What should I expect during my first massage therapy visit?
If you haven’t already do so, you will need to fill out a brief intake/health history form. What comes next will be slightly different depending on what type of session you coming in for. All session will have a few standard question regarding current health and any allergies to oils or lotions.
A relaxing/balancing massage will often require removing clothing and getting under sheets on a massage table while the therapist waits outside. When they return most massages will reveal only the limb or area of the body at a time while tucking the sheets around the rest of your body. When Finished therapist leaves the room and waits for you to open the door signalling you are dressed and ready for them to re-enter the room.
If your session is an orthopedic massage, we ask that you where something comfortable and flexible, ideally clothing you would wear to yoga. We will begin by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, if there are any conditions needing to be addressed. We may perform certain assessments or tests to evaluate your condition and to see if you have any presenting complaints.During the session various techniques will be use address your particular issues. Most sessions will incorporate relaxation techniques to help body to be more receptive to treatment.
It is important to list all health concerns and medications so we can adapt the session to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so we are aware if a different oil or lotion needs to be used during the session.
Do I have to be completely undressed?
You should undress to the level you are comfortable. For a full body massage, most get completely undressed. However, if you will be more comfortable during the session if you leave your underwear on, that's fine. We will work around the clothes you left on as best as we can. If removing all your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, then you are not getting the optimal benefit from the session.
You will be given privacy to undress and get comfortable on the table.
If you prefer to stay fully clothed, there are several modalities that are equally if not better performed fully clothed.
Do I have to cover myself with a sheet or towel?
This is known as draping and depends on the therapist and in some cases, the law. The vast majority of therapists will insist on draping. Once you are undressed and on the table under the drape, the therapist will only uncover the part of your body being worked on.
The genitals (women and men) and breasts (women) will not be uncovered. If work is to be done on a woman's abdomen, a second towel or sheet will be used to cover the breasts so the main sheet or towel can be moved to expose the abdomen.
What do I do during a massage treatment?
Make yourself comfortable. If your position needs to be adjusted, I will either move you or will ask you to move what is needed. Otherwise, change your position anytime to make yourself more comfortable.
Many people close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It's up to you. It is your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
How long will a massage treatment last?
The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a focussed area massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet. The average time is 60 minutes. Many people prefer a 90-minute session for optimal therapy/relaxation . Whenever possible try to allow relaxation time prior to and after the session.
Will the massage hurt?
This depends on the type of massage, depth of the work, severeness of issues. A light, relaxing massage that doesn't probe very deep into the muscles, shouldn't hurt. With that being said, there is a 'feels good' hurt and an 'ouch, stop it' hurt. A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should always stay in the 'feels good' hurt or ‘therapeutic discomfort’ range.
Pain can be an indication that the muscle is possibly injured or inflamed and pressure should be adjusted. Also, pain can cause you to tighten up and negate the relaxing effects of the massage. The most effective and deepest massage always works with your body's natural response, not against it.
How often should I get a massage?
"Some is better than none."
What does that mean? Well, it varies from person to person. If you are just looking for some occasional relaxation, then a session every 3-6 weeks may be fine for you.
However, if you are looking to address a specific condition, then it is recommended to go more frequently at first and then slowly taper down to a maintenance schedule. Sometimes more frequent 60-minute sessions can be effective until your goals are met and a maintenance schedule is in place.
Frequency of sessions should be discussed after your treatment when we have a better hands-on understanding of your particular muscular issues. Depending on issues some people may want once per week other once per month for proper body maintenance.
Can I talk during my session?
Sure, if you'd like to talk go right ahead. The important thing to remember is that this treatment is all about you relaxing and enjoying the experience. Many therapists discourage talking in hopes that you will relax, let your mind float free and enter a state of massage bliss. Just try to be aware that someone may be in session in the next room, so best to talk quietly.
In many instances, people may feel more relaxed starting off talking, and as the massage progresses, enter quiet states of relaxation.
The important issue here is that there are times when you need to speak up. If any therapist is doing anything to make you uncomfortable, you should let them know immediately. Also, let them know if the pressure needs to be changed (lighter or deeper). If something is not working for you - speak up! It's OK!
Do I have to listen to whale calls or flutes during my massage?
No. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
While many therapists play slower, quieter, 'new age' type music, you can choose to have different music or no music at all. Studies have shown that music at under 60 beats-per-minute has a calming, relaxing effect on the body and therefore can enhance your experience.
However, while this may be true, any music you like to listen to while you relax can be listened to while you get a massage. If it relaxes you and you enjoy it at home, why wouldn't it do the same during your treatment? I have a selection for you to listen to its also ok to bring your own from home.
How will I feel after my massage treatment?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience a significant decrease or freedom from long-term aches and pains. Many feel a little slowed down for a short period and then notice an increase of energy, heightened awareness and increased productivity which can last for days.
If you received a deep massage, you may be slightly sore the next day - much like a good workout at the gym.
After your session you should increase your water intake a bit. Just a glass or two more than normal is usually fine. This helps keep your body's tissues stay hydrated and healthy.
How many sessions will I need?
Honestly, its hard to say. Every person is unique and every condition is unique to each person. It may take one session or it may take many. We will be able to talk more specifically about this after your first session and have had a chance to evaluate your body's tissues.
When should I not get a massage?
In my opinion there are few conditions which would prevent you from enjoying massage. You should not book a massage if you have a fever, cold/flu, or contagious skin infection. That's it.
There are many other conditions in which your therapist may need to adapt their techniques (i.e. arthritis or osteoporosis) or avoid an area completely (i.e. cuts or burns). With some conditions it is a good idea to get an approval from your physician before you receive massage (cancer, certain heart conditions, pregnancy). This doesn't mean you can't get massage. But its always better to err on the side of caution.