Suggest an amateur massage-related gift to give to my partner.
December 10, 2015 7:33 AM   Subscribe

My partner carries a lot of tension in his back and neck, so he likes to get massages from me. I'm looking for a Christmas gift for him that I can use to give better massages. Nothing too complicated--I'm very much an amateur. I don't want to give him a gift certificate for a professional massage as I've done that already and he hasn't used it yet.

I'd like something I can order online, but it can be available in either the U.S. or the U.K. It can be something really cheap or preferably up to around $30 or so, although if it's something really awesome I might be willing to go up to around $50. Also, I'm not particularly looking for something in the "sensual massage" range although if there's an element of that in a product you recommend that's fine. I've looked at some "massage kits" that include a CD of allegedly peaceful sounds/music and, uh, that's not really us either.

Even if there's just a small bottle of massage oil that you think is great, suggest away! I have been on the receiving end of Lush massage bars, and while they're nice, I wasn't blown away by them, and they seem kind of costly for the amount of use you get from them.
posted by tiger tiger to Shopping (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
How about these? I have tried all sorts of doohickies, and although I did purchase these, I haven't actually used them. But they seem like they would be good for different levels of pressure if you used them on him. I bought them because I wanted something that I could potentially use myself by lying on the floor and letting it dig into my spot (I carry all of my tension in a particular place on my lower back), so that was a plus.
posted by St. Hubbins at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2015

S-shaped tools that allow me to reach knots on my own back are awesome, though I don't have a preferred brand so I can't recommend this over this. And maybe not what you're looking for since it's not something that you do for him. But they really are excellent tools, and sometimes the best way to get a knot out of your shoulders is to do it yourself.
posted by aimedwander at 7:46 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Actually, if it's a good tool he can use on himself to work out knots, that would work too. So if anyone has specific recommendations (i.e. you've used them before) along the lines of aimedwander's and St. Hubbins, I'd be interested in hearing those too. Thanks to you both!
posted by tiger tiger at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2015

If you are going to get an oil, get one that has a lot of magnesium in it. Magnesium is relaxing for the muscles.
posted by vignettist at 8:15 AM on December 10, 2015

As a former massage therapist, I highly recommend Biotone Dual Purpose Massage Cream. When you're working on him, take a little chunk of it and put it on the back of your wrist. When you need a little more, it's right there ready for you and you don't have to lift both hands off your 'client'. The Biotone is medium slip, not slimy feeling and washes cleanly out of sheets (wash in hot water).

I have and love the Back Buddy self massage tool.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:17 AM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

I always use coconut oil. It's pretty amazing as a massage oil and never stains, and absorbs into the skin nicely. Things that may make him enjoy the overall experience more are candles and music and a nice soft towel to lay on. I know this is out of your price range but an actual massage table, if you have room for it, will greatly enhance what he gets out of the experience, but will also be wonderful for YOU. The height, the makes a world of difference to the one giving the massage. Just something to think about for the future.
posted by the webmistress at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2015

Second the Biotone. I took a few massage therapy courses, and I love that stuff. So much easier to clean up than oil. The tube is also refillable, which is nice.
posted by Naamah at 8:51 AM on December 10, 2015

I have a Maxie-Backsie and I use it regularly; it's kind of a beast but the large size and rubber grippers make it easy to get and keep it in the spot I need. Also be aware that if you carry a lot of tension it can be crazy painful to put all your weight on it at first.

I'd also recommend Claire Davies' Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. It's very helpful for identifying non-obvious places to work on.
posted by stefanie at 10:13 AM on December 10, 2015

Please stay with me as I know this sounds insane, but...a car buffer. Specifically, the random orbit variety.

This really is an actual technique that people use for mycofascial release, and I learned of it from a massage therapist friend. I don't suggest using it on bare skin -- we always use a sheet or blanket over top to avoid skin irritation -- but the results are great.

My partner thought I was absolutely off my rocker when I bought it and teased me mercilessly about it. Until he tried it.
posted by veery at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can personally vouch for The Knobble. It's awesome for neck, back, and shoulders, and it's great both used yourself or by a partner. It's also super-cheap, so even if you get something else too, I'd recommend throwing this one in as well.
posted by ourobouros at 11:34 AM on December 10, 2015

Tens machine (electro stimulation) are amazing and not as scary or hard to use as you'd imagine. It is the only thing quick and effective he can do entirely on his own. I won't get on a plane or long drive with out it, otherwise I'm all cramped and unhappy upon arrival. Amazon has loads of good ones for less than 30$.
Now I'm going to buy a car buffer!
posted by TenaciousB at 2:21 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much, everyone! I ended up going with the Biotome massage cream and the Gaiam balls this time (and for logistical reasons, something smaller worked well, but I didn't want to limit your answers just to that). I'm going to use your other suggestions for future gift occasions!
posted by tiger tiger at 5:13 AM on December 14, 2015

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