So you have decided to book a massage but are not quite sure how to prepare or what to expect. Do you just show up? Do you need to do anything to prepare? Below are all the details and everything you need to know to get the most out of your first massage experience.
Massage is about stress relief and healing; you should treat the entire experience with this in mind, beginning with your arrival. Be early. Remember, you are taking time for your health and preparation affects process.
Plan on arriving a half hour prior to your appointment. This may seem a little extreme, but having the extra time to take care of the necessary steps that lead up to your massage will enhance your overall experience.
Coming early allows time for parking. Depending on the time of day and other events going on, you may have to navigate to find a spot. You also will be allowing yourself ample time to check in without the stress of running too close to your appointment time. Being a first-time massage client, you may have paperwork to complete regarding your health history, and this could take a few minutes as well. Remember: Massage is part of health care; you would arrive early for paperwork as a new patient at a doctor’s office and should do the same for your massage.
If you are checked in early, your massage therapist may be able to take you back early. It is important, however to also take this time, if necessary, to use the restroom. Thinking you can hold it will likely result in an uncomfortable experience, and you would not want to have to interrupt your time on the table to get up to use the facilities.
A clean body is a must for a massage. If you are coming to your appointment after work, you will be clean enough, provided that your work does not involve profuse sweating throughout the day. If you are coming to your massage from a workout, make sure that you schedule in enough time to shower fully beforehand. Not only is this courteous to your massage therapist, you will feel much better throughout your massage if you are clean and not actively sweating. Showering or bathing prior to your massage also serves as a great way to relax both your mind and body. Think of it as your massage pre-game!
Keep it simple
If you have long hair, please remember to wear it in a braid, ponytail, clipped up, or in any style that will keep your locks out of the way of your massage therapist, who needs full access to your back and neck area.
Smaller jewelry, like wedding bands, or earring studs may be worn during your massage. However, larger pieces, like necklaces, statement rings, toe rings, anklets, watches and activity trackers will disrupt the continuity of your massage as your therapist will have to work around them. If you are someone who cannot bear to leave the house without accessories, it is worth it to designate a jewelry pouch or a container that you can bring with you to hold your jewelry during your massage.
If you are getting specific types of shiatsu massage, where your therapist may be targeting specific channels around your ears, your therapist may assess the need to remove jewelry in the cases of multiple or large piercings.
Communication is key! Vocalizing your needs, concerns and expectations allows your massage therapist to give you the best experience possible. If you are ticklish on any parts of your body, it is best to let your therapist to know before your massage begins! On a more serious note, massage is part of your healthcare and relaying to your therapist any health issues will allow for the most comprehensive treatment.
If you’ve had an accident, injury or surgery within the past five years, especially one from which you are still experiencing any physical effects, your massage therapist needs to know. If you are recovering from surgery, your therapist can customize your massage for the most healing benefits. If you have any numbness in your limbs or painful areas, your massage therapist can likely offer relieving treatment or put you on a course of treatment to see long lasting results. In cases of minor surgeries or small wounds, letting your therapist know before hand will allow for them work seamlessly around the area.
Another health concern to inform your therapist of would be if you are expecting. Make sure to get clearance from your doctor that massages are safe for you as a mother-to-be.
After your appointment, make sure to stay hydrated in order to maintain the results and keep your body feeling it’s best for the longest amount of time. Now that you know how to prepare for your massage and what to communicate to your massage therapist, all that’s left to do is enjoy your massage and decide when to book the next one!