WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON MY FIRST MASSAGE THERAPY 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.
This section will continue to describe an appointment conducted in a private practice. Other types of atmospheres may differ.
Before the Massage:
First of all, make sure it is a good time for you to have a massage. Reschedule your visit if have a fever, skin irritations (such as poison ivy or sunburn), or if you are trying to stabilize your medication (because massage can affect the dosage needed). 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 are rushing and arrive stressed, it will take longer to get into a relaxed state.
No Professional Massage should begin without a Health History interview.
Generally, first appointments begin with an intake process, starting with a health history form. The health history information form may be mailed out to you so you can complete it beforehand. If not, arrive early for your first visit to fill it out. Generally, a health history will ask 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 likely 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 and ask questions. Because massage can affect multiple body systems, such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, be honest with the massage therapist about your health. You should also let the therapist know about any pharmaceutical drugs or botanical medicines you are taking, because massage can enhance or reduce the effect of pharmaceutical drugs, such as blood pressure medication. Knowing your history allows a therapist to determine if there are any reasons you should avoid massage or a particular technique.
The massage therapist will ask you 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 or other draping on the table. The therapist 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 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, don't like the music, 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.
WHERE WILL MY MASSAGE THERAPY SESSION TAKE PLACE?
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.
WHAT DO I DO DURING A MASSAGE THERAPY SESSION?
Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she or 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.
IS it OKAY to TALK? Yes, it is okay to talk, but you may get more benefits from a relaxation massage if you let go of your everyday worries or concerns. If you are nervous about the process of receiving massage and need to talk, to feel safe, your therapist will understand. They are trained not to talk about themselves during your session, but will simply answer your questions with a yes or no. If your session is rehabilitation-based, the therapist will need to stay in constant contact with you regarding pain levels and measuring relief. Because it's important that you offer specific feedback to the therapist, she may keep talking to keep you from drifting off.
HOW WILL THE MASSAGE TREATMENT FEEL?
It usually depends on the techniques used. Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes (effleurage) that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. Do not hesitate to ask questions or mention if you feel any discomfort so that the massage therapist can use another approach or technique.
Is it COMMON to EXPERIENCE EMOTIONS? It depends. You might be having a day filled with emotions: sadness, joy or exhaustion. Sometimes the safe touch, music that brings up memories, dates that are linked to events, or the smell of the massage oil may release feelings. The body can react by crying, laughing, or "shivering from cold." The mind can also become absorbed in the feelings rather than the massage.
Your therapist will simply ask if you are okay to continue receiving touch and given your answer, he or she will monitor how you are doing and adjust the session goals accordingly. For example, he or she may shorten the time, change the strokes or the music or add more draping.
WILL THE OILS USED MAKE ME BREAK OUT?
Most massage therapists use hypoallergenic massage oils or lotions. However, if you have sensitivity to certain types of oils or lotion please bring it to the massage therapist's attention as most practitioners have an assortment of oils and lotions on hand.
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.
IS A MASSAGE THERAPY SESSION ALWAYS APPROPRIATE?
No, there are several medical conditions that would make massage inappropriate. That's why it is necessary that you fill out the health history forms and before you begin your session. The massage therapist will ask general health questions to rule out if you have any contraindications to massage. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking.
If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage prior to any session. Your massage therapist may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
How long does Bodywork therapy usually last?
The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session.
What if I am EMBARRASSED about MY BODY? Remember that massage therapists are professionals who are sensitive to possible client issues with touch and are non-judgmental about your body weight, amount of hair, skin conditions, scars, disabilities, medical conditions, or personal history of trauma.
How will I FEEL AFTER the MASSAGE THERAPY treatment?
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, You may gain insight, recognizing your true level of fatigue, particularly if you can be "off duty" for the rest of the day and give yourself some time 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.
If possible, allow some quiet time after the massage and don't go back to work or other responsibilities immediately.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF 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.
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
More Massage FAQs
What does massage have to do with health and wellness?
This is the question that is always a challenge to have a clear answer for. We can turn to history to see that massage has been used as a health and wellness method for as long as humans have existed and interacted with each other. Most of us have experienced the saying "You are what you eat!". So, for a moment think about the saying "We are what we feel". How many times has a conversation begun with "Hi, how are you or how do you feel today". We instinctively measure how well we are by how we feel today. Massage has a treasure trove of fabulous Benefits and Effects on the human body that make us feel better because we are better.
What ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE?
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
A Powerful Ally There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
Profound Effects In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
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