What should I expect when I arrive for a treatment? Arrive early for your first massage so that you can fill out a client intake form. Be prepared to answer medical questions and to present any required letters from your physician. Your therapist will review your intake form and will ask additional questions in order to better understand what is going on in your body.
What am I expected to do during my massage? Your main job is to relax and enjoy! Your therapist may move around various parts of your body during the treatment, but she does not wish for you to help unless she specifically asks. It is counterproductive for you to engage your muscles while she is trying to relax them, so just try to be as loose as possible. It is your responsibility to notify your therapist if you are ever uncomfortable in any way. She will be able to adjust your table, your temperature, your position, your draping, the pressure of your massage, and anything else that will make you feel better. Most people chose to simply close their eyes and remain quiet during a massage, but if talking is your way of relaxing then you are welcome to do so.
Note: If you are receiving a treatment involving Trigger Point Therapy, your therapist will ask you to be more present and engaged than you would be in a more relaxing massage modality. This treatment is a team effort that requires constant communication between client and practitioner.
What should I wear? That is up to you. While it is possible to receive some types of massage fully clothed, it is recommended that you disrobe completely or wear only underwear. You may leave on your boxer shorts or athletic shorts, but they should be rolled up to provide better access to your legs. You will be given complete privacy to undress and settle onto the table before your treatment, and will also have privacy to get off of the table and dress after your treatment. During your treatment, you will be covered by a sheet and blanket, and only the part of your body that is being massaged will be uncovered. Private areas, as well as any other areas that you may specifically request, always remain covered.
Will my treatment hurt? Therapists believe it is unnecessary to cause pain in order to alleviate pain. If a treatment is painful, then your muscles will receive the signal to protect themselves by becoming tighter. As a client, you are always in complete control of your experience, and should never hesitate to guide your therapist in giving you the perfect amount of pressure for your body. If you notice that you are tensing your muscles, holding your breath, or trying to "take it," then it's time to ask for less pressure. Many clients enjoy a massage that takes them just to the edge of pain (to a zone called "good hurt") where they can still remain relaxed and enjoy their treatment. You may find that you also prefer this, or you may find that you prefer a lighter touch. Both are fine.
Why are you spending time massaging muscles that don't ache? You will often hear therapists use the phrase "everything is connected". This is very true of your body! A muscle may ache because it is actually being pulled, in a chain reaction, by other muscles that may seem unrelated. The true origin of your pain may even be in a muscle on the opposite side of your body! By asking questions about your pain, your lifestyle, and your physical activities, and by performing a visual inspection of your posture, your therapist will be able to determine which muscles may be at the root of your issues. She may begin your massage by addressing these areas. This doesn't mean she has forgotten where you are hurting, but instead means that she understands which muscles must be released first in order for you to receive the most relief.
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