Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. You will lie on a massage table, floor mat or chair, based on the technique being applied for the session.
Must I be completely undressed?
For basic therapeutic massage on the table, you can undress completely or chose to leave your underwear on based on your level of comfort. For women, bras should be removed as they interfere with most body work on the back and shoulder area. You will be appropriately draped and covered during the massage session. For stretching, Thai massage on the floor mat, or focused body work, comfortable workout clothing may be appropriate, such as that worn for yoga and light exercise. Please ask your therapist before the session if you have concerns about what to wear.
Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
The massage practitioner will show you to the therapy room and then leave while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.
Will I be covered during the session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders.
What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
Your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.
Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?
There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. We can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.
What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
This is your time to relax and tune in to your body. Taking regular deep breaths helps to ease muscle tensions and bring more oxygen to the tissues being worked during the session. If you are feeling discomfort or the pressure is not to your expectation, then you should speak up and communicate with your therapist so that the technique can be adjusted accordingly. If your body is uncomfortable in the position you have been placed for therapy, let your therapist know so that pillows or bolsters can be added or moved, or your position can be adjusted appropriately. Some people fall asleep during a massage due to the relaxation it provides to the body and mind. It is important to communicate with your therapist if you want to be allowed to drift in and out or if you want to be fully present for the therapy session so that your therapist can gently wake you if you start to drift into sleep.
How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?
Most people feel very relaxed and rejuvenated after a massage. When the muscles have been very tense or with focused work for stressed or injured tissues, the patient may experience more pain and stiffness after a massage. Toxins that have built up in the tissues have been released during body work. Lactic acid and other muscle waste products need to be flushed from the tissues after a therapy session so it is important to drink plenty of water after a massage. After therapy sessions where scar tissue or fascial tension was part of the focus work, these areas can be sensitive for a period of time. Stretching, soaking in a tub, or other therapies may be indicated as part of the healing process.
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.
Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.
More than just a luxury?
Many people question if massage therapy is worth the expense in our tight economic times. Research has shown that massage therapy is a valuable component of a well-rounded health care routine. It can help us combat chronic and acute pain, relieve stress, and improve our overall physical and emotional health. The benefits of massage therapy on the mind and body have been shown to have cumulative positive effects in so many aspects of our lives. By being in tune with our bodies and improving our level of emotional and physical health, we can be more effective at decision making, more efficient in our work, enjoy more quality sleep, and feel more energetic. What else could you allocate part of your monthly budget toward and get such effective and lasting results!
How often should I get a massage?
While getting a massage is beneficial to your mind and body, a regular massage therapy session is even more powerful as part of your preventive health care routine. People who get regular massage several times a month notice that they are more in tune with their body. They are more aware of acute stress within their body and can address changes before they lead to tissue damage. Regular massage has the potential to create a cumulative effect on our positive attitudes toward life and leave us feeling good at a physical and emotional level that translates to more positive energy for our whole lifestyle.