Posts Tagged ‘valentines day’

5 Simple Steps to Massage Your Partner at Home

In our busy lives it can be hard to find time to connect with our partner in ways that strengthen our relationship and create more intimacy.  Giving your partner a simple at-home massage can be a great way to boost intimacy and help your partner feel nurtured. You don’t need to be a professional; all you need is some great massage oil (we recommend Kate’s Magik Aphrodisian Fire Body Oil), relaxing music, a bed, and your own two hands.  With Valentine’s season upon us, it’s a great time to light some candles, turn up the heater, and pamper your partner using these easy to follow steps for a simple whole body massage.  No experience necessary!

About Kate’s Magik Aphrodisian Fire Body Oil: Alluring and sensual, aphrodisian fire enhances romance and excites the senses.  Evoking Aphrodite, this exotic blend highlights wood and flower notes. Sandalwood and patchouli are deep and sensual, while sultry rose and flowery ylang ylang instill a sense of passion and romance.

Prepare your massage space

    • Cover your bed with an old towel or blanket that you don’t mind getting oily.  Have one or two pillows on hand to make your partner more comfortable. If you’d like warm oil, you can fill a large bowl with hot water and place the oil bottle in it.  Have an extra towel on hand to clean up any messes.
    • Your partner may be more comfortable lying face down with a pillow under their chest, then they can turn their head to one side.  Have your partner put their arms along their side, with palms up.
    • When your partner turns face up, they may want a pillow under their knees or head.
    • Use your whole hand while massaging, palm and underside of fingers will be touching your partner’s skin.
    • Keep your back straight while massaging and use the weight of your body to put pressure, rather than just your hands.
    • Before you start, place your hands on your partner’s back, and take several deep breaths together.  Set an intention to be the giver, and honor the gift you are about to give your partner.

Massaging in the Back

    • Sit at your partner’s head, preferably in a kneeling position.  Sit on a pillow for extra knee support. Rub a few squirts of oil between your hands.  Place your hands, palm down, at the base of your partner’s neck, with the spine between your thumbs.
    • Glide your hands down your partner’s back, staying next to the spine.  At the top of the buttocks, glide your hands out to the top of your partner’s hips, then slide your hands up their sides and onto their shoulder blades.
    • Make several circles with your whole palms over the shoulder blades.
    • Starting with hands-on their shoulder blades, glide your hands down their back with your hands moving toward each other so they come together over the top of your partner’s buttocks.  Again, glide over the top of their hips, then slide your hands back together over their low back.
    • Slide your hands up their back with the spine between your thumb edges.
    • At the top of the shoulders, slide your hands out over the tops of their shoulders and then slide them back together to the base of your partner’s neck.  Repeat 3 – 5 times.
    • Starting at the base of the neck, slide your palms out over the tops of your partner’s shoulders.  Slide onto their very upper arm and then slide each palm all the way down their arms, onto their hands and then slide off their hands with your fingers going between theirs.
    • Repeat these strokes 3 – 5 times, varying direction and combining them as you like.  Use more oil as needed.

Massaging Back of Legs

    • Sit at the outside edge of your partner’s lower leg.  Rub some oil into your hands. Start with your hands, palm down, on either side of your partner’s ankle.
    • Glide your hands up the sides of your partner’s leg, all the way to their hip and inner thigh.  Bring your hands together at the top of the thigh and slide your hands all the way down to their heel. Repeat 3 – 5 times, applying more oil as needed.
    • Now slide your way up the back of your partner’s leg making circles with each palm in an alternating pattern. (right-hand circles over middle and side of leg, left hand circles over the middle leg and inner calf/thigh, move up a few inches and repeat).  Go back down the leg with the same pattern, alternating the direction of your circles.
    • Repeat on the second leg.

Massaging Neck and Arms

    • Turn your partner face up and sit above their head.  Rub some oil on your hands. Place your palms at the base of your partner’s neck, with fingers facing your partner’s upper back and palms against the base of the neck where it meets the shoulders.  Glide your hands out to the tops of your partner’s arms, then glide down over the outside of their arms down to the elbow. Slide your hands under their arms and then glide back up under their arms, under their upper back and up to the base of their skull.  Repeat 3 – 5 times.
    • With your fingertips at the base of the skull, on either side of the spine, make small circles, letting the fingers move the muscles slightly.  Check-in with your partner about pressure, the more you press your fingers up, the more pressure they will feel. Continue making small circles on the neck muscles, moving downward toward the upper back.
    • Slide your hands under your partner’s upper back, with your fingers on the muscles between the shoulder blades and spine.  Glide your hands up to the base of the skull. Repeat 3 times.
    • Sit at your partner’s side near their hand.  With oil on your hands, place one hand on your partner’s wrist.  Slide that hand up their arm to the shoulder, followed immediately by your second hand.  Slide one hand under their shoulder and keep the other hand over the front of the upper arm.  Slide both hands down the arm to the hand while squeezing your hands slightly to create pressure.  Repeat 3 – 5 times. 
    • Repeat on the second arm.

