What Is a Couples Massage & What to Expect
If you've found your way to this article, then you've probably heard of a couples massage, but you might still be wondering exactly what is a couples massage, what to expect when you get one, and how to act. We talked to Monica Jaso, the director of spa operations for Swissôtel Chicago's Spa 42 and a licensed massage therapist since 2008, to answer these questions, and let us in on a few other secrets to help you get the most out of your couples spa day.
What is a couples massage?
The answer is simpler than you think. A couples massage is when you and a friend each enjoy a massage while lying on two separate beds next to each other. There are two massage therapists—one for each person. Like any other massage, a couples massage may include soothing music, aromatherapy, or candle lighting. These massage sessions are often used as a romantic gift between significant others, but they don't have to be.
How much does a couples massage cost?
For a 60-minute massage, you can expect to pay anywhere between about $80–$150. For a longer session, you'll end up paying a little more, but you might be happy you did once you're experiencing it.
Can I eat before the massage?
"Eating beforehand is OK, but do it at least an hour before so you're not lying on a full belly," Monica says. "And don't have a massage at 6 o'clock and then make a dinner reservation for 7:30, because then you're rushing to get there and you're not going to enjoy that nice, relaxing massage you just had."
I've heard that if I come early (or stay late), there might be extras?
Many spas include complimentary access to saunas, pools, fitness centers, and other amenities with treatment reservations.
If your spa doesn't have those extras, you should still show up a little early. "If you come too close to the appointment time, you might be rushing around, the therapists might be rushing around, and ... you can feel that rushed energy." Monica suggests arriving 15–20 minutes before your appointment time.
Do we each have to get the same treatment?
Nope! As with a solo session, couples massages should still include personalized consultations with the massage therapists.
"Usually people have individual wants and needs for their own bodies," Monica says. "Someone might have shoulder tension; someone else might have just had ankle surgery and want attention on their legs."
And it's not just about focus areas, either. Couples should feel free to ask for different modalities. If one person just wants to relax, Swedish is probably enough for them. If the other person wants a more therapeutic treatment, "then by all means, get the deep tissue, get the sports massage. Don't limit yourself."
Can l include add-ons?
It's very likely the spa will have no problem with this.
Has your partner had an especially stressful time at work lately? Then ask about aromatherapy, as scented essential oils can help calm the mind better than massage alone. Is it a particularly cold day? Add hot stones!
Can I talk during the massage?
Yes...but it's not recommended.
"One time, this married couple came in," Monica begins. "And 20 or 30 minutes into the [couples] massage, they're nice and relaxed, and it's nice and quiet, and all of a sudden you hear her call out, 'Honey? Honey, how are ya feelin'?'
"And you can see his shoulders raise up a little bit, and she's like, 'How ya feelin' over there? Are you relaxed?' And he just chuckled and was like, 'Well, I was until you opened your big mouth!'"
Monica chuckles at the memory of the interaction. Luckily, the husband in her story wasn't bothered much, but not every spouse is as patient. The takeaway: if you're giving your partner a couples massage, you should probably have a chat before your appointment about, well, chatting.
Will there be champagne?
A lot of spas offer champagne with couples massages, but watch your intake before and after the treatment. "If you do drink afterward, it can hit you a lot faster because your circulatory system is going a lot quicker," Monica says. A little alcohol is OK, but make sure you drink plenty of water, too.
Do I have to bring a significant other?
Not at all.
Sure, couples massages make great romantic gifts for women and men. But Monica says plenty of platonic pairs come through Spa 42's couples room—siblings, friends, mothers and daughters. "There's been more than I would have expected." The most important thing is just choosing someone you can really relax and enjoy the experience with.
Review tips on achieving massage zen from another licensed massage therapist.
Learn about the benefits of hot stones in our text and video guide to the modality.
Read a comedian's account of getting a couples massage with her brother.