If this is your first time to experience a massage, or if you are thinking about scheduling an appointment, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Sometimes we forget not everyone is familiar with the process or the lingo.
Before the massage
If you’ve made it this far, you are already doing the first thing, researching not only your practitioner, but also what it is. When you call to make your appointment, we try to cover this material as well, but it is always nice to be able to read it as well. You will want to arrive showered, and allow for at least an hour since your last meal.
When you arrive at the studio, if you have not already downloaded the Client Intake Form to fill out prior to your visit, you will be given one so you can complete it before to your appointment (or session). This form helps us understand a little bit more about you and what you do with your body, to see if it will help us help you. It can take 10 minutes or so to fill this out, so please arrive early, if possible. This only needs to be done once a year.
During the massage
Once you have filled out your form, and we have had a chance to look at it, we will escort you to the massage (or treatment) room. The lights should be dim, but you should still be able to see. If not, please just let us know, we can turn them up. Your practitioner will then leave the room and allow you some privacy. You will disrobe down to your underwear (panties for women, skivvies for men) and then get on the table between the top and bottom sheet and cover yourself up. If you need, a stepstool is under the table for assistance. The table warmer should be on to help make sure you are not chilled.
After a few minutes, your practitioner will knock on the door and ask if you are ready before entering the room. At that time, she will ask you if you are warm enough, if you need a neck roll or bolster for your knees, and, if she has any questions regarding your health history, she will ask for clarification. It is rare, but there are times medically, when massage is not allowed (contraindicated). Some of those are, but not limited to: tumors, surgeries, and certain skin conditions.
As the practitioner starts massaging your hand, she will ask you to please provide feedback on pressure and any other activity that may be uncomfortable to you. You should not be grimacing the entire time, nor feel like you are not feeling anything at all. You are the only one in your skin, so it is vitally important to communicate with her so that your massage can be as beneficial to you as possible. Every person is different and so she should be able to accommodate a wide variety of pressures or modalities (types of strokes we use) to accomplish this.
During this time, you decide if you want to talk or not talk. The practitioner will respect either. It is very common for clients to close their eyes and completely relax. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session. Some clients prefer to talk. Again, the choice is yours.
A normal massage routine will start at your right hand and work up to your arm/shoulder area, and then switch to the other arm. Next, is face, neck and upper back area. Left leg is addressed, and then right leg. You will be asked to roll over onto your belly and she will continue with the back of your right leg, then the back of your left leg, and finishing on your back.
During this time, only the part that she is working on will be outside of the sheet and blanket covering. This process is called draping and is sometimes a bit like origami. This is not just to ensure you stay warm, but also for modesty. Never, at any time, will your practitioner purposefully or knowingly expose or touch in a manner that is outside of being therapeutic. You will not be touched on our near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).
After the massage
Your practitioner will leave the room, and that is your time to allow your body to process the therapy it has received. Before you stand up, you will want to sit on the edge of the table for a minute, as your blood pressure can drop, which can make you light-headed. After redressing, you will make your way back to the receptionist desk so that you can pay for your session, and also schedule your next appointment.
It is always a good idea to drink plenty of water every day, and after a massage it is a good idea to increase your intake a glass or two. This helps your body with the increased circulation it is now experiencing.
Some people feel very energized after a massage, some feel very relaxed or even sleepy. All of these are normal responses to the work that has been done.