What Should I Expect During a Massage Therapy Session?
A typical massage therapy treatment will last between 60 and 90 minutes. Your massage session will begin with a brief consultation and review of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. You may be asked to complete a health history intake form prior to your first treatment. During this time you will communicate any areas of concern with your therapist. For your first visit with a massage therapist, you should arrive about 10 minutes prior to the start of your scheduled appointment to complete paperwork. For additional visits, you should arrive no less than 5 minutes before the start of your session time to allow ample time to change and prepare for your treatment.
The therapist will leave the room so that you will have privacy to undress to the level of your comfort, and lie either face up or face down under the sheet on a padded massage table. In certain situations, such as pregnancy, the session may be performed in a side-lying position.
The massage therapist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready. The massage therapist re-enters the room and will then adjust the face rest and bolstering pillows to ensure that you are both comfortable and properly positioned. Tell the massage therapist if you are too warm or cold.
During the session the massage therapist will use a light oil or lotion on the skin to provide "glide". A full body massage usually begins on the back and then moves down to the legs. You will then be asked to turn over so you are face up. The massage continues on your arms, legs, neck, and abdomen. (If there is any area of the body that you would like the massage therapist to avoid, you should inform the therapist during your consultation.)
Throughout the entire treatment you will remain underneath the sheet. In North America, the only the part of the body that is uncovered at any one time, is the specific area being treated. Once the area has been treated, the therapist will cover that part of the body before moving on to the next part. After the massage, the massage therapist leaves the room so you can get changed.
Take a moment when getting up. If you sit or stand too quickly you may feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Will Massage Therapy Hurt?
Massage therapy shouldn't hurt. Occasionally there is mild aching when the massage therapist applies pressure over trigger points or "knots" and other areas of muscle tension. Communication with your massage therapist is instrumental; if the pressure being applied is too strong for you, or if you prefer a deeper touch, let the massage therapist know immediately.
How Will I Feel After a Massage?
Most people feel calm and relaxed after a massage therapy treatment. Occasionally, depending on the type of treatment or the condition of the client’s tissues, people experience mild temporary aching for a day.
Precautions and Contraindications
While there are many benefits of massage therapy, there are times when massage is not recommended for certain people:
- People with fevers, infectious/contagious diseases including any signs or symptoms of colds or flus, no matter how mild they may seem
- If you have skin diseases, a contagious or undiagnosed rash, or open wounds
- Following recent surgeries or an acute injuries
- If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol – including prescription pain medications
Additional Tips When Receiving Massage
- Don't eat a heavy meal before the massage.
- To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late!
- Please shower before your session.
- Speak up if something isn’t to your liking. The therapist will not take it personally. After all, massage is something to be enjoyed, not endured.
- If you like your session, tell your friends. Therapists love when you provide referrals! There is no higher compliment.