Whether you are anticipating your first massage or you have received many massages, it’s always good to go into a session with a heads-up of what to expect during your session. Here is a list of several things that often come up during the sessions. While there are many types of bodywork and massage being practiced today, some general guidelines will pertain to most any massage session.
* Client and An Angel's Touch expectation
*The intake process
* How far to undress
*What is your role during a massage?
*Promoting a safe environment for yourself and others
*What to do after the massage
1. Client and An Angel's Touch expectations
An Angel's Touch will always treat our clients with the utmost respect. We will always strive to give the best in quality as well as value in our services. We will always do our best to accommodate our clients in ANY way we can. In return,
An Angel's touch expects the same respect from our clients towards our Therapists, staff and facility. We do not tolerate abusive behavior (be it, derogatory, defamatory, sexually explicit and/or any forms of this type of behavior). An Angel's Touch works consistently at providing you, our clients with a clean, serene and professional atmosphere.
2. The intake process
First off, your therapist will take some time to get to know you. You will be asked to fill out a short intake form. This form will not only determine any possible contraindications you may have medically, but also help to determine the direction of your treatment.
Take this time to get to know your therapist. The Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) will use this time to get to know you, your needs and goals, and perhaps your body through specific assessment tests (like muscle testing). Clients are always asked if they have a specific goal for the massage. Often people will indicate that they prefer to have a relaxation massage or therapeutic work on specific areas of discomfort. Once you and the LMT have determined the goals for the session, the hands on part of the treatment will begin!
3. Level of undress
The question that is asked most often by our clients is what to wear during treatment. Many practitioners are trained in Swedish massage as their primary training and then move on to more specialized practices that may or may not require different levels of clothing. Swedish massage is best done with the client disrobed. That being said, the most important thing is that you are comfortable during your session. We always advise our clients to disrobe to their level of comfort. The amount of clothing that you wish to leave on (or off) is truly up to you. A skilled therapist will be able to do their work regardless of how much you leave on or off.
You should know that most states have laws regarding draping of clients. “Draping” simply refers to the placement of sheets or other items over sensitive areas of the body in order to provide maximum comfort for the client. We drape our clients at all times. This means that the therapists won’t see anything that they don’t need to see! They have been trained to ensure both your and the LMT's own comfort. If you choose to leave everything on or go down to nothing, the choice is yours – anything to ensure your comfort is fine. Just be sure that if you do choose to disrobe to any extent that you get under the sheet.
4. Your role during the massage
Once you are on the table and the LMT has started her work, what is your role? There are several things that you can do to further facilitate your relaxation.
Communicate: We always stress to our clients that it is very important for them to communicate with the LMTs when necessary. Some things to communicate about include the level or depth of pressure, temperature, and any emotions that may come up.
a. Pressure – if you are feeling the LMT is going too deeply or lightly, tell her. Ask her to adjust the pressure. The idea of “no pain no gain” is completely useless in the world of massage. If a therapist is going too deeply - to the point of great pain, often the muscles under the strain will contract and cause the opposite effect of what the LMT is intending. Unless the therapist has a reason for the depth of pressure in a certain area, she will be happy to modify to fit your needs.
b. Temperature - Clients often get cold the longer they lie on the table. Let the therapist know if you need additional blankets or the heat turned up. If you are uncomfortably warm - do inform your therapist.
c. Emotions - Massage has the potential to bring up many emotions for the client. It’s up to you how much of this you choose to communicate with your therapist. Remember that most therapists are not trained in Counseling or Psychology, but often verbalizing emotions that come up in response to touch in certain areas can help to further release the area of tension. Also, if you need more time in a certain area or just need a minute without touch, don’t hesitate to speak up.
- Breathe!!! Much of our tension comes from not allowing ourselves to properly breathe. The difference between a client who is experiencing a full breath on the table and one taking short breaths almost always correlates to the tension in soft tissue. Taking a full breath allows oxygen to be delivered more efficiently throughout your body. Deep breathing can help to deepen your relaxation. If you breathe high in your chest, this keeps you alert and awake. The deeper you breathe in your body, the more relaxed you will become.
5. Promoting a safe environment
We all have internal thought processes about our own bodies. Remember – we are all our own worst critics. I can guarantee that you think much more about the idiosyncrasies of your own body much more than your therapist ever will. Forget worrying about the state of the hair on your legs or whether you are ten pounds heavier than you wish you were. Honestly, it’s the last thing on the mind of the therapist during a treatment. The therapists are more concerned with what’s causing all the tension between your shoulder blades or helping you to release a tight spot in your hips.
While basic hygiene is encouraged for both the LMT and the client, the LMTs are quite understanding of basic bodily functions such as sweating and sandal feet during the summer. They see many, many bodies that are all different and unique in their own ways. While we are all individuals with our own needs and manifestations of tension, we are ultimately all connected through our embodiment. We all are at different stages of health or disease, but not a one of us is better or worse than the other regardless of what our outside appearance may be.
6. After the massage
After your massage, you will be given time and privacy to get off of the table and get dressed. We always ask our clients to take their time. Allow your body to integrate what has occurred throughout the treatment session. Don’t make yourself jump right back into your busy schedule.
After you are dressed, you and your LMT will discuss possible future treatment goals and anything else that is relevant to your session. This is a good time to schedule for your next appointment. Your therapist will have an idea of how often massage will be beneficial to you based on your treatment plan.
It’s very important to drink plenty of water after your massage. Massage helps to release toxins that build up in your body over time. Water will help to flush these toxins out and prevent any soreness that you may feel from any deeper or focused work.
We hope this has helped set your mind at ease as you contemplate your first massage. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.