What Can I Expect in a First Visit?
Most people receive massages in a place that is designated for massage. The environments vary, but the most common is a commercial setting, such as a spa, wellness center, or massage clinic. However, massage is becoming increasingly common in other settings such as hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. On-site chair massage is also offered in environments such as malls or airports, sporting events, or private parties.
In a private practice, however the experience may be different than other environments.
Before the Massage
First of all, make sure it's a good time for you to have a massage. There are several contraindications for receiving a massage. If you have any of the following conditions, you should NOT get a massage:
In the days before your massage, drink plenty of water.
Do not eat just before your massage.
Give yourself enough time to arrive on time and relaxed. If you're rushing and arrive stressed, it will take longer to get into a relaxed state.
Generally, first appointments begin with an intake process, starting with a health history. Arrive early for your first visit to fill it out. Generally, a health history will ask about:
I will review your health history and ask questions. Because massage can affect multiple body systems, such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, be honest with about your health. You should also let me know about any pharmaceutical drugs or botanical medicines you're taking, because massage can enhance or reduce the effect of pharmaceutical drugs, such as blood pressure medication. Knowing your history allows me to determine if there are any reasons you should avoid massage or a particular technique.
I will ask you questions to better design a session that meets your needs and goals within the time allotted. Let me 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 me so I can offer you some options. Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. All information you give is confidential.
I will outline what will happen in the session and then leave the room so you can undress to your comfort level.
When you're ready, lie down on the massage table and cover yourself with the sheet or other draping on the table. I will knock before re-entering.
During the Massage
Generally, you will lie on a massage table, covered by a sheet or large towel. Make sure you are comfortable and let me know if you are not. Tell me if you're cold, want to be covered, don’t want an area of your body touched, don’t like the music, or are experiencing discomfort with the technique or how it's being applied. Remember, you are in charge, and can ask for changes or stop the session at any time.
Draping is required at all times. Only the area being worked on will be undraped. Breasts, genitals or any other areas you identify will not be exposed during the session.
I play a lot of different kinds of music. Be sure to tell me if you prefer a different type of music or if you would like quiet.
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 me know so I can adjust the massage technique.
Answers to common questions
After the Massage
At the end of the massage, I 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.
You will be offered a glass of water. It's 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