25 Things your Massage Therapist wants you to know... to get the most out of your massage, and to feel comfortable!
Some great tips in here for massage first timers,
and for those who come often.
1. Please be on time. (and by 'on time', we really mean early) We prefer to work on you for your entire scheduled time. Often, we have another client coming in right after you, so it is not always possible for us to work on you past the scheduled appointment time. If you can arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment start time, you'll have plenty of time to use the restroom, get up to speed with your massage therapist with any goals or concerns you may have, and time to undress and get situated on the table. And, if this is your first visit, please plan to arrive a solid 15 minutes early as you will need to fill out some brief paperwork.
2. We don't care about the stubble on your legs. Unless a leg is shaved within a few hours of your massage, it has stubble on it. We don't mind, and we are not going to flip out about leg hair. You don't hear men apologizing for the stubble on their faces? And that stubble is actually rough (although that doesn't bother us either). As long as you are reasonably clean, we're all good. :)
3. You have no obligation to talk to us during a massage. If talking helps you relax, by all means go ahead. Otherwise, go to your happy place. Most massage therapists will tell you, they are fine when people talk throughout their massage, however most will also agree, they feel they give a better massage when it's quiet and they can concentrate on what they are doing, rather than what you are saying... just something to keep in mind.
4. A Warm Shower Before is a Great Idea
For the best possible massage, it’s important to take care of yourself before you step foot in the service room. The easiest and most relaxing way to prep? A long, hot shower. The relaxation effect of a warm shower on both the mind and the muscles will help you be less tense during the session, which will benefit you as well as the therapist. Also, being and feeling clean can help mitigate body insecurities if they come into play. Plus, the therapist will appreciate your cleanliness for obvious reasons!
5. Be Strategic About Timing
While there's no perfect hour to schedule a massage, you still probably want to consider the timing of your appointment. To do this, think about what makes sense for you and your schedule. Some people feel invigorated from receiving massage and like to make this the start to their days, while others like to eliminate stress from work and life with massage after a long day, and relax in knowing their ‘off the clock'. You know your body better than any therapist, so trust your instincts!
6. To us, your butt is not cute, big, small, or sexy. It's a big muscle, and we like muscles. If you have problems in your lower back, chances are that your gluteal muscles are involved with that as well. We can work your glutes over a sheet covering if that makes you more comfortable, but it seems kind of silly not to work on some of the biggest muscles in the body. We respect your level of comfort tho- so if you would prefer us to skip this area, let us know.
7. Not all Massage Therapists are sensitive to certain outdated terminology... but many are! What terms not to use: a. Masseuse (yep, most of us were trained in school to hate being called that) b. Massage parlor (this historically has implied a less respectable 'sex shop' business type, and we don't want to be associated with any of that. c. Happy Endings.. If you ask for a happy ending—even as a joke—quite simply, we won’t be rebooking you. You don’t walk up to a pharmacist and ask for cocaine. We are professional health care providers. Please act accordingly.
8. We have had extensive training in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology (the study of muscles and movement), pathology, and ethics. If we forget that you may not know all the same terminology we have learned, please ask us what we mean. We know where your medial malleolus is (that's your ankle bone on the inside of your leg), but if you haven't heard of that before, please ask.
9. If you have had a change in your medical condition since you were in the last time, it is important that you tell us. If you tell us halfway through a deep-tissue massage that you are taking blood thinners, we are going to be thinking "uh-oh" in our heads. Let's keep the line of communication, open.
It may seem out of place to tell your massage therapist to do “more of this” or “less of that,” but that's exactly what we want you to do. In fact, the worst thing you can do is say, "I just want a good massage," During the massage, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your therapist if something they are doing is uncomfortable, the pressure is not right, or if you have a question about what they are doing. Be sure to ask them to spend more time on a certain area if that is what you want—or to skip a certain area entirely. ..at the end of the session, it is too late to tell them.
11. Yes, we put clean sheets on the table for every client. Every time.
12. Please remove all jewelry/watches and turn off your cell phone before your massage. and if you have long hair consider putting it up in a loose pony tail.
13. Bodily Functions, Well, Happen...
Massages are sure to chill you out, but did you know they can also improve your digestion? So, if you’re getting a rub down and hear some grumbling noises and yes, even flatulence, don’t freak. It’s easy to be embarrassed, but there’s absolutely no need to be: It’s not uncommon for people to pass gas during a massage session, it’s completely normal. If you're worried, avoid any high-fiber foods before your appointment. Another good suggestion is hitting the bathroom before your session and not drinking too much water right before you hit the table, since there's nothing worse than having to pee while someone is pressing on your bladder.
