psychotherapist Virginia Satir. A full-body hug, especially one lasting longer than 20 seconds, physically decreases feelings of loneliness, combats fear, increases self-esteem and defuses tension.

The act of embracing floods our bodies with oxytocin, the “bonding hormone” that causes people to feel secure and trusting toward each other, lowers cortisol levels, and reduces stress. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which essentially promotes feelings of devotion and trust. Oxytocin levels go up with holding hands, hugging and with therapeutic massage.

Touching is one of the most intimate of all actions. It allows you to move into a sacred space, creating presence and connection. Clear communication should be used when touching. Ask your partner about pressure, frequency and intensity. Use direct eye contact and synchronized breath for even greater intimacy.

Try these three simple touching techniques to increase your relationship’s happiness and vitality:

1) Sensual Shoulder Squeezes

Help your partner release the weight of the world from their shoulders. Have your partner sit upright. Sit or stand behind them. With one or both hands, start a gentle squeezing motion at the top ridge of the shoulders, starting at the base of the neck and moving outwards. Gradually increase pressure. Hold a longer squeeze now and then. With your finger pads, start to “unroll” the top muscle (upper trapezious) back away from the collar bone. With permission from your partner, lightly pound the tops of the shoulders with the pinky side edges of your hands.

2) Fancy Face Fondles

Have your partner lie down and sit behind their head. With light strokes using the tips of your fingers, begin at their chin and move upwards to the cheekbones. Gradually increasing pressure, make little circles into the strong muscles of their jaws. Compress your finger pads under the cheekbones, from just outside the nostrils out to the ears. Give the ears a soft pull, out and downward. Make little circles in both directions around the temples. Use the palm of your hands to trace soft, sweeping motions on the forehead, from the middle outward through the hairline.

3) Heavenly Hand Hugging

In any position, hold your partner’s hand (palm faced down) and begin to gently pull to traction the wrist. Press your finger pads gently into and around the little wrist bones. Slide your fingers down from the back of their hand between the small finger bones. Pull each finger and the thumb, and jostle them side to side. Gently pinch and squeeze the webbing between the thumb and first finger (unless your partner is pregnant). Turn the palm up and knead the tip of your thumb into the meaty parts of their hand near the wrist. Draw circles in the center of the palm. Compress the flesh in between the mounds of each finger at the top of the palm.

[image: via pixabay]


headshot eliseWant to learn how to more confidently and effectively touch your partner, friends or family members? Join Elise Fabricant for an introduction to Massage workshop this month in Denver. During this unforgettable afternoon, you will learn massage techniques for the back, neck, head, face and hands, emphasizing continuity, clarity, and confidence. 

A licensed massage therapist since 2009, Elise has keen awareness of the human body. She practices a nurturing, Deep-Tissue Swedish style of bodywork. She has helped hundreds of clients compassionately, using thorough communication and honed intuition.

About the Author:

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