What should I expect for my first massage?
Your massage therapist may require you to fill out a health history form. Afterward the therapist 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, and to determine if massage is appropriate for you. Your massage therapist may perform certain assessments and testing to evaluate your condition and to see if you have any presenting complaints.
It is important to list all health concerns and medications so the therapist can adapt the session to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so the therapist is aware if he/she needs to use a different oil or lotion during the session.
Do I have to undress completely for a massage?
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. The therapist will work around the clothes you left on as best as he/she 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.
Your massage therapist should give you privacy to undress and get comfortable on the table.
If you prefer to stay fully clothed, then I recommend you explore the many other types of bodywork that are performed clothed.
Do I have to cover myself with the 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 the therapist is going to work 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 my massage treatment?
Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she/he 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.
Will the massage hurt?
This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. 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 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 will I feel after my massage?
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. Sometimes a hot shower, or a soak in the tub can ease this soreness.
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 hydrated and healthy.
How many sessions will I need?
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