If you’re looking for gift ideas for those you care about, here are a few suggestions. Since I am a licensed massage therapist, that’s where I’ll start.
Although there are a few people around who don’t like to be touched, most people enjoy a professional massage that’s tailored for their needs: the right modality, the right pressure, the right length. One thing people say they’d do if they had unlimited resources is to get massages more often.
Massage gift certificates are welcome gifts, especially with a personal note from you letting them know how much they deserve to be pampered. If the recipient is a busy person, adding the promise of watching the kids or making dinner afterwards so they can enjoy the afterglow is an extra nice touch.
You could also give a loved one a massage table if there’s room to set it up in their home and they would enjoy (and can afford) a massage therapist coming to them. You may not need a professional quality table if they will be using it just once or twice a month. You can get a table inexpensively on Amazon, at Costco, or used on Craigslist, but make sure the table you get is rated to hold the weight of the person who will be receiving massages.
If you want a higher quality table, go to your local massage supply store, which sells professional quality tables.
Along with a table, you could include a gift certificate for a therapist to come to their home and give them their first massage. Being at home after a massage without having to get in the car is a true luxury because they can enjoy being relaxed for much longer. Or perhaps you could pay a therapist to teach you how to give a basic Swedish massage.
Besides a table, you could include some soft flannel sheets, a table warmer, a diffuser with some essential oils, relaxing music and something to play it on, and lubricants (coconut oil and peppermint foot lotion are great for starters, and you can get them at most grocery stores).
I often hear women complain in private that their partners believe that two to three minutes of foot massage is enough. Women crave more like 10 minutes per foot. Learning how to give a fantastic foot massage is a skill you can learn from watching videos on the interwebs. She won’t mind that you’re practicing, and if you practice enough and listen to her feedback, you’ll develop skill. Promising her a foot massage every week and following through will gain you beaucoups of esteem. The same goes for men who enjoy having their feet massaged!
If the person in question has a meditation practice, or wants to start one, a beautiful meditation cushion is inspiring. I like the paired zafu and zabuton, but a single round cushion is fine.
Even better, if you’ve both been discussing a desire to start meditating, get one for yourself as well and offer to meditate with the recipient. Twenty minutes of peaceful shared silence in the presence of another human being deepens bonds.
Waking up refreshed, well-rested, and ready to face the day without pain is a joy, and the right sleep cushioning can make a major difference. The Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow is designed for people who sleep on their sides and/or back. Be sure to measure the distance between the neck and shoulder joint to get the size that keeps their neck aligned with their spine. For back sleepers, the pillow cradles the back of the head while supporting for the back of the neck.
This is more of a stocking stuffer, but the Gaiam Pressure Point Massager (aka the spiky roller ball tool) works on tight shoulders better than anything I’ve come across, and I do a lot of chair massage on people hunched over computers all day. I cannot do with my hands what this tool does, stimulating the nervous system with pleasurable, wide-ranging sensations that make people forget their tight shoulders were even hurting!
If there is one massage tool that I recommend for every home, gym, and workplace – any place where people have tight sore upper trapezius muscles, this is it. It’s that good. Use over clothing for best results.
A gift you can make at home is scented Epsom salts in bath-size quantities. You’ll need to order a quantity of Epsom salts, choose some essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, orange, sandalwood, etc.), and get some containers. Since the optimum amount of Epsom salts to add to a bath is 2 cups, a pint jar is good for one bath, a quart jar for two baths, and a gallon container holds enough for 8 baths.
Make a label with instructions (“Add two cups to a hot bath, swishing to dissolve. Soak for a minimum of 12 minutes for maximum relaxation.”) Stick a colorful ribbon or bow on the jar, and you’ve made a lovely gift.