What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue and joints of the body. The soft tissues include muscle, skin, tendons and associated fascia, ligaments and joint capsules. Massage has many diverse physiological effects, which are primarily due to the therapist’s hands moving over the body. The different movements can physically stretch muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, encourage the circulation through the tissue, inhibit muscular spasms and be either sedating or stimulating to the nervous system. The therapeutic use of massage by a registered massage therapist affects all the systems of the body – in particular, the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic (immune) and nervous systems. No wonder so many people find massage therapy so helpful in so many ways!
Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.
Who will perform the massage or bodywork?
Your session will be conducted by a trained professional who has received proper training, often in a variety of techniques. Some massage and bodywork practitioners are licensed by the state, while others are locally regulated. Although no two massages are exactly alike, you may request a certain technique or modality. You may also request your preference as to a male or female therapist.
Must I be completely undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, you may decide what amount of clothing you prefer to wear for your own comfort. You will be properly draped during the session.
Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
The practitioner will leave the room while you undress. After you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel. Your therapist will politely knock on the door before she/he enters the room to make sure you are ready.
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?
You and your therapist will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, neck, head, arms, shoulders, hands, hips, buttock area, legs and feet. You can also request scalp and face. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).
Will lubricant be used?
In most cases the answer is yes! A light oil or lotion may be used to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. The lubrication used should hydrate the skin and be readily absorbed. But there are some techniques that don’t use the oil or lotion for example Myofascial Release ( MFR ), Craniosacral Therapy , Reiky or Lymphatic Drainage just name a few.
What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
It depends on the techniques used. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes which will help to calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to release tension in specific areas. 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 effleurage strokes, rocking movements, posture and movement reeducation, application of pressure to specific points, and more. Ask the therapist about the techniques she or he uses.
How long will the session last?
The average full-body massage or bodywork session lasts approximately one hour if you wish to just relax and have nothing going on. If you have areas that need extra attention, your entire session might be spend on those areas. Many people prefer a 60- to 90- minute session so the desired results can be achieved as well as an optimal relaxation. Half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet.
What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
Make yourself comfortable. The therapist will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm or leg). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask the therapist questions about massage and bodywork in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.
How will I feel after massage or bodywork session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from chronic aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water prior and after your session.
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, and 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 very important that before you begin your session, the therapist ask general health questions. It is also 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 ask your doctor if massage is appropriate. Many therapists may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
Should I tip my therapist?
Tip is always much appreciated but it is optional. Many people tip $5-$20 depending on the length of the session and quality of the service.