Tips on Receiving a Massage

Written by Joe Smartly

Showering just before your massage washes off any salts, minerals or chemicals that could clog pores when mixed with massage lotions or oils.

A Mineral Bath is recommended before a massage for complete relaxation.

You will be able to take your clothes or robe off and cover yourself in privacy. You will be draped with a sheet throughout the service.

Before your massage begins, tell your therapist which areas you would like to focus on, and any areas to be avoided. During your massage, let the therapist know if you feel any discomfort. Communication is the key to getting a great massage.

A good massage therapist is eclectic, multi-talented and devoted to giving you a massage that will satisfy your needs. Remember, deep pressure doesn’t mean better and receiving a deep therapeutic massage shouldn’t cause pain. Please communicate with your therapist to “listen” to your body.

Close your eyes and allow your mind and body to quiet. Focus on how you feel. Breath deeply and let tension slip away with each breath. Remember, this time is for you.

If you have never had a professional therapeutic massage before, you could be intimidated by what you do not know or you may not be aware that the successful outcome of your massage session depends largely upon – not only your massage therapist – but also on how you prepare and receive the massage. So what can you do to benefit the most from your experience?

Preparing is about Attitude

First, how do you view taking time out for yourself? Do you view it as being selfish, time better served towards family, or time well spent in caring for oneself? Our views towards our own self wellness stem from our cultural, environmental, or social values. If we feel guilty when we are having a massage, it is counter productive to becoming stress-free and relieving tension. Adjusting our attitude towards our own self-wellness may be the key to unlocking our stress-relief and tension-free self.

Are you worried about nudity? Are you concerned that your therapist will be making judgments regarding your physical appearance? Therapeutic professionals are specially trained to ensure that your personal dignity is maintained throughout the entire treatment. Draping techniques are used that will only uncover the areas of which are being worked – areas that are defined by you. You can undress to the level of your own personal comfort. Your therapist is trained to observe your body’s structural and muscular condition, not its physical appearance.

Preparing our Bodies

Considering that the majority of your body’s weight is made up primarily of water, water is essential to maintaining your body’s well-being and health. A massage will flush toxins from your body’s muscles to your lymphatic system, thus requiring that you follow the treatment by drinking water to remove these toxins from your body; how much water depends upon your age, weight, and other such factors.

You should not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs prior to your treatment. These will adversely affect the outcome of your massage. Allowing thirty minutes to an hour between eating and receiving a massage is recommended as your body’s digestive system is still actively processing during this time.

If you wear contact lenses, you will not want to wear these during your massage since they will become dry. If you choose to wear your contacts during your treatment, be sure to bring your contact solution to moisturize your contacts after your session.

Removing your jewelry and safely securing them with your belongings is also recommended, this may include body piercing as well. Bring an antiseptic with you if you have a naval or other body piercing to sanitize the area before and after your treatment.

Preparing Your Therapist

Arrive early for your treatment, approximately by ten to 15 minutes, to finish the paperwork that you will need to provide to your therapist. This is the perfect time to discuss any questions and concerns that you may have such as how much clothing to remove, draping procedures, etc. Some massage therapists and spas require that payment be made prior to the treatment session. Gratuities are not included at this time; although it is usual and customary for a 15% – 20% tip.

In a general sense, you will complete paperwork that outlines your consent on the treatment, what treatment will be received, and what areas that you would like to be worked. You will also complete a health history. This health history will help you and your therapist to determine the best massage techniques or modality to use for you. You will need to include any conditions, diseases, medication, vitamins, and past medical procedures that you have had in the past or are currently undergoing so a proper assessment can be made.

There are a few medical conditions that will limit what massage techniques that can be used during your treatment. For instance, a diabetic will not be able to receive a deep tissue massage or another sugar stimulating treatment. Other medical conditions can also negate an individual from even receiving a massage, such as an individual with certain types of immune system or blood disorders. If your medical condition will allow a massage under specific circumstances, it is best than that your health care provider’s consent is given in writing to the therapist before a treatment can be received. This consent should comprise of specific details on what areas and techniques can and can not be included in the treatment session. If your treatment will be limited in any way, this will be discussed by your therapist prior to your session.

Since your treatment will take several minutes, it is recommended that you utilize the restroom prior to your treatment.

Receiving the Massage

Finally the moment has arrived for your massage. So what now? Your therapist will direct you to your treatment room where you will receive instructions for your treatment session, such as lying on your stomach on the table, getting in between the linens, etc. Your therapist will leave you to undress.

As you begin your massage, your therapist will give you any additional instructions as required throughout the treatment. Your only job now is to relax, breathe deeply, and concentrate on having a stress-free experience. If the therapist needs to make adjustments to the placement of your limbs, allow the therapist to move them. Not you. This will allow your mind and body to completely rest.

In order to benefit from the massage, you may want to keep conversation to a minimum or if it helps you to relax more, then chat away. Refrain from soliciting advice from your massage therapist on anything not pertaining to your treatment session since he/she is not qualified to provide it. If any conversation is distracting to your primary goal of stress and tension reduction, it is best left for outside the treatment room.

If at any time during the treatment session you are uncomfortable, let your therapist know immediately so the necessary adjustments can be made. If the adjustments do not relieve your uncomfortableness, you have the right to discontinue the massage at any time.

At the end of your treatment, your therapist will again step out of the room for you to dress. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to ask! Before getting off of the table, take a moment to reorient yourself. Your feet may have some residue left on them from the massage oil, cream, or lotion that may make the floor slippery. You can take your time in getting dressed and check around for any forgotten items, especially jewelry and watches. Remember, it is good practice to drink water after your treatment to help flush the toxins from your body.

Tipping is customary for good service. Usually it is approximately between 15 – 20% of the cost of the treatment session. Depending upon the locale, some spas will have an envelope for you to place your tip for your massage therapist. This is also a good time to make your next appointment.

After the Massage

After your massage, you will want to avoid doing anything that is particularly laborious for the next few hours, such as working out. Some individuals may feel sore the next day from their massage depending upon the therapy technique or modality used. If you had any aromatherapy during your session, it may also be advisable to avoid direct sunlight to ward off heat sensitivity and/or sunburn.