What to Expect from Your First Massage
First Massage Jitters
So you have decided to go in for your first ever massage.
Maybe you woke up in the morning and could barely move your neck. Maybe your back is stiff from sleeping in an uncomfortable and awkward position. Maybe you have issues with Lower Back Pain, which have started recently, or that you’ve been struggling with for a long time. Maybe you have been stressed with work, school, kids, and life in general. Maybe you’ve been advised to seek out a Massage Therapist to help with a specific condition that you may have. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.
Whatever your case may be (see what I did there?) you’ve decided to book an appointment with a Massage Therapist. You may have many questions regarding what to expect or what is going to happen during the session. That is where I come in.
My name is Kia and I am a Registered Massage Therapist, or RMT for the acronym fanatics, and I am one of the massage therapists at Therapeutic Body Concepts. I will one of the contributing authors to this blog and will hopefully be able to help you out with any questions that you may have. One of the ways I will do is with the following series of articles which will be focused on helping you with your first visit questions and to also give you some background information on massage therapy. Where it comes from, different modalities and their benefits, the laws and regulations covering massage as a form of therapeutic treatment, and conditions that massage has been proven to aid with, among other topics. So, let us begin.
First and foremost, what is Massage Therapy?
Well, as a professional, let me assure you it is much more than just a back rub or foot rub. Massage therapy has been practiced for quite a long time, dating back to 2000 BC. It has been practiced within many cultures, with many different techniques and tools used to achieve the desired result. As a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it has been a common practice among many cultures from all around the world. A form of bodywork treatment, massage is based on working and manipulating the body tissues to achieve a desired effect. The most commonly recognized forms of massage tend to be Deep Tissue Massage and Swedish Massage. Both are aimed at achieving different results, but they are not exclusive in their techniques. Most massage sessions tend to include a combination of techniques from all different schools of teaching and will often feel different. Through out the entirety of the session, you may feel deep, broad pressure across a body part, feel slight pinching and moving of the skin, and even have your limbs moved and shaken by the therapist.
So now that you have a bit of background on massage as a form of therapy and treatment, you may have some questions regarding the specifics of the actual massage session. First off, how much clothes to take off or leave on. This is a question that has been asked of me quite regularly by new patients, who are either new to the clinic or who have never received a massage in their life. From a therapist’s perspective, it would be ideal to have access to as much of the body as possible, but at the same time, it is crucial to have the patient as comfortable and relaxed as possible. So, what that basically means is that if you choose to keep everything on, then so be it. We will work around that. If you choose to completely undress, then we will work with that. Even though certain techniques may not be possible with the patient dressed, there are still a lot of different methods that could be done to achieve the desired goal of the treatment. There are certain types of modalities, such as Lomi Lomi Massage, that require the patient to be undressed to a point that allows the therapist to glide seamlessly from one part of the body to another. Only when receiving treatments will the patient be asked to undress to a certain level. In most other cases, the patient, YOU, will be the one dictating how undressed you are.
Another question that is frequently asked is about how much information we need regarding your current health. First thing that you do when you arrive at the clinic will be to fill out a comprehensive health history form. Within this form there will be the general questions regarding you, such as date of birth, height and weight, phone number, address, etc. Next will about your medical history. Here is where a lot of people misunderstand or choose to not be completely forthcoming. It is crucial that you share as much about your health history, previous and current, as you can. With a solid foundation of information, not only will the therapist be able to develop an accurate and extensive treatment plan, but they will also be aware of contraindications which could potentially be detrimental to your health and the efficacy of the actual treatment. Not to mention the fact that it is your legal liability to answer all questions truthfully. The information that is shared on the health history will only be seen by you and the therapist. It will never leave your file, or be read by another therapist (unless they will be working with you as well, in case you decide to see multiple therapists). For the most part, the information that you provide will help the therapist determine what could be causing the current issue you are having. Don’t believe me? Well, here are a couple of hypothetical situations. Let us say your lower back hurts and you have no idea why? Well, you mentioned that you had a car accident 5 months ago, which was nothing more than a “fender-bender”. That little bump could have potentially caused some soft-tissue damage which could be causing your lower back pain. Having issues with wrist and forearm pain? You listed your occupation as an office receptionist. It would be safe to assume that you spend a lot of time typing and using the computer, which means that your hands are not in an ideal position for long hours during the day which could be causing the muscles to tighten. All in all, make sure that you are honest and truthful when answering the questions and anything that you feel the need to explain further to your therapist, do so without hesitation!
So if you have made it through the length of this article and have arrived at this section, congratulations! Hopefully, what was covered has been helpful and has taken away your first massage jitters, or at least helped ease them a little. Know that any therapist you see at TBC will be more than happy to answer any and all questions that you may have and will always ensure that you are receiving top notch treatments that are relaxing, beneficial, and just awesome in general! This concludes the first of the Massage 101: What To Expect series! There will be more posts coming your way in the future written by myself, and other contributing authors! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me and I will be sure to answer them as soon as possible! In the meantime, enjoy your massage!