Frequently Asked Massage Questions
Hopefully any questions you may have will be answered here. It is important for you to feel comfortable and relaxed for your session so that you will receive the most benefit. With that in mind, please ask any other questions that are not addressed in this section.
What should I expect when I arrive for my first session?
Your massage therapist will require you to fill out an intake form, so you should arrive a few minutes early to complete that. The form will then be reviewed with you, allowing you the opportunity to clarify any points of concern with your therapist. It is important to list all health concerns and medications so the therapist can adapt the session to your specific needs and avoid doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so that massage oils, essential oils, lotions and creams are not used that may cause an allergic reaction.
After reviewing the intake form, your therapist will ask you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on and if there are any conditions needing to be addressed.
Once this conversation is complete, your therapist will explain the procedure for disrobing and getting on the table. You will then be given privacy as you prepare for your treatment session.
Must I get completely undressed?
No, you will be asked to undress to your level of comfort. A massage is about relaxing and receiving the optimal benefit from your session. For a full body massage, most people get completely undressed, however, it’s fine if you would be more comfortable keeping your underwear on. Your therapist will work around your clothes as best as possible. Your comfort and ability to completely relax is of utmost importance.
If you prefer to remain fully clothed, then you should consider trying the Thai massage, which is a clothed modality.
What if I prefer more or less pressure?
Your therapist will ask you how the pressure feels during the massage, and there is no wrong answer. If the pressure feels uncomfortable, then your massage therapist wants to know this so adjustments can be made to ensure you are receiving the most benefit from your massage. Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others, so always let your therapist know if the pressure needs to change in order for you to be comfortable.
Should I feel any pain during the massage?
A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should always stay in the “hurts so good” range and most treatments can be done with little to no pain. Pain can be an indication that the muscle is possibly injured or inflamed and pressure should be adjusted accordingly. It is natural to tighten up when you feel pain, which negates the relaxing effects of the massage.
The most effective and deepest massage always works with your body’s natural response, not against it. For example, your therapist may ask you to take a deep breath and, as you exhale, may deepen the pressure or stretch. Holding a stretch or maintaining the depth of pressure for a few breaths can also give your body time to adjust and relax into the treatment. Always communicate with your therapist if there is any pain or discomfort beyond the “hurts so good” threshold.
What if I need something during the massage?
You will be asked questions regarding your comfort before the massage begins (i.e. head cradle, warmth, bolster, etc.) As the massage progresses, please bring any comfort needs or adjustments to the attention of your therapist. You will receive the most benefit if you are completely at ease and able to fully relax. With that in mind, using the restroom before the massage begins will keep that from being a cause for discomfort and possible interruption to your relaxed state of being.
How often should I get a massage?
Each person is different in this regard. If you’re looking to relax and destress, then a session every 4-6 weeks may be fine for you. If you are looking to address a specific condition, however, then it is recommended that you receive more frequent treatments at first and then slowly taper down to a maintenance schedule.
Frequency of sessions should be discussed with your therapist after the first treatment once a better understanding of your particular muscular issues and personal goals have been determined.
When should I not get a massage?
You should not book a massage if you have a fever, cold/flu, or contagious skin infection. There are many other conditions for which your therapist may need to adapt the techniques used (i.e. arthritis or osteoporosis) or avoid an area completely (i.e. cuts or burns). With some conditions your therapist may require approval from your physician before you receive massage (i.e. cancer, certain heart conditions, pregnancy). This doesn’t mean you can’t receive massage, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Your therapist can advise you about your specific needs.
Should I talk or remain silent?
You have one job to do during a massage and that is to unwind. The more you can quiet your mind, the more your body will rest in the parasympathetic state (commonly known as “rest and digest”). This allows more tension to be released by your therapist and the better your massage experience will be.
The important thing here is there are moments when you need to speak up. If you are uncomfortable in any way – you are too warm or too cold, there’s a light shining in your eyes, the pressure needs to be adjusted, etc. – then your therapist wants to know immediately so changes can be made to ensure your comfort. Massage time is you time.
What if something embarrassing happens during my massage?
Embarrassing things happen sometimes to all of us, but there is no reason to let it ruin your session. Massage therapists work with bodies on a daily basis and understand that things happen which are beyond our control. Men get erections, women have menstruation, and we all experience flatulence, drooling, and snoring.
We know that men can get erections sometimes during a non-sexual, therapeutic experience. This does not necessarily mean that the person is aroused or inappropriate. Touch administered to any part of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can result in an involuntary reaction. An educated, professional massage therapist understands this, and it will not be an issue for him/her. Discretion and professionalism will be maintained. If you are still concerned, consider wearing fitted underwear to make you feel more secure. Or feel free to ask for a weighted towel or blanket to drape across your pelvic/hip region. The added weight can provide a feeling of security and will calm the nervous system, decreasing the likelihood of an involuntary erection.
It is understandable that women tend to be nervous when receiving a massage during menstruation. Though they are infrequent, accidents do happen. Again, it’s part of life, but as medical professionals, we are used to dealing with these things. If you have concerns, just make sure you wear something that makes you feel secure and talk to your therapist if you are feeling uncomfortable at any time during your session.
As for gas, drooling, and snoring, it happens to everyone.
How do I know what's appropriate in massage?
Massage Therapists are trained to follow a strict code of ethics and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. One way to be more comfortable with massage is to know the rules. First, your therapist must obey all draping protocols. This means that the genitalia and gluteal cleft should never be uncovered for any reason no matter what modality of massage is being performed. A woman’s breast area should also remain covered unless written consent has been given and that area is currently being worked. Even with a consent agreement, the client has the right to revoke that consent for any reason. The areas included in the strict draping protocols are off limits and a therapist is never allowed to work beneath that drape.
If you feel uncomfortable with a situation, the first thing to do is speak up and find out what is going on. It is always a good idea to ask questions. Maybe the treatment you are receiving is part of another modality of massage you have never experienced before. Ask your therapist what he/she is doing and why. A professional and ethical therapist will have a therapeutic reason and clear explanation that should make sense to you. If you are not satisfied with the answer, however, then end things immediately.
Also keep in mind that Massage Therapists follow the same protocol. If they feel that a client is being inappropriate, they will end the session immediately. These are safe spaces meant for healing, and misconduct of any kind will not be tolerated.
Should I tip my therapist?
Tips are optional. Really. While much appreciated, a tip is not expected.
If you feel that you received something worth recognizing with a tip and wish to include one, then please do so. This is true of a service you purchase or if you are redeeming a gift certificate.