Frequently Asked Questions
Thinking about getting a massage but have some questions?
I’m a little
off when I
I have to be
Some people go under the sheets without a stitch on, others just wear underwear, and some people prefer to be dressed. No, you don’t have to take off more clothes than you are comfortable with to receive massage and your therapist will adapt to your needs. Be aware though that wearing more clothes can interfere with the use of certain techniques, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy receiving massage in casual clothes. Your therapist won’t be able to use lotion or oil and may be unable to work as deeply, but she can adapt to your comfort level and still deliver a satisfying massage experience.
People who are self-conscious about their bodies might get massage more often, and with less apprehension, if they had the added underwear barrier. For some, it creates a psychological boundary that allows them to more fully relax during the massage, and that’s okay, too. Rest assured, massage therapists work with all kinds of bodies, from the very young to the very old and all shapes and sizes in between. Massage therapists are a very caring and giving group. To be successful at what they do, they have to be. Your therapist strives to strike a balance between engaging with you as the complex individual you are, as well as seeing your body and all its unique qualities from a clinical perspective. Bodywork is about the careful application of techniques to muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue as a means to enhance your whole being, it’s not about judgment.
I’d like get massages more often, but I can’t afford it.
Talk to your massage therapist about this. She has referral incentives, package discounts and a client loyalty program in place. She also accepts most major credit cards and may take postdated checks or a series of postdated checks to work out a payment plan. Some therapists have a sliding scale of fees depending on annual income and financial hardship.
If you have some flexibility with your schedule, ask your therapist if she does a standby list. Your therapist might consider a discount fee if you can pop in for a last-minute appointment and fill a late cancellation.
You may also want to check with your employer or insurance carrier to see if you might be covered for massage therapy.
If you love massage and communicate to your therapist how much you value it, you might be able to work out an arrangement that’s fair to all parties.
Tipping is common (15-20%) for services in spa settings. Your solo practitioner will likely appreciate tips as well. Bottom line is, if you feel like tipping, offer. If you don’t feel tipping is appropriate, don’t.
should I do
when I feel
Some people are sensitive to particular techniques, which make them feel uncomfortable and want to giggle. If that happens, your therapist may use a broader stroke or deeper pressure so it doesn’t tickle. In the unlikely event you’re still way too ticklish with those variations; she can avoid that part of the body and concentrate on less sensitive areas. It’s your massage, so you can dictate what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to tell your therapist beforehand about any sensitive or particularly ticklish areas of your body so he or she can accommodate you more effectively.
to hurt to
do any good?
Massage does not have to hurt to help. You can gain therapeutic benefits from a relaxing massage, which doesn’t hurt a bit, or you can seek out more aggressive treatment options, which can cause some discomfort. Trigger point therapy and friction are examples of techniques, which can be briefly uncomfortable, but very helpful for many conditions. If you don’t want heavy pressure, say so. Massage therapists want to help you. If you’re wincing under the pressure and tightening up, that will work against the goals of massage, which is to invite your body to relax, reduce pain, increase well-being, and have long, supple muscles. Massage therapists aren’t in the torture business. Let your therapist know what feels good and what doesn’t. Recognize that your needs and pain threshold might change with each visit.
Any more unspoken questions for your therapist? Ask. Your honesty will strengthen your therapeutic bond with your caregiver and let you deepen your relaxation time and feeling of healing. And that’s what it’s all about: You.