Attending your first massage therapy appointment can be somewhat intimidating, if you don't know what to expect. Here are a few frequently asked questions that should help put any concerns to rest...
Q: What will I experience during my massage session?
A: Your massage will take place in a warm, relaxing room. The lighting is generally dim, and there will be soothing music playing. There will be subtle aromatherapy, unless you prefer a fragrance-free environment...if so, just let your therapist know before your session. I use natural massage cream with soothing essential oils, but if you prefer fragrance-free massage creme, I will have it available. The only conversation that your therapist will initiate during your massage is to check in on your comfort. If you want to talk, that's fine - we will talk, and I will enjoy getting to know you, but this is YOUR time to relax. Conversation is not expected of you, and I will not talk unless you do. There is a warming pad on the table - please feel free to communicate whether you are too warm or cool during your session, and I will make the necessary adjustments.
Q: Do I have to completely undress?
A: Most massage techniques are most effective when administered on bare skin, but your level of undress is your decision. Your modesty and comfort are essential to your experience, so I always tell my clients to "undress to your level of comfort". You will be appropriately covered, or "draped", with a sheet and a light blanket during your entire session.
Q: What will happen when I arrive for my first appointment?
A: When you arrive, we will take a moment to get acquainted. Then I will ask you to fill out a simple client intake form, which will ask you some very simple, standard questions such as your personal contact information, how you learned about my studio, overall health and medical history, your massage preferences, and what you hope to gain from your session (relaxation, pain relief, etc.). We will talk about any specific problem areas you may want addressed (stiff neck, back pain, etc), and the possible root causes of the problem (job-related, specific injury, etc). I will then step out of the room to allow you to discretely disrobe (to your level of comfort) and get onto the table (under the sheet, please). I will always knock before returning to the room to begin your session.
Q: What is included in a full-body massage?
A: A standard, full-body relaxation massage includes neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet, back and hip muscles. Hips (gluteal muscles) will be massaged through the sheet. All other areas will be uncovered while they are being massaged, then re-covered for your comfort and warmth. Massage sessions may also include some light stretching, especially for low back or shoulder pain. If there are any specific areas you do not want massaged for any reason, please inform your therapist prior to your massage. And if you would like me to include face, scalp, and/or abdominal massage (great for relieving digestive ailments such as IBS or constipation), please feel free to request it.
Q: How often should I get a massage?
A: This is a very individualized answer....ultimately, it depends on you. Your lifestyle, your job, your budget, your schedule, your level of pain, how effective the massage treatments are for you...there are so many factors in this. Some people get massages once a week, others once or twice a month, others every few months. It truly depends on you and your specific needs. So the best answer is, consult with your massage therapist to develop the most effective and manageable treatment program for you.
Q: How do I know what kind of bodywork I want/need to have?
A: Most new clients should start with Swedish massage. It is the most general, and least invasive in terms of depth of pressure. Always discuss with your therapist any discomfort you experience during the massage - your therapist should always start with light to moderate pressure, then work more deeply if you (the client) request it. Never be afraid to ask your therapist to lighten the pressure!
Q: What do I need to do during the massage to assist the therapist?
A: Nothing! The therapist with handle all draping and un-draping (your attempted assistance here could lead to unintentional "exposure"). If you need the therapist to adjust the pressure, the temperature of the room, or if you want a blanket added or removed, please communicate. Other than that, all you need to do is relax, close your eyes, and enjoy your massage!
Q: Why should I get a massage?
A: There are a number of good reasons to get a massage - there are so many benefits! The answers for this are best shown on the "Benefits of Massage" page - just click the tab on the navigation bar.
Q: Is there any reason I SHOULDN'T get a massage?
A: Definitely. This is the reason for the health questions on the client intake form...receiving massage when you have certain conditions, or take certain medications, can cause serious problems. Massage is safe for most conditions IF controlled with medication and/or lifestyle changes. That said, massage therapy should be modified or avoided if certain medications such as muscle relaxers, pain killers, and blood thinners, are being taken regularly. If you are receiving medical care for ANY condition, consult with your regular physician before booking your massage. Most massage therapists will request written approval prior to massaging any client with a serious health condition.
For a more thorough description of massage contraindications, visit the following page: