Why Your Hands are Hurting: 5 Amateur Massage Mistakes

couples massage
Love, Self

Spoil your partner with a decadent massage! We troubleshoot the most common massage mistakes.

It’s an all-too-familiar scene: you offer to give your partner a shoulder rub, knowing they’ve had a long day at home. But rather than scoring the brownie points you should for such pampering, you only manage to last a few minutes before you tap out with a sprained thumb.

So what you can you do to make sure you last a good 20 minutes when massaging your sweetie at home?

Here are the five most common mistakes we see, along with some tips on how to fix them.

1. You’re trying too hard
You want to impress! That’s good! But putting a lot of effort into the massage will only result in tense hands and hunched shoulders, which will show in your massage.

A massage should be effortless and fluid. In order to do this, you’re going to have to relax. Loosen your wrists, drop your shoulders and breathe. The more relaxed you can get, the more relaxed your partner will get as you massage them.

2. You’re going too deep too soon
The deep stuff is the good stuff, right? You’re absolutely correct, but here’s a little secret: massage is a lot of smoke and mirrors. Even the hardcore remedial therapists aren’t going deep on your muscles for 100% of the massage. They know when to go deep and where to go deep.

Trying to deliver a deep tissue massage right off the bat is fighting a losing battle — and you’re wasting your precious energy. First, you need to get rid of the surface tension on the muscles you’re working on. You need to warm them up and romance your partner’s body a little bit.

Start with long, sweeping massage strokes until you feel your sweetie start to relax under your hands. Then you can begin to apply more pressure and work knots.

3. You’re using your thumbs
Your thumbs are tiny little things. Don’t ask them to work all the tension out of larger muscle groups, it’s exhausting work.

Think of your thumbs as your secret weapon. Start by warming up the muscles, then use your full hand to apply pressure and work knots. Only after a good 15 minutes of massaging — when your partner is moaning and groaning for more — only then can you bring your thumbs out.

Even then, you only want to use your thumbs for specific areas and in short bursts. Find a little knot and work it with your thumbs for a few seconds, then switch back to your broad strokes. Repeat.

4. You’re using your arm strength
We see a lot of this when ladies are trying to massage their big, bulky men. Using all the muscles in your arms is tiring. There’s a smarter way to get the level of pressure your men are looking for — and that’s to use your body weight.

Keep your arms straight and steady and think about putting your entire body weight behind the strokes. Lean on him. Lean into him. Drop weight onto the top of his shoulders. Push with your body, not just your hand.

This may require you moving your body position around a bit when massaging. Experiment with this and ask for his feedback. With a bit of intuition and guidance, you’ll be able to achieve the right pressure without the sore arms.

5. You’re massaging the wrong bits
First, we only massage muscle. Not bone. Second, when we are massaging muscles, there is a time to go light and a time to go deep.

Massage smarter, not harder. Go deep where you know your partner is sore. There are specific areas of each muscle that hold tension. This is where to focus your best attention. The rest of the muscle just needs some gentle, rhythmical stroking.

Use your hands (and your partner’s feedback) to seek out knots, gritty bits and tense spots. This is your map of where to go deep. Don’t waste your efforts on the parts of the muscle that don’t require the hard work.

Explore YourTango