Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect during my first massage therapy appointment?
Before we begin the massage, I will ask you to fill out a health history and release form. Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow sufficient time, or print off the form here and bring it with you. I will then allow time to discuss current massage goals, such as addressing chronic pain or other areas of tension. I may ask more specific questions about your health history after reviewing your forms in order to determine appropriate massage techniques.
It is important to list all health concerns and medications so I can provide a safe and effective massage. Please use this time to bring up any preferences you have or any questions about the massage.
Must I be undressed for the massage?
For the massage you may undress to your comfort level. If you choose to remove clothing, I will leave the room while you undress. You may completely disrobe or leave on your underwear before covering yourself with the sheet and blanket. During the massage, I will undrape only the areas I am working on and will always keep private body areas modestly covered. Please let me know if at any point you are uncomfortable.
Please let me know if you choose to keep your clothing on, as I will direct you to lie on top of the sheets and blanket during the massage, and will use a different set of massage techniques. I recommend wearing pants with a flexible waistband and a comfortable shirt.
What will the massage feel like?
I use a variety of massage and bodywork techniques and tailor each session to my client’s individual needs. A typical session may start with myofascial work - slow, surface-level strokes without much oil in order to warm the tissues and relax the body. I will usually move into deeper work, addressing specific tense muscles and areas of pain. Sometimes I will include assisted stretches.
There are two types of pain I associate with massage. The first is when a massage therapist hits a ”good spot” that is holding a lot of tension, and while pressure brings some pain, it also brings relief. The second kind of pain goes beyond this first relieving pain and causes us to tense up and hold our breath. The saying “no pain, no gain” is particularly unhelpful in this situation, as this type of pain adds more tension to the body rather than helping it to relax.
During your massage, please let me know if something does or does not feel good, if you would like more or less pressure, or if I need to move my pressure to a better spot.
What should I do during the massage session?
During the massage, your job is to relax. You may choose to take deep breaths or meditate. Many people end up falling asleep, which is completely normal. During the massage I will occasionally move your arms and legs - let them relax too and let me do all the work in adjusting them. If I move you into an uncomfortable position, you may let me know or adjust on your own.
If there is anything that will help you relax more, please let me know. Temperature adjustments and pillows can be easily provided. I consider pressure adjustments to be essential to providing a good massage and welcome requests for more or less pressure. Please do not hesitate to ask to leave to use the restroom.
Some massage sessions may include some work from you. During assisted stretches you will be asked where your limit is in the stretch. Other techniques require you to add resistance to pressure. If at any point you would prefer to not participate and just relax (or to participate more), please let me know.
Can I talk during my massage?
During a massage I encourage clients to relax and to communicate needs relevant to the session, such as temperature and pressure. Many people like to talk at the beginning of the massage as they begin to relax. You are not obligated to maintain conversation, especially as the session progresses and I focus more intently on finding areas of tension and ways to help your body relax.
How will I feel after the massage session?
Many people feel relaxed after a massage and experience relief from some pain and tension. A massage can temporarily lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety and depression.
You may experience some soreness over the following few days, especially if you received a deep tissue massage. This is normal, and a hot shower, soak in the tub, or an anti-inflammatory may reduce the soreness. If you continue to have symptoms, please notify me and consider contacting a physician.
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
The benefits of massage that have been most studied and shown consistent positive results are reduction in anxiety and depression. Many people experience relief from chronic pain, usually a few days to a few weeks. Stretching in general, and assisted stretching experienced in a massage and bodywork session, can help improve flexibility and range of motion.
Massage does not consistently “fix” problems, and each person will experience different effects of massage. Please talk with me about specific goals you have for you massage and how you are feeling in the days and weeks following. I can point you toward resources you can use in between massages to continue working toward your goals, and if after a few sessions massage is not helping I will happily refer you to others who can better help you.
How often should I get a massage?
Some people choose to receive a massage weekly or biweekly in order to manage chronic pain. Others choose to receive massage monthly as preventative care or to manage stress and anxiety. I typically suggest that clients pay attention to how their body feels in the days and weeks after receiving a massage, and to consider rebooking when they feel the effects of their last massage diminishing. For those who would like to extend the effects of their massage between sessions, I can suggest self-care options or you can visit my blog for a few of these techniques.