If there’s one thing I can say with certainty about my man it’s that he enjoys a good massage. And heck, I don’t blame him; I’m a sucker for a great rubdown too. I’ve written several articles in the past about all the health benefits of massages (trust me, there’s a whole laundry list of ‘em!). This time, however, I wanted to explore a lesser talked about aspect: the relationship benefits of a couples massage.
Specifically, I wanted to find out firsthand how — or if — a couples massage could help our love life, not just physically, but emotionally as well. Thus, as any good researcher would do, I spoke with a few experts and booked an appointment for us over at the renowned Exhale Spa in Hollywood. Read on to see if our actual experience supported the facts!
The facts: A couples massage helps you reconnect.
Often, couples are busy and find little time to be alone without worrying about what they need to get done or haven’t gotten done that day, notes Esther Boykin, a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-founder of Group Therapy Associates. “But during a massage session, people are almost instinctually driven to let go of the past and the future and turn their attention to the present moment. This practice of being fully engaged in an activity together that can help couples reconnect, and with a little effort, they can bring that same level of mindful awareness to their time outside of the massage,” she says.
In our experience this is…pretty darn accurate!
We were 20 minutes late getting to Exhale (that’s LA traffic for you), so I remember bickering a bit back and forth on the way there about that. As soon as we got changed into our bathrobes and were lying in a bed full of pillows waiting for our massage therapists back in the spa’s zen lounge, all of our worries seemed to melt away. Seriously, it was like we weren’t annoyed at each other at all anymore and our massages hadn’t even started! We just wanted to cuddle up on that ridiculously cozy bed, relaxed and giddy with anticipation at the thought of a much-needed hour-long massage. I have to say, the argument from earlier that morning was never mentioned again.
The facts: A couples massage increases feeling of affection.
According to Stef Safran, dating expert and owner of Chicago matchmaking and social networking service Stef and the City, massages stimulate the release of many feel-good hormones, which boost feelings of intimacy and affection. “Most notably, touch increases oxytocin (otherwise known as the ‘cuddle-chemical’), as well as serotonin and dopamine,” he explains. “So basically, a couple's massage is pretty much a scientific love potion.”
In our experience this is…so true.
As I mentioned above, we were feeling super snuggly prior to the whole massage part. After an amazing full body rubdown though, it’s no surprise that we literally couldn’t quit smiling or keep our hands off of each other. We shared a quick kiss (okay, like five), before heading straight back to the zen lounge for some more cuddle time. If we hadn’t been starving, we probably would have stayed at Exhale all day! Ah, the relaxation…
The Facts: A couples massage makes you want to get it on.
“A massage causes all of the muscles in your body to relax, which, in turn, relaxes your mind,” points out Carole Lieberman, M.D., relationship expert and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. “This makes you feel less anxious about being with your partner on an emotional and a sexual level. Plus, massages stop short of orgasm (or at least they’re supposed to), leaving you hovering on the brink and ready for your lover to complete the act.”
In our experience this is…right on point.
Um, not going to lie. My boyfriend did propose we do it right there on the table afterward. We didn’t of course, but things definitely heated up in the bedroom later on that day!
The Facts: A couples massage encourages bonding.
“Research tells us that partners who continue to inject novelty into their relationships have closer, more rewarding bonds,” details couples therapist Dr. Holly Cox of Lotus Therapy Center in Raleigh, NC. “I think couples massage, for couples in which both partners find the idea interesting, can offer an avenue to that shared adventure.”
In our experience this is…spot on.
My boyfriend and I have always made it a habit to try new things together, whether it be a couples massage or a restaurant that just opened up in town. This helps spice things up in our relationship and brings us closer. Two weeks later and we’re still yapping about how awesome our massages at Exhale were (seriously, can we go back already?). It’s an experience we’ll never forget and a fond memory we’ll hold near and dear to our hearts.
Exhale has locations in nine different cities across the U.S. To find a spa near you and book a couples massage, visit www.exhalespa.com.
- Couple’s Fusion Massage (60 minutes) – $260
- Couple’s Deep Tissue (60 minutes) – $290
- Couple’s Flow Massage (60 minutes) – $290