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Spa for 2

Pamper your partner with home treatment

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Spa for 2

When the sizzle has clearly begun to fizzle, enhance the romance in your relationship with an at-home spa with these home spa treatments.

When the sizzle has clearly begun to fizzle, enhance the romance in your relationship with an at-home spa. Stimulate all five senses and you’ll both benefit from a little break in routine.

Let’s work through the first four sense stimulators of flavour, scent, sight, and sound in a few advance preparations before getting to the most important sense of all—touch and the therapeutic oxytocin release it brings.

Flavour

Set the mood

Prepare something light to eat such as fresh seafood, local cheese and fruit, or maybe grapes glac?– frozen grapes make a delightful little nibble – or chocolate-dipped strawberries that you’ve purchased or made yourself (see sidebar).Organic wine can often soften the mood; or liven things up by serving sparkling water with citrus slices.

Scent

Add a subtle aroma to the room with clean-burning soy or beeswax candles. Or infuse the space with calming essential oils such as ylang ylang, patchouli, clove, sweet orange, and clary sage – all boost sensuality.

Sight

Now create visual excitement with deep, rich colours in fabrics and finishes. Hot pink, raspberry red, even purple and terra cotta, all flatter the skin and warm the look of the room. Most commercial spas relax the eyes with cool whites, but for this at-home spa we want to create intensity, so go with red.

Sound

Ravel’s Bolero is an old reliable when it comes to sensual sound, but it might be more interesting to play something exotic, such as the Sanskrit chants of Deva Premal’s Embrace(White Swan, 2003) or Krishna Dal’s collaborations with Sting and other contemporary artists on The Best of Krishna Dal (Triloka, 2007). Or rise with the soaring vocals of Ashana in All Is Forgiven(White Swan, 2006).

One last thing: an hour before your spa, set the thermostat at a comfortable 75 F (24 C) for maximum enjoyment. Just remember to turn it back down later.

It’s business time

With preparations out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. Welcome your partner home and serve up a little something to eat—then maybe offer a shower to wash away the stresses of the day.

Before climbing into the shower, get the blood flowing by brushing the body with a dry loofah; then scrub with a soothing lavender or invigorating eucalyptus exfoliating wash. While you’re enjoying the warm cascade, put the aaah back in your relationship with a little scalp massage. It won’t take long, but it sure feels good!

Touch

Towel off and wrap up in slurpy soft robes before heading into the spa room, where you’ll light the candles and make your partner comfortable.

Warm massage oil by rubbing a few drops between your palms; then spread the oil slowly with even, circular strokes. Knead the back of the neck; rotate the shoulders; stroke up and down the spine. Massage the hands, feet, and ankles. Repeat movements at least three times, and watch your partner’s reaction—it’s all about communication.

Communicate and connect

Actually, communication is the most important thing. Talk up your plans earlier in the day, even if you only hint at the pleasure to come. Flirting and innuendo go a long way toward creating the mood you’re looking for.

The last thing you want is non-communication, or you’ll end up like Samantha (Kim Cattrall) in last summer’s Sex in the City hit movie: clad only in sushi, she waits and waits for her boyfriend to come home while the sushi warms and her relationship cools.

Instead, send him a note telling him what you’ve got planned for later. Drop a hint on the phone when you’re chatting through the day. By evening you’ll both be looking forward to an interlude of loving fun.

The Stimulating Chest Lift

If you want to convert someone to the pleasures of massage, pay close attention to this stroke, says Gordon Inkeles, author of the classic Art of Sensual Massage(Arcata Arts, 2002). “When your partner gets excited about something you’re doing, keep it up for awhile.”

The front of the body should be well oiled, with your partner lying on his or her back. Gently lift the right shoulder and then the left, spreading oil over and around the shoulder blades. Circle the shoulder with simple rotations; then prepare for the chest lift.

Press the hands down over the top of the chest. At the pectorals, turn hands so fingers face each other and press down over the chest to the waist. Rotate fingers and circle the waist, bringing hands up under the back as you lift your partner’s torso. Return to the beginning of the stroke and repeat.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

The secret to keeping the fruit firm is refrigeration. Keep these treats cool and they’ll serve up sweet and juicy. Next summer, use the same recipe to pamper your partner with Chocolate-Dipped Bing Cherries.

1 lb (450 g)fresh organic strawberries
1 lb (450 g) quality 60 percent cocoa chocolate

Wash and dry strawberries thoroughly. Line baking sheet with waxed paper. Break chocolate into chunks and set aside 1/4 lb (125 g).

Warm remaining chocolate in top of double-boiler over medium-low heat. Melt until smooth and shiny; then remove from heat and stir in reserved chocolate. Stir until the added chunks melt. You now have tempered chocolate that is cool enough for dipping.

Holding strawberries by their stems, dip into chocolate one at a time. Place on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.

Grapes glacés

Food writer Angela Murrills describes all things round and yummy in her cookbook, Balls!(Whitecap, 2007), including these tantalizing treats.

1 cup (250 mL) green or red seedless grapes

Wash, dry, and de-stem grapes. Place on waxed paper on a plate in freezer until serving time.

To serve, stack a combination of green and red grapes glacé in a little pyramid in martini glass (which you had the foresight to also place in the freezer).

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