Massaging Legs and Feet

    • Sit at your partner’s side near their ankle.  With oil on your hands, place your palms and fingers on either side of your partner’s ankle.  Slide your hands up the sides of their leg to the upper thigh/outer hip.
    • Bring your thumb edges together at the middle of the upper thigh, with your palms and other fingers resting on the sides of the upper thigh.  Slide your hands away from each other toward the sides of the leg. Move your hands down a few inches and slide your hands away from each other again.  Continue this down the leg to the ankle, watching out not to press on the knee bone or the shin bone.
    • Repeat these two steps 3 – 5 times, using more oil as needed.
    • Place hands on foot, with one palm on top of the foot and other on the bottom.  Slide your hands up and down your partner’s foot, from toes to heel/ankle, pressing your hands toward each other.  Repeat several times.
    • Using fingers, make circles around the ankle bones.  Rub your palm in a circular motion over the front of the ankle.  Finish by rubbing your palm in a circular motion over the bottom of the foot, from toes to heel and back again.  Use a loose fist to make circles if your partner wants more pressure.
    • Repeat on the second leg and foot.

When you’ve finished massaging your partner, place your palms on the bottom of their feet and take several deep breaths together.  Take some time to snuggle up with your partner and let them give you some appreciation, in whatever form it comes. Enjoy the time you’ve spent together, even if you stumbled through, and know that moments like these are precious.  And make sure to find a time when your partner can take a turn as the giver too!

Heather Bishop, CMTHeather Bishop is the Massage Therapy Supervisor at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary.  She has been practicing massage and bodywork for over 17 years and performs a wide variety of modalities, specializing in deep tissue and east-west fusion massage.  In addition to massage, Heather is also a Registered Yoga Teacher of 15 years and teaches at Soulstice in Santa Rosa.  She loves having daily opportunities to help others and is a proud member of the Osmosis team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Greener Valentine’s Day: 5 Ways to Align With Your Love for the Planet

by  | Best Practices and ToolsClimate ChangeSustainability

You survived the holidays. But are you ready for the next big consumer-oriented holiday: Valentine’s Day?

I am a romantic at heart (I painted the heart painting above), but the tradition of celebrating love with chocolate, roses, and jewelry leaves a wake of environmental destruction that is not so romantic. Greenhouse gases, unfair labor practices, and waste are left in the wake of shipping roses from Ecuador, sourcing chocolate overseas, and mining for minerals. According to TerraPass, Americans spend about $2 billion on flowers for Valentine’s Day and purchase over 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate (75% of them sourced from Africa).

Over 80% of cut flowers are imported, creating a carbon footprint of over 20 million pounds of CO2. According to The Guardian, “The majority of those flowers will come from Colombia and Ecuador, two of the world’s leading producers. But these countries, and their flower industries specifically, have troubled records of abusing workers or hiring children, and your well-intentioned roses might go toward supporting some of these practices.”

Show the planet some love this Valentine’s Day and consider these five ideas for a greener day of love.

1. Make Your Own Card

Americans are expected to spend $1 billion on cards for Valentine’s Day, according to the Greeting Card Association. Be a rebel and make your own card. This idea came from my boyfriend, a third grade teacher, who has his students make cards for each other—no store bought cards allowed. Each is personalized by completing the statement, “I like (or admire) you because…” Get out some old cards, images from magazines, colored paper, glue, crayons/markers, and scissors, and make a card the old-fashioned way.

Image: Janice Sandeen

2. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative, so this Valentine’s Day make time to get outside and take a walk on the wild side. Living in the Bay Area, it is easy to get outdoors and reconnect with nature and a date, or yourself. According to a study from Stanford access to natural areas is “vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.” Here are some of the best hikes in the Bay Area, according to KQED.

3.  Be Present Instead of Buying a Present

Mindfulness isn’t just for robe-wearing monks; it can be a gift for your relationship as well. Instead of buying your sweetie a gift, consider spending the day together at a local gem, Spirit Rock Meditation CenterOn February 17, Spirit Rock is offering Heart Practices for Couples“An opportunity for couples to awaken the heart of joy and love together…Through partner meditations, verbal and nonverbal communication exercises and group sharing, couples will practice the art of intimacy and learn skills to deepen the shared journey.

4.  Just Don’t Spend

We spend over $18 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day, with 20% of consumer’s buying jewelry. Mining for precious metals and gems for jewelry can have serious environmental and human rights implications. Here are a few gift ideas from the heart that don’t require major consumption:

  • Give a massage (add a few drops of organic essential oil to sesame oil);
  • Take some time to answer the New York Times’ 36 questions, known to cultivate love and intimacy;
  • Make a homemade meal from local, fresh ingredients;
  • Plan an activity to do together; or
  • Write a love letter.

5. Eat Ethical Chocolate

If you can’t resist buying your sweetie something sweet, take a moment to pick an ethical brand.  According to an article in Grist, for the world’s biggest chocolate makers, practices like child slave labor, rainforest demolition, and heavy reliance on GMOs are just a part of doing business. When it comes to chocolate, it is not so simple as looking for organic or fair trade label.  A great resource is Rainforest Alliance, which certifies chocolate that’s better for the environment and that ensures cocoa farmers have good living and working conditions. Grist recommends a visit to San Francisco-based Dandelion Chocolate, which exemplifies an ethical brand.

Chocolate is also fueling climate change. The HuffPost recently stressed, “Your afternoon chocolate bar may be fueling climate change, destroying protected forests and threatening elephants, chimpanzees and hippos in West Africa, research suggests.” Deforestation-linked cocoa has entered the supply chains of some of the biggest players in the chocolate industry; A report from Mighty Earth, Chocolate’s Dark Secret, found that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Mars, Nestle, Hershey’s, Godiva, and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in dwindling national parks and reserves in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The good news is that 22 major chocolate companies recently made a promise to stop destroying forests in West Africa, a huge step to save our planet’s rainforest. But this is just the start. Please consider signing the petition to tell Cadbury and Ferrero to commit to no new deforestation for cocoa worldwide.