Your First Massage? Here's What to Expect.
Before Your Massage
Allow time to relax before a massage. A steam bath, hot shower or sauna can help you relax. These will soften your muscles, making your massage more effective. At UTMI, we ask that you please be considerate of your massage therapist and do not come to your appointment right after a sweaty game of golf or rigorous workout unless you have showered. :)
Do not eat right before a massage.
Massage therapists usually have a tight schedule. Make sure to be on time. If you are getting a massage for the first time, arrive 10 minutes early because you need to fill out a form about your medical history.
Questions you should be prepared to answer may include:
- Are you under the care of any doctor? If yes, what medical condition(s) are they treating?
- Are you taking any medications? If yes, what are you taking?
- Why did you come for massage therapy? What results do you expect?
Other questions might include whether or not you have any of the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Recent Injury
- A Fever
- Leg Swelling
- Are you pregnant?
- Varicose veins
- Heart Disease
- Bleeding Disorder
- Skin condition – open sores or wounds?
- Are you on any medication that thins your blood? If yes, which one?
You should understand that massage therapy is not intended as a substitute for a medical examination and is not designed to diagnose any medical condition, offer a medical treatment, or prescribe medications.
You should also understand that a massage should not be done when certain medical conditions exists, and that your massage student therapist needs to know the basics of your medical conditions in order to determine if you can receive a massage.
During Your Massage
The therapist will leave the room while you undress. Undress to your level of comfort. People are usually massaged without clothing, while covered with a sheet. It is your decision whether you want to completely undress. Whatever you decide, you will always be appropriately covered during your massage.
You should remove any jewelry that might interfere with your massage. Please secure your valuables with your clothes so that you do not forget anything.
After you undress, you will lie down on the massage table with the sheet over you. The massage table is padded and has a special face rest. You usually start face down. You might have a few minutes to relax. Take deep breathes and clear your mind – listen to the music.
The therapist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready before coming in. He or she may adjust the face cradle or use bolsters for support.
During your massage, the therapists will say, “turn, lift your arm, lift your leg, or take a deep breathe” when you need to. Ask any questions you might have.
It is important to tell your therapist what you like or do not like. If he or she is using too much pressure, let then know right away. Remember that they are students and each person has their own likes and dislikes. There is no way for the therapist to known what you are feeling.
On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is gentle and 10 is painful, the massage therapist should use pressure between 4 and 8. Even so, you have to tell your therapist what feels right to you.
You may feel more comfortable talking during your massage. If so, go ahead and talk or ask questions. If you would rather just close your eyes and relax, that’s fine too. It is all right to sigh or breathe deeply during a massage. Taking deep breaths helps you to relax, which makes the massage more effective.
Areas of your body will only be exposed when the therapist is working on them. Otherwise, most of your body will be covered. Your genital areas will be covered at all times during the treatment.
Massage works best when you are relaxed. Relax and let the therapist do the work. If you resist, your therapist may ask you to relax and take it easy. Do not think about your worries. Just focus on relaxing and enjoying the massage.
You might realize an area of your body is sore and you had not noticed it before. Tell the therapist and he or she can work on it.
Your therapist might tell you the area to be worked on next. If there is an area you want your therapist to skip, say so. For example, if you do not want your hair messed up, the ask that your scalp not be worked on.
A few minutes before the end of your session, the therapist will leave the room so you can redress. Take you time getting up. Some people feel dizzy after a massage. Sit up slowly and rest for 30 seconds or so before you stand up.
Sexually suggestive advances, such as asking the therapist to massage the genital areas, result in the session immediately ending. Students report these incidents to management immediately and you may be asked not to return.If anything happens during the massage that makes you feel uncomfortable, ask the therapist to stop. It is your right to end the massage at any time for any reason.
After Your Massage
Your massage therapist may ask that you drink a lot of water after your massage. Drinking plenty of water is always good for your body. This is especially true after a massage session because water helps flush out the muscle toxins.
You are expected to pay immediately after the massage.
Should you tip your therapist? Tipping practices are different in each community. As students, they greatly appreciate any tips since they are not paid for conducting your massage. Generally a 10% to 20% tip is traditional.
You will probably feel relaxed after your massage. You will also probably have improved range of motion in your joints. These effects of massage are usually short-term.
Massage therapy should not be a replacement for regular exercise, good nutrition and other ways to reduce stress that produce long-term effects.
Massage therapy helps many people to relax, reduce muscle tension and feel better. Massage therapy should not be expected to cure acute pain and illness. For these types of conditions you should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Ask your doctor if message therapy can be of benefit to you. He may even prescribe a few sessions. However, when under a doctor’s care, you should probably not visit with a student therapist. In fact, you should seek out a therapist who has had advanced training in medical massage.
Massage therapy is usually very safe. However, people with certain medical conditions should not have a massage.
For even more information about what to expect click on this link: http://www.massagetherapy.com/learnmore/whattoexpect.php. And please note that this link will take you away from the UTMI web site and over to the article at www.MassageTherapy.com.