One of the most common reasons for getting a massage is the relaxation that it brings about. Many of us have a hectic lifestyle. A 60 or 90 minutes massage session is like treating ourselves to a well-deserved “me-time”.
A massage session is typically passive on your part. However, you should also involve yourself to make the visit a fruit one. While you look forward to a time well-spent, feeling assured, cared for and well relaxed, your therapist also aim to deliver a meaningful session that addresses your needs and concerns in a safe and professional manner.
Here are some tips towards a better massage experience.
Before the massage
- Arrive earlier. Your appointment includes the time you get undressed or changed into the massage robe, and settling down onto the massage couch. By arriving earlier, you need not rush to get ready. Without the anxiety and haste, your massage session could start with a pleasant mood.
- Know what do you want for that session. Are you having difficulties sleeping and you wanted massage to help you relax? Or is it that you want to soothe those over-worked muscles after that half-marathon? Your therapist will seek to understand your purpose of visit, so that he or she can recommend and deliver the appropriate hands-on for you. Let’s say you want an uninterrupted nap to unwind. You should inform your therapist at the start to avoid getting any unnecessary deep pressure strokes making it difficult for you to doze off.
- Inform existing conditions. Massage is a physical therapy consisting primarily of contact and manipulation. You should inform your therapist about any existing conditions, because
– Your conditions may be aggravated by massage.- You may spread your germs to the therapist.- You may spread your germs to other visitors, directly or via the therapist.
Insisting to go ahead with the massage in the presence of existing conditions are neither recommended nor advisable, as it will do more harm than good. You can always come back another day.
- Undress only up to your comfort level. The purpose of you being barely clothed is to facilitate the delivery of the massage strokes onto you. It is understandable that being alone with your therapist in a state of unclothed can be unnerving, especially during the first visit. Do keep an open mind that your therapist is there as a professional, and knows how to carry out the bodywork in the right way. He or she will keep you covered so that only the area being worked on is exposed. You can always ask for an extra towel to keep you more secured and warm.
During the massage
- Breathe. Never hold your breath during the massage, especially when a tensed area is being worked on. Breathing normally brings a steady supply of oxygen to your blood to support circulation. While your therapist is working on those tight muscles, try to prolong your breathing out. This would help ease out the tension and discomfort.
- Give feedback. From time to time, your therapist will ask you whether the pressure applied is alright. If not, do not wait forever. Feedback to your therapist as and when you feel that the pressure should be increased or reduced. Remember, it is your 60 mins on the massage couch and you must not tolerate any discomfort silently.
- Reduce conversation if you want to rest. Your therapist may engage in some conversation during the massage to help put you at ease. If you do not wish to talk anymore, you can hint by not responding or giving short answers after a long pause. Most therapists are aware to take the cue from there.
- Close your eyes and empty your mind. As you ease into the session, close your eyes to block out distractions. Focus on your breathing and the therapeutic touch.
After the massage
- Take it easy to recover. An hour or more of physical strokes, pressing, and manipulation on your body muscles is comparable to a workout. It is normal to feel a little tired at the end. Some of us may even feel light-headed. Take your time and allow your therapist to help you you sit up from your lying position. Your therapist may also pass you some water to hydrate yourself.
- Conclude with your therapist. A comprehensive massage appointment would include a conclusion in which the therapist offer you home care advice to optimize the benefits of the massage. You could also let your therapist know how you are feeling and offer your constructive feedback. It is also good to fix your next appointment before leaving the studio.
- Rest and rest. If possible, head straight home to rest. Avoid the temptation to hang around town or have a heavy meal. Let your body to restore itself over the next 1 to 2 days. Stay away from tolling activities such intensive workout, heavy household chores, or late nights.
Massage has been gradually recognized as beneficial towards physical and mental health. Many of us spend our good hard earned money on massage as an essential part of self care. Knowing how to maximize a visit to our therapist will help sustain to our ongoing effort towards health and wellness.
What about you? How do you make the most out of your massage appointment?
Romano, Irma. A journey in massage. Balboa Press, 2012.
Walker, Marsha Jelonek and Walker, Jonathon D. Healing Massage – A Simple Approach. Cengage Learning, 2003