10 Tips for Preparing for a Massage
You should make sure your massage therapist
Hi, I'm Missy Anderson, licensed massage therapist and owner of Barefoot Body Works in San Luis Obispo, California. I'm here today for About.com to give you ten tips in preparing for a massage using the information from About.com's Alternative Medicine site.First and foremost, when booking your massage, make sure that the spa or clinic is legitimate. To avoid finding yourself in the wrong sort of establishment, make sure that your massage therapist is certified or licensed, confirm that therapeutic massage is offered, and find out whether or not they'll require a health questionnaire to be completed.Another concern for many clients is the gender of their massage therapist, especially if you're new to massage. When booking your appointment, particularly at a spa with several massage therapists on staff, you can simply request a male or female practitioner based on your preference.There's no need to worry about undressing in front of your massage therapist. Federal and state laws require that you be left alone to disrobe. Once you've done so, get onto the massage table as they've instructed and cover yourself with the draping provided. Your massage therapist will knock on the door before re-entering the room, so you should have plenty of time and privacy. Most massage therapists will encourage you to fully disrobe, underwear included. This allows access to the low back and gluteal muscles; however, this is not required. If you're more comfortable leaving your underwear on during the massage, it's perfectly acceptable to do so.You may have concerns about your body or feel self-conscious about being partially undressed in front of your massage therapist. Intimate areas of the body will remain covered for the duration of the massage, and individual areas, such as legs, back, and arms, will only be exposed as the massage therapist works on them. You can ask your massage therapist to avoid certain areas of the body if their exposure makes you uncomfortable, or choose a massage technique, like Thai or Shiatsu, that can be done through clothing.As your massage therapist works on you, don't be embarrassed to let him or her know if the pressure is not deep enough. Most massage therapists will air on the side of caution, and their techniques may seem too light. If this is the case, speak up and let them know – they won't be offended and your massage will be more enjoyable.Some clients feel awkward with long silences, others prefer the quiet. If small talk helps you relax, feel free to strike up a conversation with your massage therapist. On the other hand, there's no need to talk during your massage, and silence won't be interpreted as rudeness. You most definitely want to speak up if something is hurting, the room temperature needs adjusting, or you forget to disclose any health issues. As a massage is an incredibly relaxing experience, some clients will fall asleep on the table. It's not uncommon for these clients to drool a little bit. Should you wake up and find a wet spot near your face or head, don't feel embarrassed. Your massage therapist has seen this several times and is happy to provide a tissue.A couple of other natural functions that can occur during a massage are erections for males and flatulence for both sexes. Again there's no need to feel embarrassed if either of these occur during your massage. Generally, your massage therapist will continue to work, ignoring either occurrence.Finally, at the end of your massage, you may be uncertain about tipping. It's fairly common to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip if your massage was a good experience, but this may not be necessary (or even allowed) if you're receiving a massage in a clinical setting, like a chiropractor's office. Your best bet is to ask about tipping etiquette when booking the appointment. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at about.com.