I’ve never had a massage before. What should I expect?
Do I need to be completely naked?
I’ve had massage before and to be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. Why should I make an appointment for another?
Does massage hurt?
Should I be quiet during my massage, or can I talk?
I’d really like a massage, but I’m uncomfortable with my body. I’m not sure if I want a stranger seeing me unclothed.
What do I do if I’m uncomfortable during my session?
The music playing during my massage was really annoying me, can I ask for my therapist to change it?
I’m not in pain, why should I get a massage?
How often should I get a massage?
I think I’m getting a cold, should I cancel my appointment?
What is the difference between a Swedish massage and deep tissue massage?
What do I do during my session?
How will I feel after my session?
What is a trigger point?
What if my massage wasn’t quite what I expected?
What is your cancellation policy?
Q “I’ve never had a massage before. What should I expect?”
A I start my sessions by taking a few minutes to talk to my clients. I like to find out what your experience with massage has been, your general likes/dislikes, any relevant medical history and what your goals are for the session as well as any concerns or questions you may have. After this is done I will leave the room giving you complete privacy to undress and get on the table. The table will be draped with sheets and a blanket and you will be completely covered up. Once I return to the room I will see if you are comfortable enough and, if so, I will begin working. While I am working I move the sheet and blanket covering you exposing the area of the body that I am working on at that time. At no point, however, will you ever be more exposed than you would be in, say, a swimsuit. The pressure I am using can ALWAYS be adjusted. So, if you want less or more pressure…. just ask! Likewise I can always add a blanket or take one away as your body temperature dictates. At some point during the session you will need to roll over. At this point I will hold the sheets slightly up for you so that you can roll over with complete modesty. When your session is through I will again leave the room allowing you to take a few more moments to breathe and take in the work and then to slowly get off the table and get dressed.
Q “Do I need to be completely naked?”
A Yes and no. Ideally it is preferred that you would remove all of your clothing so as to allow me easy access to all the areas of your body that I will be working on. However, as said before: your comfort level is the most important thing. So if you are more comfortable leaving something on, just say or do so and my techniques can be modified to accommodate you. There are many styles of massage that don’t require the client to remove any clothing at all. Some of these styles can be incorporated into your session if need be.
Q “I’ve had massage before and to be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed. Why should I make an appointment for another?”
A Massage isn’t just about the kind of service you are receiving. Equally, if not more so, important is whom you are receiving the service from. Every massage therapist has a different touch and a different way of perceiving your needs while you are on the table. Sometimes it takes a little while until you find a therapist with whom you click. It is very important to remember, however, that while a therapist can and often does intuit a lot while working on you, he or she is not a mind reader and each client is different from the next. Things like temperature, music or pressure can make or break your experience of the service you received but often you need to verbally express your needs to get exactly what you want. If you’ve had a massage in the past and were left disappointed because, for example, you didn’t feel like the therapist worked long enough on your neck, simply mention this at your next massage by saying: “I really love having my neck worked on. I had a massage before that I found pretty disappointing because he/she didn’t pay enough attention there.” I guarantee this therapist will get the hint!
Q “Does massage hurt?”
A Sometimes it is necessary to experience what I describe as “the good hurt” when really working out an area of the body that you have been experiencing pain or achiness in. This is that feeling you get when having the area deeply worked on is in fact uncomfortable, but it feels good to you to have it stimulated. Usually if you are experiencing pain somewhere, it does in fact hurt a little to really remove the tension and adhesions that are causing the pain. This is normal and everyone has a different idea of where this level is. However, not everyone wants to get this out of a massage. You should NEVER “suffer” through something you consider painful or uncomfortable unless that is the kind of work you are looking for. If too much pressure is being used simply ask your therapist to “go a little easier there.” All in all your massage should be a pleasant, comfortable experience.
Q “Should I be quiet during my massage, or can I talk?”
A Which ever you prefer. There is no rule that says you have to remain quiet during a massage nor is there one that says you have to make small talk with your therapist. Some people find it impossible to relax while chatting and prefer to focus on the massage or possibly even drift off to sleep a little. Others are perfectly capable of relaxing while chatting and enjoy the conversation. Some people chat a little here and there and remain quiet for the rest of the session. All are perfectly acceptable. My rule as a therapist is that I never initiate conversation but if the client on my table does, I’m happy to converse with him or her. I can usually tell when the person is done talking and wants to remain quiet for a bit. It is never rude to remain quiet the whole time. I’m not there to be entertained, I’m there to give you great bodywork!
Q “I’d really like a massage, but I’m uncomfortable with my body. I’m not sure if I want a stranger seeing me unclothed.”
A First of all you will remain mostly covered during your session. Despite this however it is important to realize that a massage therapist sees many, many people of many different shapes and sizes. As a professional bodyworker a person’s body is just another body and, if anything, is appreciated for its uniqueness. You should feel no less comfortable during your session than you would at a doctor’s office, and hopefully after a few minutes much, much more comfortable! If you are still not convinced, express your concerns to your therapist. If his or her words don’t make you feel more comfortable then you can always “ease in” to being unclothed by keeping some of your clothes on for the first few sessions until an appropriate comfort and trust level is established.
