We have all been there: that uncomfortable situation where you don't know how to act or what to say. It can be especially nerve-wracking when you are in a room with a complete stranger NAKED!
But from the side of the practitioners, there are a few things that you need to know to make sure you are as comfortable as possible, and can truly enjoy your experience!
1: It does not matter if you shaved or not
This is the most spoken line when a client is on our table. "I'm so sorry I haven't shaved!"
The funniest part about this is that the oil keeps us from really noticing hair on the body, so if you never said anything, we wouldn't have even thought about it!
But also, we get it. There are lengths of time were we do not groom our legs (who wants to do that in the cold winter?). So never feel ashamed that you haven't groomed your legs or underarms, or pecs or back etc.
If you are still embarrassed about it, consider getting a wax before your massage, which can be soothing to your skin after the wax and be a win-win situation for you!
2: Bodily functions are normal
When you think about the anatomy of the body, it makes sense that when a therapist pushes down your low back and glute area, some gas might come out from your intestines. Believe it or not, it happens A LOT in the room. And it never matters to us.
Noises aren't a big deal when you are in the room. If you are hungry or digesting, your gut is going to make noises. It happens! And, it can actually be a compliment that your body is in such a relaxed state that it is digesting its food!
Along with pushing the digestive system, we are also moving around your lymphatic system. This system moves around the fluid and toxins throughout the body, then gets released through your urine. Which means that you are more likely to have to urinate during a treatment. Don't hold it. Let us know that you need to use the bathroom and we can pause the massage; you'll enjoy the rest of the massage much more!
3: We are paid to massage, not to talk to you
It can be really hard not to get close to someone who is as intimate as your massage therapist. You come at least every month, and exchange life stories and great/ terrbile things that may happen in our lives.
But we NEVER want you to feel obligated to talk your entire massage. Your massage is your time, and if you want to vent, talk, or listen to someone else, we are there for you. But if you come in and need that time of peace and quiet, we are there for you too. ALWAYS communicate with us what you prefer and we will be happy to accommodate.
4: It's fine to get butt naked
We get that it can be a little uncomfortable to strip down to your birthday suit in front of someone you’ve never met, but really, it's totally normal. Of course, we always want you to undress to the point of where you feel comfortable. As professionals will keep you covered with sheets or draping where appropriate the ENTIRE time, but you should know that undergarments can sometimes get in the way of long strokes or pressure points and inhibit you from experiencing the best massage possible. For example it makes it more challenging for us to do strokes or movement that will say, open up your hips or address low back issues. Remember, as massage therapists, we are trained professionals and your undressing can actually lead to a better appointment.
5: Do NOT come in if you are sick
It is so hard to cancel a massage after you have been waiting impatiently for the day to finally come. But if you get a cold, bronchitis or the flu just before or the day of your massage, make that call and cancel.
We don't want to accelerate your symptoms with massage and especially don't want you to spread germs to us, and to the other guests that are coming in an out.
This can also be said for contagious skin conditions; if you get pink eye, shingles, thrush, MRSA, Molloscum, Rignworm, Impetigo, Candida/yeast overgrowth, poison ivy, etc.
If you are not sure whether you should come in or not, its always best to call the office, and explain what you have, when you got it, and how you are currently feeling, then we can make a recommendation for you. We will understand if you have to cancel and we would especially hate to disappoint you if we have to refuse treatment after you've come all the way in for your appointment.
This does not include communicable diseases such as Herpes, Hepatitis etc. While YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST LET US KNOW if you have any of communicable disease, we can likely still do any treatment with some extra precautions.
6: Massage before or after Chiropractor
While chiropractic care and massage are two distinctly different therapies they both can relieve problems on the musculoskeletal system. Done in combination. they can achieve even more beneficial results. Chiropractic care involves the alleviation of joint dysfunctions that lead to irritation of the nerves. When the nerves are impinged or irritated, there is significant loss of function which can cause the muscle to tighten around the affected joint. The main aim of chiropractic care is to manage these joint problems in order to manage the nerve and muscle affectations and influence organ system function. However, in some cases of joint dysfunction, the muscles around the joint become so tight, it makes the joint adjustment more difficult. In this line, massage and chiropractic care is combined in order to reduce the muscle spasm, perform joint adjustments, improve joint mobility and manage pain
So, should you see your chiropractor first or your massage therapist first? Well, that can depend on different factors specific to what you are treating. For example, if you are all "knotted"up and tense, you may find getting your adjustment more difficult due to the resistance in your muscles. In that case, getting one prior to your adjustment may help you not only adjust better with your chiropractor but you to also hold that adjustment longer. We recommend you talking to your massage therapist and your chiropractor for their recommendations. We are of course, always happy to coordinate with your chiropractor as well.
7: Skip the post-massage cup-o-joe
If you book an early-morning massage session, be sure to drink your morning coffee before, not after, your bodywork. “Drinking caffeine after a massage can tense and dehydrate the muscles just worked on, so it's best to avoid if possible. Herbal tea, coconut water, plain water or one of our infused water options are all good choices post-massage.
