Some people are nervous the first time they go for a massage, and that’s understandable. Questions come to mind like: What am I supposed to wear? Should I be speaking? Should the therapist? Will the therapist judge me on my physical appearance?
Here’s the thing: massage is meant to be therapeutic and enjoyable. You should be able to quickly get to the point of looking forward to a massage in much the same way you’d look forward to a holiday! It’s your moment to relax, rejuvenate and let go of stress. Here’s how:
Communicate with your therapist
Massage therapy isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ activity: you need to communicate with your therapist about the specific needs you have, what you’re hoping to get out of the therapy, areas that need to be worked on and any general questions that you might have.
The therapist is invested in making sure that you’re comfortable with and during your session, so don’t hesitate. If the background music is too loud or the therapist is applying too much pressure, you should feel free to say so!
Sure, you’re lying on a table semi-naked while a clothed professional standing over you; this can inhibit some people. But the keyword there is ‘professional.’ Your massage therapist isn’t there to judge you. They’re there to help you address your needs with a professional attitude and ability.
Learn what you like
It’s a good idea to experience different types of massage to see what appeals most to you, particularly if your goal is relaxation and stress reduction. This is another important aspect to discuss with your massage therapist. After a few sessions, you’ll have a better sense of what you like, what you don’t, and you’ll be more comfortable to communicate that with your massage therapist:
Massage therapy modalities include, but aren’t limited to:
- Swedish massage - gliding and kneading of muscles with oil-based lubricants. While it is generally focused on relaxation, Swedish massage is therapeutic as it is effective for relieving tension, increasing blood flow and breaking down scar tissue
- Myofascial massage - includes holding and stretching of the skin, with little or no lubricant, to engage the tissues.
- Hot stone massage - your therapist will prepare you by starting out with some Swedish massage techniques, and then apply hot Basalt stones. These act like an extension of the therapist’s hands, releasing tension in your muscles.
- Deep tissue massage - whether you’re an athlete or you sit at a desk all day, deep tissue massage is a therapeutic technique for relieving muscle pain by applying pressure to the layers of muscle, tendon and other tissues.
- Learn more about these modalities here!
What level of undress is best?
That’s entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable with. It also depends on the type of massage you are getting. If you want a face down Swedish massage, you’ll need to remove at least your upper body clothing.
Massage therapists are experts with draping. The point of draping is for modesty and warmth, and to create a barrier between yourself and the therapist to maintain that comfort level. Basically, the only part of you that should be uncovered is the part that is being worked on.
What happens when the service is complete?
Your massage therapist will discuss with you what conclusions they drew from the massage: how often you should get a massage, what benefits you can expect to experience over the long-term, dealing with any soreness that results, and any self-care you can engage in between sessions that will help you, such as specific stretches for a particular muscle group.
Your massage therapist is focused on your health and your well-being. At the end of a massage session you should feel that the massage was beneficial and enjoyable and hopefully, already be already thinking about your next session! Take a moment to visit the Elements Massage website and book an appointment at one of nearly 250 studios, nationwide. Your body will thank you!