Just how well relaxing with a friend has gone and how successfully you have worked yourself into it depends on many things, not least of which is how friendly you are with your partner. The relationship between the professional masseur and the customer is a pretty cold clinical one in many cases. But in our concept of mutual relaxation it is often possible to introduce a degree of intimate feeling that is rewarding in many ways. (Readers familiar with behavioural techniques in sex therapy will note similarities with ‘sensate focus’ in the way that I have designated the giver and the taker roles. This is not to imply that relaxing with a friend is anything in the nature of a sexual experience, merely a mutually acceptable sensual one in which sensible and agreed limits may be reasonably defined, if necessary, before the first session takes place.)

On the final day of the ‘relax with a friend’ programme, after the massage session and a general relaxation tour of the body, it may be worthwhile to explore face relaxation to complete the course.

If headaches have been a problem it is a good idea to find the eyebrow-moving muscles and gently persuade these to relax. Excessive tension in eye muscles may be involved with headaches too and the giver can put the eye muscles to strain by asking the taker to look carefully at something held about 6 inches (15 cms) in front of the nose, and then to stare into the distance. ‘As you do this you can feel your eyes plop deep into their sockets’ is a good phrase with which to coach the taker as this exercise proceeds. Continue for about half a minute. (See illustration on page 215.)

Finally the giver can summarize the whole question of relaxation learning by restating something said spontaneously by one relaxation taker in training. ‘If I try to relax -1 just can’t. But if I first relax my arms, then my shoulders, my legs, the muscles in my head and neck one after another it comes quite easily. I can do it so quickly that the whole process only occupies a second or two, but I have a go at it in sequence. Such a state of affairs can be yours for the asking. All you have to do is take the time to learn.


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