8: If you feel soreness, treat it
It's not uncommon for your muscles to get get a little sore after a massage for the same reason they do after a stellar workout: They’re being worked pretty hard! You shouldn’t ignore tight or painful muscles after heavy weight training or a long run, so you shouldn’t after an intense rubdown either. Especially after deep work, icing is recommended to lessen the immediate soreness. Light stretching is helpful too, because the muscles are already warmed up. Light yoga, pilates, thai chi or even getting an adjustment at a chiropractor after can be perfect. A good soak with generous amount of Epsom Salt can help relax and soothe the muscles and using pain relieving essential oils or rubs can also help. We especially the how well the PanAway rollon works and how convenient it is to use, You can order that by clicking HERE
9: One massage every few years or even a year isn't going to do much
When it comes to massage, “less is more” definitely does not apply. To clarify, one massage can absolutely feel amazing, give you a much needed break and be stress reducing but it packs the greatest benefits over time. Massage therapy should be considered part of your long-term wellness routine. It’s best to get a massage as frequently as possible, even if it's once a month or once every six weeks. All your muscle tightness and pains can never be totally worked out, as you’re constantly living, breathing, and moving your body, but getting your muscles loosened as a tune up seriously helps diminish injury. Plus, with the focused massage work, sometimes an hour can cover only lower body, for example, and every time you come in there's another specific area that needs focus. We often recommend 90 minute massages for our clients who have multiple areas needing extra work. And if you are doing any kind of repetitive movement every day or sitting, such as at a desk, reagular massage can be even more important.
10: Request your massage style when you schedule
There’s nothing worse than leaving the spa feeling like you didn't quite get what you needed. While we are trained to help your body, our massage therapists can’t read your mind, so it’s best to tell us if you have any preference of therapists, pressure, or massage types when you book your appointment. This will help ensure you’re matched with someone who will be able to best work with your needs—for example, relaxation vs. deep tissue injury work, etc. If you're not quite sure, no worries. Let us know what's going on and we can recommend the best type for you. Of course, the day of your appointment we will again talk to you about your reasons for coming in and what you may need most. Communication is always key.
11: Hit the hard exercise before not after your session
You’ve got your massage session scheduled, but you’re set to fit in that favorite fitness class on the same day. What do you do? Definitely pump the weights or take the run before, not after, your massage. "The muscles you work may be a little tired from the exercise itself, but should be nicely warmed up for the massage. It's usually not a good idea to work out after a massage because you are likely to stress and strain the muscles that were just relaxed. Also, if you plan your workout for after, you’ll run the risk of being too tired, increasing your risk for injury or just plain losing motivation after being so relaxed.As for the gym session tomorrow? If you receive deeper work, we advise clients that it’s best to wait 12 – 24 hours before a strenuous work out to allow for healing time from the massage itself. With deep work, micro-tearing of the fibers can occur, in the same way as a hard workout, and the muscles need to recover. That said, go take a walk or a gentle yoga class. Your body will thank you.
12: A warm shower before can do wonders
For the best possible massage treatment, it’s important to take care of yourself before you step foot in the spa. The easiest and most relaxing way to prep? A long, hot shower. “The relaxation effect of a warm shower on both the mind and the muscles will help you be less tense during the session, which will benefit you as well as the therapist. Feeling clean can help mitigate body insecurities if they come into play too. Can't hit the showers before you massage? Truly, this is usually a non-issue for your therapist...unless of course, you just ran 10 miles, mowed the lawn and have been wearing sandals all day, accumulating as they say, toe jam...ewe! ;)
13: Remember to breath
Especially when your massage therapist is working out a particularly bad knot, it can be tempting to tense up a little bit and hold your breath. Don't do this, or you may miss out on one of the major benefits of your treatment. It’s crucial. Breathe fully and deeply when difficult areas are being worked on so as to oxygenate your blood supply and aid in the release of those tense muscles. Deep breathing, even sighing throughout your massage can help you release, mental physical and emotional tension, leaving you your ultimate relaxed. Don't be afraid of sounding funny.
14: Drink, drink, drink...water
It's important to hydrate BEFORE and AFTER a massage; before so that you do not come in for your treatment already dehydrated, as muscle tissue can become dehydrated during a massage as it works to release lactic acid, metabolic waster and such. Hydrating after a massage is especially important to rehydrate the muscles, build healthy muscle tissue, and continue to remove metabolic wastes that accumulate as your muscles are worked out.
15: If something doesn't feel right, say something
As a massage therapist, we know which muscles are in a knot, and which ones are inflamed. But what we don't know is how the massage if feeling for you.
If something is too deep, we can't feel it. So make sure to say "too deep". And if you need a deeper pressure in certain areas, make sure to say "can you go deeper there?"
Your feedback helps us to give you the best and most therapeutic experience possible.
We will likely need you to tell us as well, if you feel like the bed warmer is getting too warm or you would like it cooler, if you are not in the exact right spot for your head to be comfortable in the face rest, the room is too light, too dark, too cool, too hot...you get the idea. SPEAK UP! WE ARE HERE TO SERVE! :)
16: Emotional Release is common and healthy
Ok, you've had the week from hell (or maybe month or year), your marriage is falling apart, your kids are off the rail, you were diagnosed with something scary, life is just too hard today, your suffering from menopause and extra emotional and so on and so on. There are a million reasons why you may come in for your massage and unexpectedly find yourself crying during your masssage (or Reiki treatment) and having body work done is a great adjunct therapy when dealing with depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions and more.
Having body work done involves more than simply "working the muscles". Your nervous system, lymphatic system, vascular system, muscular system and so on are all effected in some way. They are being asked to release, to heal, to flex, to be nurtured and there is often a profound unspoken (sometimes unnoticed) energy exchange. Combine that with being in a safe space with a therapist you are comfortable with and in a more vulnerable state by simply being unclothed on the table and voila! An open door for an emotional release. Fear not! This is more common than you think and oh so healthy for you. NEVER feel embarrassed or ashamed! We take it as a compliment that you feel safe enough to do so.
So next time you get a massage, follow these tips, and you will be sure to have the best experience you've ever had!