By Aly Walansky
Ahhhhhh! A great massage — there’s really nothing quite like it! But in order to get the most you can out of the experience, you have to be ready, receptive, and relaxed. (Call it the 3 R’s!) No worries – we’ll get you ready!
1. Be as receptive and open to the massage process as possible. You may have to be naked, but you are dealing with a professional, whose job it is to keep you feeling safe and comfortable. Besides, you’ll be covered with a sheet!
2. It may seem like a natural to accompany your massage with wine and grapes – but don’t do it! Don’t eat just before a massage session. Let your body digest your meal first.
3. Always respect your care-giver and be on time. If you arrive in a frenzied, rushed state, it may take longer to relax. Besides, they may have a client directly after you and you don’t want them to have to rush!
4. If taking off all your clothes feels out of your comfort area, only take off as much clothes as you think you can in order to relax. If you don’t want to remove your clothing, wear clothing that will be comfortable during the massage and will allow the massage therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you expect will need to be massaged.
Privacy – The therapist will either leave the room or otherwise provide privacy while you undress. A sheet or towel is provided for draping during the massage and the therapist will uncover only the part of your body being massaged, ensuring that modesty is respected at all times. After the massage is finished, you will be provided with privacy while dressing.
Communicate with your massage therapist
* Before the session, give accurate health information and let the massage therapist know your expectations and reasons for the massage.
* Allergies to Oils, Lotions, Powders – The therapist may use oil, lotion or powders to reduce friction on your skin. If you are allergic to any oils, lotions or powders, tell your massage therapist, who can choose a substitute.
* Some massage therapists play recorded music during the massage session. Others find music distracting. If it’s provided, let your massage therapist know if you have any music preferences or if you would prefer they turn off the music.
* Some people like to talk during a massage, while others remain silent. Tell your massage therapist what you prefer.
* During the massage session, report any discomfort, whether it’s from the massage or due to any problems or distractions related to the environment, e.g., room temperature, music volume, lighting, etc.
* Give feedback to the massage therapist during the massage on the amount of pressure, speed of hand movement, etc. If anything happens that you dislike or seems improper, you have the right to ask the massage therapist to stop. If necessary, you also have the right to end the session.
* Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. It’s important that you be as comfortable as possible during your massage. Your massage therapist is a professional dedicated to do his or her best to help you feel at ease.6.
6. Remember to breathe normally. Breathing helps facilitate relaxation. People often stop or limit their breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged.
7. Relax your muscles and your mind. Tightening up by contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive. Let your massage therapist know this is happening. They may need to adjust the massage technique they use and may also be able to help you relax the affected area. If you find your thoughts are racing during the massage, one way to be more body-centered and to quiet your mind is to follow the hands of the massage therapist and focus on how the touch feels.
8. Drink extra water after your massage. Releasing all those toxins can leave you dehydrated!
9. Don’t get up too quickly and do allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session. If you’re dizzy or light headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast. It also may take a little time to integrate or absorb the results of the massage session.
10. Be prepared to schedule several massage sessions. Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond. From one session to the next, relaxation deepens as the chronic patterns of stress in the body are affected and released. If you’re getting massage to address chronic muscular tension or recovery from a soft tissue injury, more than one session is usually needed.