Coming in for your first massage can be nerve wracking. You don't know what to expect or what is expected of you. You may have questions that you are uncomfortable asking, or worry that the experience may be painful. I have written the following article to take you step by step through your first massage and answer the questions I most commonly get asked (including the ones people are embarrassed to ask). Hopefully this will make your first massage a truly relaxing experience.
When you first arrive, you can expect to fill out some paperwork. Be prepared to give a general health history and list of medications you are taking. You are not required to disclose anything but it is very helpful to your therapist when preparing your treatment. Know that your records are completely confidential as is anything that happens or is discussed during your session. Massage Therapy is regulated under HIPPA the same confidentiality laws that govern doctors and other health care workers.
After paperwork we will have a brief discussion about how you are feeling, where you carry tension, areas that cause you pain and areas you don't want touched. This is your chance to ask any questions or bring up concerns. Your therapist will then leave you so that you can undress and get on the table and return to begin your massage.
Here are the questions i get asked most often:
Should I take off all my clothes?
Answer: It's up to you. You may be fully clothed (though i don't recommend this), fully naked, or opt to leave some clothes on such as your underwear ect. As a general rule areas of the body with clothes on will be worked using compression only or not at all (depending on your comfort level) The less clothing you wear the more your therapist will be able to do. Never feel like you have to remove your clothes or be touched in an area that makes you uncomfortable.
Where will I be massaged?
Answer: Again it's up to you! A typical full body massage includes the head, face, back, arms, legs, glutes/hips, hands, feet and the upper portion of the chest. When you are coming in for a specific pain or health concern, the massage may also include abdomen, ribs/lower chest work. Areas that will not be worked are the genitals….so please stop asking. You can however request extra work in any of these areas or to have them avoided completely. Please note the the groin and breasts will always be covered with a sheet and the glutes are only partially uncovered with your permission. You will not insult or offend your therapist by setting boundaries or changing your mind during a session. We are here to help you feel better, not to give you anxiety.
I forgot to shave my legs/ paint my toes/ take a shower?
Answer: I promise I don't care. Please be relatively clean (basic hygiene applies) But you can be as hairy as you want, you don't need pedicured feet or hands. I even work on people right after they finish working out.
What if I get an erection?
Answer: Don't panic. Its normal and happens to a lot of guys when they get massages. The room is dark and we use a thick blanket on the massage table for your privacy, so chances are your therapist is not aware of it. If I am aware of it I will pretend i'm not and try to focus your attention elsewhere. So long as you don't start sexualising the massage you won't have a problem.
What if I have back/chest acne?
Answer: no problem, just let the therapist know if lotion or oil will make it worse and if you want the area avoided. Understand though that we cannot work on broken, bleeding or oozing skin for safety reasons. We can work around it though.
What if I fart?
Answer: Lots of people fart during their massage. I wont bring it up unless you do.
What if I don't know what type of massage I want/like?
Answer: Perfect! Your first session is a great chance to explore what different things feel like. Find what you love and what you would rather skip. Ask questions and let your therapist know when you do really like something. But also use your massage time to relax. Once you feel relaxed and comfortable feel free to lay quiet with your eyes closed and be fully absorbed in the experience. Know that the session is entirely about making you feel good and that nothing is expected of you.
I hope this has helped you feel more at ease about your next massage session. If you can think of any other questions you would like answered, just drop it in the comments below or shoot me a message. And stay tuned for next week's post on relaxing vs. theraputic massage.
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