First and foremost, it is important to remind you that this is YOUR session. If something is wrong (or right), speak up! If you want the practitioner to change something – the pressure, the room temperature, the area of the body worked on, your position, etc. – please feel free to speak up and say something. You will not hurt the practitioner’s feelings by requesting something that will make your session more comfortable for you; quite the opposite. It’s also possible that what worked for your previous session won’t work for this one; for example, it’s perfectly fine to get a full-body massage in one visit, and an upper-body massage in the next. Keep in mind that no one knows your body like you do, so don’t be afraid to let your practitioner know what your needs are.
What should I expect for my first massage session?
We will provide you with intake paperwork that will include your health history. It is important that you fill the paperwork out as much as possible, listing all your health concerns and medications so that your practitioner can personalize your massage to your specific needs without causing any harm. Before the massage begins, your practitioner will discuss any concerns you have, or that s/he has, and may perform an assessment to determine how appropriate massage is for you, and what techniques would benefit you.
Is a massage always appropriate?
No, it’s not. There are some medical conditions for which massage is inappropriate. This is the main reason why you need to fill out your medical history as accurately as possible. If you have a communicable illness, such as a cold or the flu, or a contagious skin infection, massage is not appropriate for you. There are conditions that do not prohibit massage, but do require adjustments on the part of the practitioner, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. If you are under the care of a medical doctor for a serious condition, we do require a written notice of approval from your doctor before you may receive massage at our clinic.
How long will my massage session last?
The average massage lasts for 60 minutes. A 30-minute session is available, but usually only allows time for a partial treatment, such as neck and shoulders, or legs and feet. Some people prefer a 90-minute session for maximum relaxation. If your chiropractor or physician has prescribed massage for you as a part of medical treatment for a motor vehicle or work accident, the duration of your massage will depend on your physician’s prescription.
Do I have to get completely undressed?
You should undress only as far as you are comfortable. Some people undress completely for a full-body relaxing massage, but if the idea of being nude makes you feel uncomfortable, you are quite welcome to keep some articles of clothing on. You should keep in mind that some items of clothing may prohibit you from receiving the full benefit of massage. Your practitioner will not be present when you undress, and you will remain under a sheet and a blanket for the entirety of your session, except for your head and the area of your body that the practitioner is working.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
The typical full-body massage includes your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, neck, shoulders, and sometimes your face and scalp. Occasionally, your practitioner may feel that abdominal work would benefit you, but will not massage your abdomen without your permission. If you receive abdominal massage, a towel will be placed on your chest to ensure your privacy. If there is an area of your body that you want your practitioner to avoid, or to focus on, please speak up. Just keep in mind that extra time spent in one muscle group will take time away from another.
Will the massage hurt?
This usually depends on the type of massage you want and how much tension your muscles are carrying. Most practitioners begin a massage with broad strokes and use more targeted techniques as your muscles warm up. If done properly, a good massage will not move past the “hurts so good” kind of pain. However, if your muscles are excessively tense and your practitioner performs deep tissue work, you should expect to feel sore and achy after your massage, for up to two days afterwards. Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate some of the ache. If at any point in your massage, your practitioner is using a technique that hurts badly, do not hesitate to say something. Your practitioner wants you to feel comfortable on the table.
What should I do during my massage?
Make yourself comfortable! Most people just close their eyes and relax. If you feel more comfortable chatting with the practitioner, feel free. Some people start off talking and get quieter as the session goes on. If your practitioner needs to, s/he will move your arm or leg. While most people feel the need to assist in this, it is entirely unnecessary. There is no need for you to move unless your practitioner asks you to, or you need to adjust your position to feel completely comfortable. If you have any questions about what your practitioner is doing, feel free to ask.
Do I have to listen to slow, “new age-y” music during my massage?
Not at all. Studies show that slower music helps to reduce the heart rate, thus promoting relaxation, so most massage therapists do play slower, relaxing music during massages. However, you don’t have to listen to anything that you don’t like. Feel free to ask your practitioner what s/he has available to choose from, or bring your favorite music with you. If it relaxes you at home, it will relax you during a massage, and that is the main goal.
What are the benefits of receiving massage?
Receiving regular massage can have a variety of health benefits, including: reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, reduced chronic pain, increased blood circulation, improved posture, improved joint movement, better sleep, and faster healing of injury, among other things.
How often should I get a massage?
So many factors will influence your answer that putting a specific number on it can be difficult. It is important that you and your therapist maintain good communications and decide what’s best for you and your individual treatment plan. Finances also play a part in how often you can get a massage. If you are receiving massage on a prescription as part of accident treatment, you will be guided by your physician’s prescription. You and your practitioner can discuss your specific needs and come to an agreement on what would be best for you.