Massage FAQ & Info
What to expect
Generally, first appointments begin with an intake process, starting with a health history. The health history can be downloaded here, so you can complete it beforehand. If not, arrive early for your first visit to fill it out. The health history asks about:
- Medical conditions
- Areas of concern
- Your level of pain or discomfort on good and bad days
- What helps reduce the pain and what makes it worse
- Contact information
You will also be asked to sign forms that explain your right to privacy such as HIPAA Consent and Disclosure.
The massage therapist will review your health history with you. Massage can affect multiple body systems, such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, so, be honest with the massage therapist about your health.
The massage therapist will ask questions to better design a session that meets your needs and goals within the time allotted. Let the therapist know what areas of your body you would like worked on, if there are any areas to avoid, and if you have any techniques that you would like to use or avoid. If you are concerned about undressing, discuss it with the therapist, who should be able to offer you some options. Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. All information you give is confidential.
The therapist will outline what will happen in the session and then leave the room so you can undress to your comfort level.
When you are ready, lie down on the massage table and cover yourself with the sheet on the table. The therapist will knock before re-entering.
During the massage
You will lie on a massage table, covered by a large sheet. Make sure you are comfortable and let the therapist know if you are not. Tell the therapist if you are cold, want to be covered, don’t want an area of your body touched or are experiencing discomfort with the technique or how it is being applied. Remember, you are in charge, and can ask for changes or stop the session at any time.
A professional massage therapist will only expose areas of the body as they are worked on, never exposing privet or sensitive areas.
How to get the most from your massage
Be as open to the process as you can.
Relax and try let your thoughts go. One way to do this is to focus on how the touch or technique feels.
Remember to breathe, as this helps you relax. Sometimes people hold their breath when a sensitive area is massaged, but it is best to breathe through it.
In the same way, tightening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive. If you can’t seem to relax your muscles, let your massage therapist know. They may need to adjust the massage technique.
After the massage
At the end of the massage, the therapist will leave the room so you can dress in private. Wait a few minutes on the table as you get grounded, especially if you feel light-headed. Then take your time getting ready.
When you leave the treatment room and enter into the reception area, the therapist will offer you a glass of water. It is a good idea to drink some water to help the body flush waste products.
If possible, allow some quiet time after the massage and don’t go back to work or other responsibilities immediately.
How you feel after the massage will vary based on the style of massage used, the length of the session, and the demands you place on your body afterward. Feelings range from being relaxed, renewed and centered, to invigorated, excited or experiencing a rush of clarity or new energy and insight, to recognizing your true level of fatigue (particularly if you can be “off duty” for the rest of the day) and wanting only to rest.
Clinical types of massage may leave the body free from chronic tightness or acute pain patterns, but may replace it with a mild soreness from the pressure applied. After this type of massage, you may want to rest the area before jumping back into the activity that produced the soreness.
Realize that the benefits of massage tend to be cumulative, so typically, you will feel better as you get additional massages.
Answers to common questions
- Can I go back to work after my massage? Of course, but plan on enough time to readjust. Be aware that your perception of motion (driving, stairs, distances may be “off” for 20 minutes or so after the session). Also, realize your relaxed state may bring your feelings close to the surface.
- Will the oil ruin my clothes or mess my hair? Most massage oils will not damage your clothing. If you have any concerns, bring a comfortable set of clothes to put on afterward. A well-trained therapist can design a session that does not mess up your hair or make-up.
- Should I tip the massage therapist? Though tipping is not necessary, it is gratefully appreciated. And the quality of the session will not be affected by whether you leave a tip or not, nor should you expect to get additional time or better service by tipping. It is nice to let the therapist know that you appreciate a good job.
Drink Lots of Water
This is perhaps the most important rule of all. Rehydration is key to a healthy body, especially after a massage. Since massage promotes lymphatic movement, drinking water and hydrating yourself will move toxins through the kidneys and out of the body. Drinking water is the best way to do this
Take a Bath
A nice warm bath is very soothing after a massage, particularly with Epsom Salts. Epsom Salts are just Magnesium Sulfate, which is a natural muscle relaxer. They are also wonderful at drawing out toxins in the body, as is massage, so you may get a sort of detoxifying effect which is very beneficial to the body. You can get Epsom Salts at most grocery stores or pharmacies. If you don’t have Epsom Salts, don’t worry – a nice warm bath will do just fine. Note: warm bath, not scalding hot! This is important because if you have any inflammation in the muscles the excessive heat can serve to exacerbate the injury.
Listen to your Body
You may be sore after the massage. This is normal with Deep Tissue massage, but it can happen with the gentler Swedish Massage as well. Sometimes you may not feel the soreness until the next day. If you do not get massages often, or do not exercise and are not used to using the muscles, then they may respond with soreness, this should only last a few days at most. Remember any particularly sore areas and report this to your therapist at your next visit. The therapist should be open to what you are saying and should tailor your visit from the information they receive from you.
Get Plenty of Rest
You may feel tired, as if you want to lie down and take a nap. This is completely normal, and you should listen to your body. If you can, make sure you have nowhere to go and nothing to do after your massage. Massage is not just work on the body; it is work on the mind as well. It helps to alleviate stress and relax you; this in turn may make you feel tired. This is your time to recover your mind and body and it is your body’s time to rebalance itself and retune.
Massage can trigger an emotional release, which is perfectly natural. If you have been under a lot of stress, you may feel the need to cry after the massage. Alternatively, you may feel elated, euphoric or full of energy. Either response is normal. Just allow yourself to feel how you feel, free from judgment.
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