I’m sometimes asked, “This is my first massage. I’m a little bit nervous and don’t know what to expect! What am I supposed to do? What is going to happen?”
It’s reasonable to be a little apprehensive on your first visit. Until recently, massage has been associated with questionable activities that a lot of people want to avoid. Television sit-coms have not done much to improve that image. It’s no wonder people are timid about their first experience!
First of all, be assured that every precaution will be taken to protect your privacy and personal boundaries. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, you should let your therapist know and not be embarrassed about what they might think. This experience is about you. Every massage therapist I know would rather be informed about the client’s boundaries than inadvertently do something that makes that client uncomfortable.
When you arrive for your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out a client intake form. This form asks for information about your medical history and asks for your signed consent to perform the massage. The information on this form is kept strictly confidential and will not be shared with anyone without your permission.
It is important to inform your therapist about any illnesses, diseases, etc., that you might have. Massage can have a dramatic effect on some medical conditions, and if you are contagious with a cold, for example, your therapist needs to be aware of these conditions for health reasons, both yours and hers!
Your therapist will discuss with you any conditions that may be of concern. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have or let her know about any special considerations that you would like addressed. For example, if you hate having your feet touched, if you have any areas that need more work, or if you prefer deep work or a gentle touch. Some people love having their abdominal area massaged; others dislike it. Speak up! In order to make massage a positive experience, your therapist needs to know what’s on your mind.
After the initial consultation, you will be shown to the massage table. You will be asked to disrobe and lie on the table under the draping sheet with your face in the cradle. Most people remove all of their clothing, but some are uncomfortable doing so for personal reasons. Some leave their underwear on, and a few prefer to remain fully-clothed. The choice is yours. The therapist will leave the room while you get ready, and will return only when you tell her.
During the massage, the therapist will un-drape only the body part that is being worked on. At no time will genitals or breasts (on women) be exposed or touched. I try to keep the massage room at a comfortable temperature for the client. If you feel too hot or cold, please let the therapist know.
The massage itself will last about 50 minutes. The lights are dim and relaxing music will play to help you relax and enjoy the experience. It’s perfectly okay to chat, remain silent, or even fall asleep. This is your time. You get to relax the way that best suits you.If you have come for help with a specific complaint (such as a tight muscle), it’s important for you to communicate with your therapist about how the treatment feels to you. Do you wish to receive more or less pressure? Is she working in just the right spot? Do you need more work in a certain area? On a scale of 1-10, what is your pain level? When the time comes to turn over, the therapist will lift the sheet to make the transition easier for you. She will stand so that she cannot see your body while you turn.
When the massage is finished, your therapist will let you know, and then leave the room. When you feel ready, you can get off the table (Be careful! You might feel a little bit light-headed.) and get dressed. You will be given some water to drink. It is normal to feel dizzy or even nauseous after your first massage. This normal, especially if this is your first massage or if you are a little dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help your body process things more efficiently.
Afterward, you may feel invigorated or relaxed. You will probably sleep much better for several nights following your massage. If you had a cold or were coming down with something at the time of your massage, you might feel quite ill for a day or two afterward. This is because the infected cells have been forced through the lymph system faster than they normally would have been. The good news is, your cold will probably not last as long as usual and you will feel better more quickly than normal. The bad news is, you may feel worse than usual for a day or two. Be sure to drink lots of water take plenty of Vitamin C to help your body heal!
If you have questions or comments, please leave me a note!