Whether you’ve never had massage before, or are looking for a new massage therapist, this New Client Massage FAQ may answer your (scary or embarrassing) questions.
Am I supposed to talk?
Try focusing on what’s going on in your body during the session and let that direct any conversation. E.g. “Oh, that’s surprisingly tender,” or “That’s an intense stretch.” That allows you and your therapist to pay full attention to your body and the bodywork–which can improve your session
in a number of ways.
Will I be covered during the massage?
To keep you warm and comfortable on the table, your body will be draped with a sheet (and possibly a blanket). Typically, only the area receiving massage is uncovered. For abdominal massage, your therapist may use a pillowcase to create a drape over the breast tissue, with the main sheet folded down to the waist.
How much should I undress?
Ultimately, this is up to your comfort level. Some clients prefer to leave layers on for warmth (socks), or modesty (underwear). Some prefer to undress completely, so that gliding strokes and gripping strokes can be used on the skin. Regardless, you will be covered by a sheet during the session, and your therapist will undrape one area at a time. One exception to this is Thai massage
, which is done fully clothed, wearing stretchy clothing.
Where will I undress?
After going over your health history and session plan, the massage therapist will step out of the room so you can undress and get on the table, under the top sheet.
How should I lie on the table?
The table will usually have a bottom fitted sheet and top flat sheet, much like a bed. You will get in between the sheets, so that you have a layer between you and the bare table, and a layer over you for warmth and modesty. Your therapist will usually let you know whether to start on your back, stomach, or one side. Depending on the plan for the session, you may spend time in any of these positions. If you have a preference, or if you need to move around during the massage, let your therapist know.
What if I need to go to the bathroom?
Let your therapist know. She’ll grab a gown and leave the room so you can pop out to use the restroom.
What should I do if it starts to hurt?
Q: Does it hurt so good? A: Great, let’s stay there.
Q: Does it feel strange, like it radiates to another area? A: Let’s stay there and take it slow–that may be a trigger point referral.
Q: Does it zing or burn, like hitting your funny bone? A: Let’s move, it’s probably a nerve.
Q: Ooggh, that feels weird. A: Let’s move or take it slow–that may be your small intestine (if on the abdomen)
Q: My back is starting to ache / my arm is starting to go numb / my foot is starting to cramp. A: It’s time to change position, move your body, or add a pillow.
What if I fall asleep or snore?
That’s fine. You’re shifting into Rest-and-Digest mode. It’s a sign of you moving into a relaxed state (along with tummy gurgling/growling). If your therapist needs to check in with you, or to have you participate in a particular technique
, she’ll gently wake you up.
What if I fart?
It happens. The more you relax, the less control you exert over your gas. Not only that, but as you relax and move into Rest-and-Digest mode, your body is putting more attention into your digestive system, so things get moving. (If needed, candles and fresh-air spray are available.)
What if I get an erection?
This is a major worry for many men. Massage given to any area of the body, not just the lower abdomen or adductors (inner thighs), can activate a parasympathetic response, which may result in an erection. If you’re uncomfortable, ask for a blanket, ask your therapist move to another area, or ask to turn over. If you’re not uncomfortable, the massage can continue as usual.
*If however you display signs of sexual intent, i.e. heavy breathing or rhythmic movement, then the massage will be terminated, with full payment due.
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