Once you’re in the massage room, there are a few things to keep in mind that can really enhance the experience. Follow these 5 tips to make your massage the best it can be.
- Tell the therapist what your needs are before the session begins. Your massage therapist wants to know as much as possible to make sure you get what you need out of your massage session. Tell them about any injuries or problem areas. Make requests for areas of focus and any preferred style you’re looking for. If there are any special circumstances or things to either avoid or be careful with, be sure to disclose them.
- Remove as much of your clothing as you feel comfortable with. To get the most out of your massage, remove as much clothing as you possibly can. Typically clients remove all clothing and simply rely on the drape (a sheet or a towel) to maintain modesty. This way, there will be nothing to hinder the flow of the massage or access to specific areas that may need work. Your therapist has been trained to use the drape in a way that will allow them to do their job while still maintaining boundaries and modesty. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about undressing, particularly if you’re new to massage. Always feel free to leave underwear on or anything you prefer if it makes you feel more comfortable. Your ability to relax is paramount.
- Breathe. Your body desperately needs oxygen to function properly. When muscles get tight, blood flow is restricted and oxygen often is unable to properly reach the cells of the body. Always be sure to breathe throughout your massage session. If the therapist finds a tight or tender spot, focus your breath on that area. Visualize the inhalation traveling to the point of pain or tension. Through the power of intention, more oxygen will find its way there. Breathing can also induce relaxation. When you’re holding your breath, you're probably not relaxed. If it’s due to pain, perhaps the massage is too deep and the strokes will need to be adjusted. However, breathing can help you get through a difficult moment and receive the work you need in extra tight areas of the body.
- Stay relaxed. As a client, you really only have one job while receiving a massage. Relax! Scan your body for any contracted muscles and let go of them. The therapist will be able to work your body better if it isn’t fighting back. Resist the temptation to “help” when the therapist moves a limb or lifts your head. The more you can be “dead weight” the better! The therapist will always let you know if they need you to do anything besides lie there.
- Communicate. Your therapist will always do their best to anticipate your needs by paying attention to your body language, but they aren’t mind readers! Just because you groan, doesn’t mean the therapist will lighten the pressure. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “good pain” in a massage, and to some, “it hurts so good!” However, if you can’t stay relaxed and continue breathing, it might be too deep! Always say something if you aren’t comfortable. That goes for any aspect of your massage experience. If you’re cold, hot, need a tissue, the music is too loud, the massage isn’t deep enough, you’d rather zone-out instead of chat, anything; speak up! Your massage therapist wants you to have the best massage you’ve ever had, every single time!
~Jenni Curtis, LMT