Most people love getting massages, but outside of those who want to do it for a living, how many people care about giving good massages? Wouldn’t you like to get a better massage from your friend or partner? I mean, what’s better than dating someone that can get the occasional knot out of your back after you spent all day being a burgeoning social media king?
Presented by Lunar Massage of Adams Morgan and Mt. Vernon, something called a “Partners’ Massage Workshop” sounded like our kind of thing: fun, educational, and a little different than the average night out. So, we enlisted a ladyfriend and signed up for the $40 per couple, 90-minute class. The class took place at the Adams Morgan location last night and consisted of 10 couples, which means 20 people crowded into Lunar’s relatively modest space on Columbia Ave. Originally, we were on the waiting list when the class was only meant to be 6 couples, but thankfully they expanded the class, so I’m certainly willing to ignore a little shortage of space.
Besides the cramped space, there were definitely a shortage of comfortable/practical chairs (class did not any of the use tables or massage chairs), which is probably the one thing I’d look into if the workshop program is going to be continued. Ideally, you’d want a low to mid-sized back on a chair so the person receiving the massage had something to lean forward on and relax. Some of the lounge chairs were definitely not suited to sitting on comfortably for long amounts of time.
An hour-and-a-half is in no way a suitable time within which to learn about muscle groups and massage therapy beyond the very basics, since our instructor has logged over 5000 hours of training and service herself. But, the class was informative nonetheless. First and foremost, the techniques and mechanics of giving a massage were stressed, since failure to use your entire body at a correct angle when massaging will result in back soreness, which in our case when we failed to do what we were supposed to do, was definitely the case. (We also received first). You have to learn the “Dance of the Massage” folks. And then you have to pick your spots with wise-ass comments if you are looking to be the star patient of the class. You can very easy push too hard in this area, which should come as no surprise, metophorically-speaking.
The hand positions boiled down to palms, thumbs, fingers, soft fists and forearms, along with what you would probably describe as “chopping.” Using your elbow was described as an advanced technique, so it wasn’t covered. Areas of the body to to avoid were front of the neck, the spinal column, the kidney area, under the arm pits, and back of the knees. Best way to remember these areas: they don’t feel good at all when any sort of pressure is applied.
Overall, the class was a good idea and worthwhile experience. The studio was short on space. The explanation from the instructor was better for the first massage-giving than for the second. I tried to pay attention to some of the techniques during the first part, but you only absorb so much when you’re trying to relax. In the second part, we breezed through the techniques at about twice the speed. One of the points made by the instructor was to be sure to slow down when giving a massage; I think the second part of the class needed to do the same. Also, the ideal size of the class probably would be 6-8 couples, since with 10, I only got feedback form the instructor on one occasional and it was of the “looks good here” variety.
I might be asking too much for a 90 minute class, but I think with a few tweaks, this class would be a true bargain (and a Valentine’s Day requisite).