When you think of a tantric massage, you undoubtedly think it’s some intensely slow but wild sex-related activity. Sting might even come to mind, because he once told Q Magazine back in the ‘90s that he enjoyed seven hour long tantric sex sessions. Although seven hours is quite an impressive feat, tantric massage and tantra are not all about sex. Read on and let us explain why…
What is tantric massage?
Let’s start from the very beginning. A tantric massage is a style of therapy that aims to create an overall sense of relaxation and spiritual tranquillity. It uses a blend of Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques alongside meditation. This allows the therapist to tap into your sub-conscious and help you ease away any negative feelings and thoughts such as stress, anxiety, anger and sadness. A tantric therapist will use a series of carefully crafted meditative techniques and deep massage strokes to relax you, re-spread energy throughout your body and redirect negativity towards a more enjoyable release. This release is pleasurable and sexual arousal may happen, which is why tantric therapy has a sexual reputation.
A brief history of tantra
Tantra is an ancient Indian therapy that dates as far back as 5AD. It is meditative and was once practised by monks as a way of staying healthy. Its aim was to maintain a relaxed mental state and use sensuality as a way of achieving new levels of spiritual awareness.
The word ‘tantra’ is a blend of the words ‘tattva’ and ‘mantra’, which suggests at the therapy’s intentions – it’s a practice that uses truth and realism repetitively in order to focus the mind and reach higher levels of awareness. Because of its spiritual connections, tantra was seen as black magic, unrealistic and “hoo-ha”. Its sensuality and link to sexual pleasure made it taboo and this attitude still somewhat exists today. However tantra therapies such as tantric massage are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Asia and even in Europe and America. As time goes on and minds are being opened, practices that were once regarded as taboo are slowly becoming accepted.
So what happens in a typical tantric massage session?
A tantric massage starts off like any other normal relaxation session. It’s recommended that you’re naked because bare skin contact makes for more intense benefits. The therapist will give you a gown before sitting cross-legged with you on a padded mat. You will close your eyes. She will show you breathing techniques that are designed to lower your heart rate and relax your mind and body. You might even hold hands while working to synchronise your breaths. This helps to begin the formation of bonds between you and your therapist. The stronger the emotional connection you have, the more effective the spiritual benefits of a tantric massage will be.
Once you’re sufficiently relaxed, the therapist will ask you to take off the gown and lie on your stomach on the mat. She will give you a towel to preserve your modesty and drape it over your lower body. If you’re body-conscious or more conservative, you can keep your underwear on, but know it will make it slightly more difficult for the masseuse to smoothly massage your body and affect large uninterrupted patches of skin. The masseuse will stroke massage oils down your body, first relieving tension from your neck and shoulders before slowly moving down your back. The movements will be slow and deep. The therapist will intentionally use the power of suspense to gradually build up tension. You will lie there, anticipating her touch in particular places and this heightens the overall experience.
Sexual arousal during a tantric massage or any kind of massage is completely normal and you should embrace it. During a tantric massage, the therapist can switch to more sexual techniques and take you to an orgasmic release if you’d like. But it’s not necessary – if you’re not comfortable with that, a tantric masseuse can simply stick to more ‘PG’ techniques and focus on the relaxing benefits as opposed to the sexually pleasurable.
Why a tantric massage is so good for you
Many people are embarrassed but pleasurable arousal is one of the best ways to overcome negative emotions. This is one of the reasons why a tantric massage is so effective in combatting stress, anxiety and even depression.
When you experience pleasure, dopamine (also known as the pleasure hormone) lights up the centre in your brain which is responsible for creating enjoyable feelings. Production of other happy hormones, namely oxytocin, prolactin and serotonin, is also stimulated. These chemicals have positive effects on mood, working to stabilise it, reduce anxiety and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Interestingly, cortisol is said to reduce white blood cell levels, which makes us more susceptible to illness. This explains why we are more likely to fall ill when we’re stressed. Pleasure and happiness reduce the levels of cortisol and thus, boosts our white blood levels and immune system.
A tantric massage may be pleasurable, but it’s not like your typical erotic or happy ending massage. Although pleasure plays a big role, orgasm is not the main goal. It’s more a pleasant by-product rather than a goal. Tantric massage is more about gaining greater control over your mind and body, forging spiritual connections, reducing negativity and boosting mental health.
Tantric massage is becoming more and more popular and for good reason. Many sessions allow you to make the session your own. Therapists can adapt the session for your individual needs and desires while staying within your comfortable boundaries. Comfort and relaxation is important because only when you are relaxed will you be able to emotionally open up to the therapist.
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