Q “What do I do if I’m uncomfortable during my session?”
A Speak up! Every client is different from the next. While one person may find the room temperature perfect, the very next person may find it too warm or cold. It is important to express your needs verbally in order to get the most out of your session. It is never a problem to layer another blanket on the table, take one off, turn the music down or use more or less pressure. It would be worse to find out after the fact that a client was freezing the whole time and never said anything!!
Q “The music playing during my massage was really annoying me, can I ask for my therapist to change it?”
A Of course! People react very differently to music. You may find a particular kind very annoying, which would greatly change your perception of the service you received. Some people are so stimulated all day long that they actually prefer no music at all.
Q “I’m not in pain, why should I get a massage?”
A Many people use massage to treat chronic or acute pain issues, but ideally massage should be viewed as a preventative part of your wellness routine. If your body feels good, that’s great, but it is important to KEEP yourself feeling well and balanced. Remember, massage doesn’t just treat the muscles. It also has many other emotional and physical benefits.
Q “How often should I get a massage?”
A Ultimately this depends on what your lifestyle, schedule and budget will allow. You should come up with a schedule that realistically fits in to what your personal needs are. Everyone uses their bodies differently and therefore needs a different level of care. If you are dealing with chronic pain issues, are an avid athlete, or have high levels of stress in your life then weekly or bi-weekly sessions are most ideal. If you are in good health, experience very little pain and are just seeking wellness maintenance then every three or four weeks would be fine. The important thing is to set up a regular schedule, whether that means every two weeks or every two months for you. Also, get in the habit of scheduling ahead this way you are less likely to brush of your self-care. It is a real treat to look at your schedule for the week and realize that you have a massage scheduled already!
Q “I think I’m getting a cold, should I cancel my appointment?”
A Not necessarily. Massage (especially regular massage) gives your immune system a boost and also flushes toxins out of your body making it a great way to help you get over a cold faster. You should be aware, however, that by doing this it may enhance your symptoms as it speeds up the natural progression of the cold. If you think you may or may not be coming down with a cold, you may wake up the next morning to find that you do in fact have a full-blown cold. This is very normal and you will most likely find that with proper hydration and rest in addition to the massage your cold will go away much more quickly than usual. There are plenty of tissues lying around for runny noses and I can be sure not to keep you faced down too long if you are having trouble breathing. That being said, if you ever feel too sick to leave the house, or your instincts tell you that you need to just sleep then by all means you should cancel your appointment.
Q “What is the difference between a Swedish massage and deep tissue massage?”
A Swedish Massage is a system of long strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the more superficial layers of the muscles, combined with active and passive movements of the joints. Deep Tissue massage is a technique that releases chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on contracted areas, either following or going across the grains of muscles, tendons and fascia.
Q “What do I do during my session?”
A . In general, nothing. Your job is to simply lie down and relax. At times I will move arms or legs as necessary, especially for stretching, but it is not necessary to “help” me do this. It is best if you remain as relaxed and passive as possible and allow me to do all the work. If at any point your participation is necessary, I will let you know.
Q “How will I feel after my session?”
A Once again everyone is different but most people leave the session feeling somewhat disoriented and groggy. This will lift after a little while and you should be left feeling more relaxed and centered. Sometimes you will feel sleepy and relaxed for the rest of the day, other times you may feel energized and renewed. In the case of deep work and pain specific treatment you may feel a little sore the next day before you start to feel the real benefits of the work. This is completely normal and should not alarm you. It is part of the process of unwinding tension patterns and relieving chronic or acute pain. You should always be sure to drink plenty of water following a massage in order to keep your muscles hydrated and to flush out of your body toxins that were released during your massage.
Q “What is a trigger point?”
A A trigger point is an irritated area in muscle fibers that when compressed may elicit pain or a twitching response. Often pressure applied directly to a point like this for a few moments can allow for much tension to be released in the muscle that contains the trigger point.
Q “What if my massage wasn’t quite what I expected?”
A I love to know what my clients think of my work. It is the best way I can gauge what it is like for someone to receive a massage from me. Constructive criticism is always appreciated and can be offered in a non-judgmental and helpful way. Clear and open communication is a key factor in establishing a rewarding client – therapist relationship and will help me to improve the services that I offer you in the future. I welcome all feedback. By the same token, I love to hear what you liked about my work as well!
Q “What is your cancellation policy?”
A My time, as is yours, is very valuable to me. I require 24 hours notice if you need to cancel your appointment. If you cancel at the last moment or fail to show up for an appointment I will expect payment for the time that was held aside for your session. If you fail to show up for appointments, I will either not schedule you in the future, require payment up front, or require a credit card number that will be charged in the event that you again fail to show up for your appointment. Family and personal emergencies are, obviously, a part of life and I do understand extenuating circumstances.