Before your massage
You have found a therapist and made an appointment, now what?
Make yourself more comfortable with these tips:
- It is best not to eat a heavy meal within two hours of your appointment
- Do not drink caffeine or alcohol before you go
- Try to avoid any strong scents such as perfume or lotions
- Use the restroom before your massage
Consider making your appointment when you will have some free time afterward to relax. Also, try to get to your first appointment a little early so that you have time to fill out any paperwork.
Most massage therapists will ask you to complete a new client form. In addition to your basic information (name, address, and insurance, for example), you may be asked for medical information such as allergies, medications, existing conditions, or recent injuries. To get the most from your massage, be open and honest about any health concerns and your medical history.
What to Expect
Your First Massage
Congratulations on your choice to incorporate massage therapy into your life! Massage is a great way to soothe muscles, relieve stress, and boost your body’s natural defenses. If you have never had a massage, you may have questions. Read on to learn what to expect during your first appointment and how to get the most out of your sessions.
During your Appointment
You should have the chance to speak with your practitioner before your massage begins. Tell him or her about any specific conditions you would like to treat and what you want your massage to accomplish, and ask any questions about the massage or his or her techniques. Your practitioner will then leave the room and give you a few moments to disrobe. While it is easiest to perform massage if you at least partially undress, let your practitioner know if you prefer to stay clothed, or if you feel uncomfortable and prefer a fully-clothed chair massage.
During your massage, you will lie on a specially designed massage table under a clean sheet or towel. Your body will be draped the entire time, with only the part of the body being worked on exposed.
Your massage will most likely start with gentle strokes, with more pressure being added as your body relaxes. Try to breathe deeply and evenly to promote relaxation. Feel free to close your eyes—or even fall asleep—or talk to your practitioner. If you would like to listen to music or have any other requests, just ask—your practitioner will want you to be as relaxed as possible during your massage.
Most appointments last an hour or more to give the practitioner time to massage the entire body, including the arms, legs, back, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders.
If at any time anything feels painful or uncomfortable, be sure to speak up. Massage should not hurt! If you would like your practitioner to focus on a specific area, just let him or her know.
After your Session
After your massage, you may feel sleepy—or energized. Your muscles may feel very relaxed—or a little sore (with deep-tissue massage). Every person is unique, so simply listen to your body and do what is best for you. Be sure to drink extra water to flush away the toxins that are released from the soft tissues during a massage.
Another important thing to do after your massage? Schedule your next one! While you will probably feel the benefits of massage after just one session, it is a cumulative process. The more massage you get, the more good it will do—and the better your body will feel.
Choosing your Provider
Before you start enjoying the benefits of massage, you will first need to find the right massage therapist.
To start, ask your health care provider or trusted friends for a recommendation. You may also want to find out whether massage is a benefit covered by your health insurance.
When choosing a massage therapist, consider:
- Available Hours
- Insurance Coverage
Once you have narrowed down your options, make sure your practitioner has the proper training and credentials and meets the requirements to practice in your state. Ask what type or types of massage they practice, and whether they specialize in any specific treatments. Ensure that the therapist can provide what you are looking for—whether it is simple relaxation or injury rehabilitation.