Massage and Bodywork

Thinking About Getting Your First Massage?

By April 20, 2016 March 26th, 2021 No Comments

When you arrive, you’ll be given a health history form to fill out. This gives your therapist important information about your current areas of pain or injury, health conditions and medications. Once that’s done, your therapist will show you to the treatment room where you’ll have a conversation about your goals and your body. This isn’t a test that you have to prepare for in advance, and there are no wrong answers.
Before your session begins your therapist will take you through the basics, tell you how to lie on the table (under the sheet and blanket) and let you know that you can undress completely or leave your underwear on if you choose.  Rest assured, you’ll always be securely draped and only the areas being worked on will be uncovered.  In some cases, depending on the treatment approach, the therapist may work with you fully clothed.
Once you’re on the table, what do you need to do? You basically have one job: If something hurts, or if you’re uncomfortable, let your therapist know. Don’t assume that anything is “supposed to hurt,” or that “the therapist knows best, I’m probably supposed to be this cold.” No, please speak up! Your therapist may be the expert on massage, but you’re the expert on your own body. If something doesn’t feel quite right, trust your instincts and let your therapist know. The first few massages are a process of learning about one another.
Other than that, feel free to relax. You don’t need to help when the therapist moves one of your limbs. You don’t need to keep your arms in any particular place, or do anything other than melt into the table. Don’t feel like you need to make small talk either. Your therapist may ask you to participate by giving feedback about the pressure being used or changes taking place during the session, but this is your time. Experience the massage. If that means talking or asking questions, please do. If that means being quiet and introspective, that’s great too.
One last thing: do not worry about your leg hair or cellulite, or the noises your abdomen makes during the massage (this is normal, by the way—part of the relaxation response). There is nothing wrong with being fully human on the table. Know that your therapist accepts your body just as it is.
After the massage, we hope you are relaxed, refreshed, and feeling better than when you arrived.  Your therapist may ask you about areas of pain you had mentioned, may offer some stretches or other tips to help you feel better. If you have a pain condition that would benefit from ongoing treatment your therapist will explain how massage could help and suggest a treatment plan.

Brenda Teal

Author Brenda Teal

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