14. If you are happy with what we do, tell your friends, family and coworkers. We love referrals.
15. Avoid Eating Right Before
Generally, a full meal right before you hit the spa is a no-go, as massage certainly stimulates digestion. We would suggest eating lightly right before a massage, and having a meal a few hours prior. Of course, don’t starve yourself in the preceding hours, as you may feel dizzy or light headed during the massage as a result, but eating lightly one to two hours beforehand will allow for digestion while not making you feel uncomfortably full.
16. It's Fine to Get Butt Naked
We get that it can be a little uncomfortable to strip down to your birthday suit in front of someone you’ve never met, but really, it's totally normal. Remember, massage therapists are trained professionals and your undressing can actually lead to a better appointment. Undress to the point of where you feel comfortable.. We are professionals and will keep you covered with sheets or draping where appropriate, but you should know that undergarments can sometimes get in the way of long strokes or pressure points and inhibit you from experiencing the best massage possible. You will be completely covered except the areas in which we are working. and to be clear - you will be in a private room ALONE when you undress, and go under a sheet and blanket on the massage table before the massage therapist ever walks in. At no point do they see anything they shouldn't. We only adjust the sheet where we are working - for example, we roll back the sheet to uncover your back only to massage your back, then we cover it back up when we are done. Then we will move on to a leg - uncover just the leg, massage, and cover it back up. Everything 'private' always remains covered.
17. Remember to Breathe
Especially when your massage therapist is working out a particularly bad knot, it can be tempting to tense up a little bit and hold your breath. Don't do this, or you may miss out on one of the major benefits of that massage. It’s crucial that you breathe fully and deeply when difficult areas are being worked on so as to oxygenate your blood supply and aid tense muscles. If you find you are unable to breathe through whatever your massage therapist is doing - let them know the pressure is too much. They will adjust to a more moderate pressure.
18.Drink a Ton of Water After Your Appointment
It's especially important to hydrate post-massage. Similar to a workout, your muscle tissues can become dehydrated during a massage. Therefore, drinking plenty of water post-massage is very helpful in rehydration, building healthy muscle tissue, and removing metabolic wastes that accumulate as your muscles are worked out.
19.It Shouldn't Hurt
A little pain is necessary to get the job done, right? Not necessarily. There may be slight pain in stretching or having tight or tensed muscles worked on, but relaxation really is the key. If too much force is provided, the muscle tightens up more and creates even more pain and possibly bruising muscle and damage. So, again, be sure to let your therapist know if something hurts. We promise, we won't be offended or think you're a wimp. We both want your muscles to relax - and a painful massage is not always the way to get that.
20.One Massage Every Few Years Isn't Going to Do Much
When it comes to massage, “less is more” definitely does NOT apply. While one massage can certainly help, it packs the greatest benefits over time. Massage therapy should be considered part of a long-term wellness routine. It’s best to get a massage as frequently as possible, even if it's once a month or once every six weeks. All your muscle tightness and pains can never be totally worked out, as you’re constantly living, breathing, and moving your body, but getting your muscles loosened as a tune up seriously helps diminish injury. Try thinking of it like getting a workout in at the gym. If you only go once a year - how effective do you think that work out will be toward your overall good health goals?
21. Skip the Post-Massage Latte
If you book an early-morning massage session, be sure to drink your morning coffee before, not after, your bodywork. Drinking caffeine after a massage can tense the muscles just worked on, so it's best to avoid if possible and try herbal tea or water instead.
22. If You Feel Any Soreness, Treat It
It's totally normal for your muscles to be a little sore after a massage for the same reason they do after a stellar exercise session: They’re being worked pretty hard! You wouldn’t ignore tight or painful muscles after a long run, so you shouldn’t after an intense rubdown either. After deep work, icing is recommended to lessen the immediate soreness. Light stretching is a nice touch too, because the muscles are warmed up, so light yoga or even getting an adjustment at a chiropractor after is perfect harmony.
23. Be honest on your health history form. We aren’t asking out of curiosity. A therapeutic massage is not like a back rub from a friend. There are some conditions where we’ll have to modify how we work—or possibly postpone treatment.
24. Your body is amazing. No, really. We are so much in our heads and online and just busy being busy, that we forget to be connected to what’s going on in our bodies. We forget to listen to what our bodies are telling us. We keep all of our stresses, our hurts, our joy, our sadness with us in our bodies. Getting a massage is a way to stop and listen to what’s going on in your body, and your heart. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of that time with you.
25. Finally, enjoy your massage! We love our work and hope you do, too. During the massage session, our job is to do bodywork. Your job is to relax. We love the tranquil look people get after their massage, so leave your worries somewhere else and leave your muscles to us.