Massages 101

Massages 101
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 13, 2009

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Welcome to your ultimate guide on giving the most memorable massages, ever. This gallery contains insider tips and tricks, plus must-try products for your next DIY massage appointment.
We checked in with former NFL player Ed Hartwell who is also the husband of Bravo reality star, Lisa Wu. After witnessing Ed’s massaging skills on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” last week, we knew this brother had something to share.

“Over time, you will learn your partner’s likes and dislikes. I know that Lisa prefers light pressure. Get to know your mate,” advises the doting husband and father.

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“Massages are a great way to help your partner relax. It can also be a passion thing,” says Ed. He adds, “Don’t be afraid to use your knuckles, elbows, even your fists. Play around a bit to find out what they enjoy.”

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Scented candles are a necessity whenever an exotic massage is involved. We suggest the Sacred Glo Sensual Groove Lotion Candle, $24.99, sacredglo.com. Containing a delicious cocktail of lavender and vanilla, the scent is heavenly. Plus these candles are all-natural and you can use the warm lotion they produce to tease your partner!

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Ed shares, “I try to give my wife massages pretty often. It’s a good relaxing tool. She has hard days too.”

No time for a full-body massage like Ed and Lisa? With 19 bones in the hand and 14 small joints, a relaxing hand massage is a great pick-me-up when you can’t find the time for some serious pampering.

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Why not recreate the ambiance of your favorite spa for your sweetie? Prepare a refreshing pitcher of lemon or cucumber water in the space where you plan to get your massage on. If you’re really feeling frisky, splurge on a bottle of wine or champagne.

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On a recent “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” episode, Ed laid down his master massage skills and ensured that his wife Lisa had rose petals at her feet at every turn. Ladies, we’re not the only ones who appreciates such moves. Trust us, your man will be grateful for extra acts of kindness such as this. If your really feeling frugal, you can recycle the rose petals to make potpourri later.

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“You have to set the mood visually as a man or a woman when giving a massage. Dress the part. Your outfit is definitely important. It’s the small things that make the massage just right,” explains Ed.

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Ed says that smooth tunes are a must for a sensual, relaxing massage.

“You can never go wrong with old-school R&B like Luther [Vandross]. Romantic, dim lighting is important as well,” says Ed.

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Ed suggests spoiling your mate with decadent chocolate covered strawberries right after the massage. Or try dipping them or another fruit of your choice in a dessert wine to mix things up.

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It’s quite easy for couples to fall into routines once they’re been together for an extended amount of time. Ed agrees that massages can be a great way to spice up your love life. Consider surprising your honey with one this weekend!