New clients booking a massage appointment may not know the proper etiquette leading to moments of confusion. Here are the top questions you may be reluctant to ask but want answered.
Should You Feel Soreness or Pain During a Massage?
It’s a myth that any form of massage therapy (even deep tissue massage) must be painful to be effective. Pain during a massage isn’t a sure sign that the massage is helping. In fact, pain can cause muscles to seize up, making it harder for the massage therapist to ease tense areas.
Open communication with your massage therapist is key to a massage that meets your needs. If you have an injury or chronically tight or painful areas, be sure that your therapist is aware of it before the start of the session. If the pressure is too intense, tell your massage therapist immediately so he or she can ease up.
Should You Make Conversation During the Massage?
Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. After all, you’re having a treatment; you’re not at a cocktail party. Many people close their eyes and try to relax. Your massage therapist should take the cue from you.
Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is comfortable.
Be sure to speak up during a massage if you:
- Feel too hot or cold
- Are in pain
- Have any questions about the massage
- Forgot to mention a health issue during the consultation
How Much Clothing Should You Remove for a Massage?
Typically, a massage therapist will ask you to undress to your level of comfort. Many people prefer to keep their underwear on during a massage, while others prefer to be nude. It’s up to you. Women usually remove their bras to allow the massage therapist to work on the back and shoulder area without getting massage oil or lotion on the bra.
If your problem area is your low back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting or large underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work. You can ask your massage therapist before getting changed. In North America, if you do remove your underwear, licensed massage therapists must ensure that you are always properly covered by a sheet or towel.
The massage therapist will leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and lie on the massage table under the top sheet. The therapist will tell you to rest face down or face up based on how they want to start the treatment session. The therapist will knock and ask if you are ready before entering the massage room. How much clothing you remove also depends on the type of massage you’re getting, for example chair, shiatsu or Thai massage the client is fully clothed.
What If You Feel Self-Conscious About Your Body?
Being self-conscious shouldn’t keep you from seeking health care, whether it’s visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist. A professional massage therapist will be non-judgmental and focused on your muscles (and other soft tissue).
Still, some common concerns clients have are:
- Having back acne
- Believing they are overweight
- Thinking they have ugly feet (recommend getting a pedicure before booking a massage if worried about your feet)
- Being self-conscious about scars
You can request that the massage therapist avoid certain areas. Or, you can look for a licensed massage therapist who uses a style of massage that can be done through clothing. No massage oil or lotion is used, so you remain fully clothed during the treatment.
If you didn’t have time to shave your legs, not to worry. Whether or not there is hair on your leg is of no concern to your massage therapist.
What If You Fall Asleep and Snore or Drool?
Falling asleep during a massage is very common. Many people go into a massage stressed and sleep-deprived and feel so relaxed that they fall asleep on the massage table. Your therapist won’t judge you if you snore during the massage.
When you wake up, you may notice a little drool on your face or on the massage table. It’s common and has to do with your positioning on the massage table. You don’t have to do anything about it, but you should feel free to ask for a tissue.
What If You Have to Go to the Bathroom During Your Massage?
Typically I ask my clients if they need the restroom before we begin the session, but if you need to use the restroom during the massage, be sure to let the massage therapist know. Holding it for the duration of the massage isn’t comfortable or conducive to relaxing.
If it happens at a spa, there is usually a robe that you can slip on to walk out to the restroom. In a medical setting or clinic, you’ll likely have to put your clothes on to go.
How Do You Determine Whether a Massage Clinic Is Legit?
If you’re trying a new clinic or spa, it’s a good idea to call first and ask these questions:
- Do you offer therapeutic massage?
- Is the massage therapist certified or licensed?
- Do you require a health questionnaire for your clients?
A licensed massage therapist will not come into contact with your private parts during the massage. If you feel the massage therapist has acted inappropriate contact local officials and report them. I hope this blog post answers your massage questions.
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Assumption of the Risk: By attempting any of the exercises, you do so at your own risk. We make no representations, guarantees or warranties that the information or exercises on this blog are appropriate for you or will result in improvements of your medical condition or function.
Not medical advice or physical therapy. This content is intended to provide information and instructions on general exercises that may help increase strength, mobility, and function for specific areas of the body. It is not intended to be a substitute for obtaining a medical diagnosis or medical or physical therapy advice from a qualified licensed provider. You should seek medical advice from a qualified physician or physical therapist before trying any of the exercises or self-treatment suggestions on this blog, particularly if your pain is from a traumatic injury or event.