Massage Etiquette

Welcome back to another edition of Massage 101, where I will be covering topics about massage therapy, what to expect from treatments, what to do to achieve the best results from treatment, conditions and issues that massage can help with, and general massage etiquette.

Before I get started, I just wanted to share some recent news with you, my awesome readers. As some of you may be aware, Therapeutic Body Concepts was recently nominated for the Top Choice Award for Top Massage Therapy Clinic in Edmonton. Well the results are in and WE WON! Considering this was the first nomination for the clinic, we are all ecstatic and overjoyed at our win. It must be said that none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for you, our wonderful and amazing clients! We try our best to provide treatments and patient care that is exceptional and distinctly different than other clinics because we believe in treating each client the same way that we, as therapists, would like to be treated when going in for a massage. So, once again, thank you!

Now without further ado, let us get to the new edition of Massage 101.

The following will be a two-part article in which I will be talking about massage etiquette and what you, the patient, should keep in mind when planning on booking, or receiving, a massage treatment. The following topics are a combination of questions that I have been asked by patients, old and new, as well as topics that I have spoken about with other therapists within the clinic or out and about at different events that had massage therapy available as a service. I have made a list of topics and questions that I will answer, so think of this as a type of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) article. Keep in mind that these are not all of the topics and questions, but some of the more commonly asked about subjects. So, lets begin with some questions and concerns that I have heard from my patients.

Do I need to tell my therapist every issue/condition that I have?

The answer to that question is, and will always be, YES! It is crucial that you are 100% truthful and honest about any conditions or injuries that you have, or have had in the past, on your health history form. I understand that sometimes it may be difficult to remember an old injury, but as soon as you do, even if it seems irrelevant to the current issue that you may have, you should share it with your therapist. Not only will it help us customize the treatment to best suit your needs, it also ensures that we are mindful of any contraindications that may need to be considered. There are also certain safety concerns for some issues that may put you or your therapist at risk.

There are also some concerns that are a bit more of a personal matter. Sometimes, people don’t share certain issues due to anxiety of being judged or looked at differently, and I must tell you, there will NEVER be a time that any of the therapists at Therapeutic Body Concepts will judge you or treat you differently based on a condition or issue that you may have. As massage therapists, we are focused on providing a safe and judgement free environment for all patients.  

Another reason to ensure your therapist is aware of any conditions that you may have is more for legal reasons. Imagine if you had recently had a motor vehicle accident and were in the process of a claim through your insurance but failed to mention that to your therapist. If you billed the treatment with your insurance, there is a chance that your insurance will ask for a treatment report from your therapist. Now if your therapist was unaware and your treatment was conducted without the MVA protocols being followed, there is a chance that this would cause some issues with your claim for the accident.

So, all in all, always be truthful and honest with your therapist because they are there to help you!

How much clothing should I take off or leave on?

This question is, by far, the most common question that I am asked when treating a new patient, and rightly so. I understand how nerve racking it is to think about undressing for a treatment when you have just met your therapist for the first time. I understand this because it was a serious issue for me when I just started schooling for massage therapy. To be honest, the night before our first class that required us to undress and get on the table, I slept for less than two hours because I was so nervous. So, to help you get over the nerves, let me explain how it works.

First, you are in control of the entire session. If you decide to keep all your clothing on, then the therapist will try and work around that. There is a chance that this will affect the treatment, considering that some techniques will require direct contact with the tissue being treated or require movement/gliding on the tissue, but the therapist will explain this to you and ask if it would be okay to temporarily move the piece of clothing out of the way to apply the technique.

Second, only the area of the body that will be treated will be exposed. So, for example, if your back is being treated, the blanket and sheet will only be lowered to your waist and tucked in to secure it. Draping techniques are usually dependant on the therapist, but as previously mentioned, only areas being treated will be exposed and worked on. There are also times where the therapist will treat areas without moving the blanket and sheet, applying techniques that do not require direct skin contact.

Lastly, socks! Yes, socks. You would be surprised at how many patients I have had that apologize about keeping their socks on. This connects back to my first point. You are in control of the entire session. Simple as that. If you decide to keep your socks on because your feet are cold, or maybe you don’t like your feet worked on, you should not feel bad about keeping it on!

Feel free to speak with your therapist about your concerns, we are there to explain everything to you and will be glad to make you as comfortable as possible!

I’ve never been to this clinic and just booked an appointment but don’t want to go, can I just not show up?

No shows suck. Plain and simple. We understand that things come up in your daily life that may take precedence to coming in for your massage. Family emergency, being sick, car troubles, alien abduction, are all legitimate and understandable issues. They are understandable because they happen to us as well. We may be health professionals, but we are regular people like you. Being considerate of your therapist’s time is important.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that a lot of therapists deal with. Not only is it unfortunate to lose a client that way, it also stops other patients from booking in during that period. Most clinics, TBC included, have a 12-hour cancellation policy which means that any cancellations up to 12 hours before the appointment carry no last-minute cancellation fees.

There is also the option of changing the time of your session to a later point in the day. If you made the appointment and later realized that something has come up which would make you miss that assigned time, give the clinic a call and they will try and book you in at a later, and more convenient, time with the same therapist, and if that therapist is not available there is always the possibility of working with another therapist.

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