Your First Massage - DO THIS
It really never occurred to me that YOU might not have any idea what you should do for your first massage! Back when I was a brand new LMT, I had a client come to me looking for some relief. I had her fill out paperwork, asked questions about how she felt so I would know where to focus on and showed her to the massage room.
When I knocked on the door and she said "Come on in!" I did not expect to see her half-dressed kneeling on top of the massage table saying, "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do." As comical as that may sound, my heart sank as I knew I had let her down.
Let's avoid those rookie mistakes - here's how:
What to wear!
It depends on where you go and what you want massaged specifically, so it's ok to ask. Typically you are asked to 'undress to your level of comfort'. However, that once resulted in my client leaving on her jeans shorts and substantial sports bra. There was barely any skin to massage and made it difficult to produce long flowing, relaxing strokes. #liveandlearn If you are REALLY uncomfortable undressing, let your therapist know. In these cases, it's actually better to stay completely clothed, IMO.
I once went to a Massage Chain and asked specifically for 'Glute work'. The therapist never touched my Glutes (read: butt). I didn't know they weren't allowed and I was never told. Booo! In light of that, I tell my clients to "Undress to your level of comfort. If you would like glute work done, I can work directly against the skin or over the blanket, as you choose."
Regardless of whether you 'run hot' or not, ALWAYS get under the sheet/ blanket. A.L.W.A.Y.S. There are several reasons for this. Sexual inappropriateness is at the top of that list. Your therapist can get into all sorts of trouble, and you want them to succeed with a thriving business, cover up! Your therapist will uncover the specific body part they are working on. If you feel that something may be poorly draped, just say, "Do you mind tightening up the draping, it feels a little breezy." Most likely, there is no ill intent - draping is tricky.
So Much Pressure!
You may be asked what kind of pressure you like, but tbh, it doesn't REALLY matter - if you have a skilled therapist. Why? You may "Love deep tissue..." but have only had it from someone not as strong as the person you are now about to see. It's all relative. Or, your muscles may be bruised or injured by applying more pressure than they are ready to accept. It's much better to allow the therapist to coax the muscles into relaxing, if possible - adding pressure as the massage progresses. Noting that you would like a "relaxing massage" over "muscle work or sports massage" is helpful, or vice-versa. I also let my therapist know I don't like poking pressure, it's very uncomfortable, that helps to make sure they are helping me relax, rather than causing me stress!
We All Have Issues!
Most of us have physical stuff to make note of. I distinctly remember watching a fellow massage school student pull on the arm of someone who had JUST explained their medical condition that causes the joints to be loose! EEEK! (This is why we go to school though, so... all good.) Do let your therapist know if you are 'double jointed' or your hips/shoulders are 'stuck' or "it hurts when I do THIS". If your therapist moves you in a way that is uncomfortably painful, say "OW!" their embarrassment is your safety. It really can be tough sometimes, knowing how much pressure, pulling or manipulating someone can handle. So, Speak up!
Take Your Time!
You may hear this after your massage. Blood pressure can lower during a massage, so standing up too quickly may make you dizzy or faint. You really should take your time. I also find that laying prone for 'too long' makes my low back uncomfortable. Taking this into account, I roll slowly to my side, then to my knees and arch and round my back a few times before getting off the table. Sit down to put on your socks, etc....
Your therapist may suggest you drink 'lots of water' after your massage. Technically, this is prescribing health advice and out of an LMT's scope of practice. Fortunately, people suffering from illnesses where too much water is contraindicated typically know this. Massage does help move lymphatic fluid (at a minimum), blood flow is altered as well - it is believed that your body may need to eliminate more waste than usual via its natural process and that drinking water will aid that process. At the very least, stay hydrated and learn to listen to your body's need for appropriate hydration.
Get Back Here!
It's not widely known, but massage actually helps reorder muscle tissue! It also helps with high blood pressure as well as providing several other long lasting and short term health benefits. This is only with REGULAR MASSAGE, however. My recommendation is to book your NEXT MASSAGE before you leave! It's hard to prioritize our own health and well being. Work and family obligations, stress over money and time all weigh heavily on us. Ask your therapist if they have 'frequent flyer miles' or something that rewards consistent visits!
I hope this helps you know better what to expect and how to advocate for yourself during your massage experience. You can fill out a contact us with any questions you may have. I am happy to help!