Ever wish your partner could stretch you out after a long day?
In this guide, you’ll find outlines of simple partnered assisted stretching and Thai massage* techniques to help you and your partner reduce body aches and pains, relieve tension, relax, and improve your body alignment.
Plus, you’ll get to connect with your partner and feel great in your body afterwards. Win win!
*What is Thai massage?
It sounds a little mysterious, but not to fear!
It’s an ancient healing art form that combines pressure points, reflexology, assisted yoga poses, and massage. It is commonly done on a mat on the floor and the receiver is fully clothed and completely passive. It’s sometimes referred to as “the lazy man’s yoga” because it’s like getting the benefits of doing yoga (minus the balance and strength aspects) without having to do much of anything.
This makes it super accessible and easy to do at home with your partner, family, and friends!
Pretty good deal, right!?!
Before you start
1. Gather your materials.
- a yoga mat, blanket or towel for your partner to lie down on,
- an *optional* extra blanket, towel, or small pillow to support your partner’s head if needed,
- a folded blanket or towel to support your knees while kneeling to work on your partner.
2. Set up the space.
- make it comfy - make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable and that your partner feels okay on the floor,
- make it quiet - make sure you have a quiet space (silence your phones + devices, put pets into another room, etc),
- create the mood - go classic romantic with candles and dim lights (or take the time to create any mood you like!).
3. Prep your partner.
make sure to:
- communicate with you about injuries, skin bruises, or sensitive areas,
- be passive and relaxed as you’re working on them.
Self Care Always Comes First!
Make sure that you prep your own body to feel centered, grounded, and thoroughly warmed up before you work on your partner.
Follow along below with video #1 to warm up and learn three important techniques to use while working with your partner.
Warm Up + 3 Important Techniques
1. MITTEN HANDS
Spread your fingers wide and then bring your fingers together like you have mittens on (your thumbs will stay separated from your fingers).
Press your palms together.
Inhale your arms straight up overhead.
Exhale fold forward over your legs.
Keep your knees slightly bent and bring your palms to the top of your thighs as your round your back.
Inhale to arch your back, lifting your chest up toward the ceiling. Keep your hands on your thighs as you do this.
Exhale round back, draw your belly button up toward your spine and relax the back of your neck.
Inhale come through a flat back to come all the way up to stand.
Exhale fold over your legs again, and this time place your hands on the floor.
Step your left leg behind you to a low lunge.
2. ½ LUNGE POSITION
Lower your back knee down to the floor. *Make sure your knee has support underneath it (like a yoga mat, blanket, or folded towel). Bring your hands to your top thigh. Your shoulders will be directly over your hips and you hip directly over your knee.
Exhale move your hips forward.
Inhale back to the ½ lunge position.
Exhale to move your hips forward. Since your back knee is stable on the floor, it's okay that your front knee moves beyond your front ankle. When you exhale forward give a little bit of pressure with your palms down into your top thigh.
Try this ½ lunge on the other side.
Come onto all 4’s - on your hands and your knees.
Shift your weight onto your right hand. Lift your left hand off the floor. Stack your weight, so your right shoulder is directly over your elbow, your elbow is directly over your wrist. Keep your arm straight and feel your body weight go directly down into the floor.
Alternate like this a few times by switching your weight from your right arm to your left arm
Come back to the center on all 4’s
Tuck your toes and lift your hips up to come into downward facing dog
Walk your feet all the way forward to your hands and roll all the way up to stand.
Well done! Now you’re ready to begin with your partner.
Follow along below with video #2 to be guided through a full body sequence with your partner.
Full Body Sequence
1. THE WAVE
(mobilizes foot and ankle joints, stretches the intrinsic components of the foot)
Hold your partner's foot with both hands, with your fingers underneath and thumbs on top of their foot. Mobilize the ankle joint by lifting your fingers up and moving your thumbs down as you gently squeeze the foot. Move from the base of the foot to the toes in a wavelike motion.
2. FLEX & POINT
(mobilizes ankle joint, stretches muscles around the calf)
Take one hand to your partner's heel and one hand to the ball of their foot. To flex their foot, bring their heel towards you and the ball of their foot away from you, towards your partner's shin. To point, switch your hand (the one near their toes) to the top of their foot and guide the upper part of their foot toward you.
3. HIP CIRCLES
(mobilizes hip joint)
Hold underneath your partner's knee and ankle to bring her leg up as you transition into a ½ lounge position (move #2 from the warm up) to the side of your partner. Instruct her to give you "dead weight" (aka completely relaxed leg without trying to hold it up herself). Use the motion of your ½ lounge to create circles in her hip joint. *Remember that this movement is coming from your HIPS, not your arms.
4. INNER THIGH PALMING
(stretches adductors of hip and hip flexors of opposite hip)
Next time your partner's knee is to the side, rest her foot in the crease of your hip. Place your outside hand lightly to inside of her knee. Place your inside hand on her inner thigh. Keep your inside arm straight and use the shifting of your pelvis forward to give light pressure from your arm straight down to her leg. Release. Turn your foot out, move your hand to the middle of her thigh. Move your pelvis forward again in the 1/2 lunge position. Release and repeat this again and move your hand another time to closer to her upper inner thigh. This is done in 3 places along her inner thigh.
5. PALM PRESS ON CHEST
(mobilizes shoulder joint & relaxes chest)
Support your partner's leg again at their knee and ankle. Guide their leg across their body until they're in a side lying position. Kneel in ½ lunge behind them. Rest their arm on your thigh or hold it up as you gently palm their chest with your other hand. Remember that the tissue in this area is very sensitive, so make sure you're gentle and check in with your partner to see how they feel. *(For a review of "palming" go back to move #3 from the warm up)
6. SPINAL TWIST FROM BACK
(increases spinal mobility & stretches multiple tissues in back)
Guide your partner's arm down to the floor to open them up into spinal twist. Take one hand to their chest and one hand to their outer thigh. On your next exhale, let your body weight drop down to the floor to deepen their twist. On your inhale, release. Follow your breath like that at least 3 times.
7. SPINAL TWIST FROM FRONT
(same as above & massages glutes)
Now, walk to the front side of their body. Place one hand to their chest and your other elbow to the back of their pelvis towards the center of their hip. Move your hand away from you so that their shoulder moves down closer to the floor. Simultaneously draw your elbow towards you, so you guide their hip toward you as well.
8. HAMSTRING w/FOREARM PRESS
(stretches hamstring, calf, achilles)
Support at your partner's knee and ankle again and roll them onto their back. Keep holding their leg as you stand up. Rest their extended leg on your torso (or on your thigh if your partner has tight hamstrings). Take one hand to the front of their ankle to hold their leg in place and bring your other forearm to the bottom of their foot. Move your chest forward as you gently lean on their foot. Press with your forearm on various spots on their foot(make sure you're directly in the center, on the meaty part of your forearm). Roll your forearm on the bottom of the foot from your heel to your toes (pressure on the big toe feels especially good!).
9. LEG TRACTION
(creates traction in the hip joint, relaxes the leg)
Hold your partner's ankle with both legs and slowly lower it down to the floor. Lean back slightly to create traction in their hip joint.
Now compare both sides.
Does the side that you worked on feel longer than the other?
Resting closer to the floor?
Repeat this entire sequence on the other side!
Have any questions or comments? Leave me a comment below!
To relaxing and stretching it out - partner style :)
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**Photography by Samantha Lawton
Hiya, I'm elyse!
I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com
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