What to Expect
Before treatment begins your massage therapist will make a ‘client assessment’: this includes asking you about your current physical condition (there are some conditions for which massage is not appropriate), stress levels, and whether or not any part of your body is particularly sensitive.
For a body massage, you will be asked to remove as much clothing as you are comfortable with (your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress). For the purpose of modesty as well as warmth, you will be fully draped (using a sheet or large towels) throughout your session, except for the area being worked on. The room should be warm and quiet, with the lights dimmed. Sometimes soft music is played.
You will be asked to lie and relax on a treatment couch that is designed for stability and comfort. Different pillows or bolsters can be used to make your position more comfortable.
A professional massage oil/lubricant will be used to ease the friction of massage and will be easily absorbed in case you have other commitments after the massage. Ideally you should wear casual comfortable clothing to the session rather than good clothes which may be marked if you have traces of oil on your skin. However, you should always ask your therapist to help wipe off the oil, or he/she may use cologne to remove any traces.
The massage normally begins gently to calm and relax, releasing superficial tension. Gradually, your massage therapist works more deeply into the tissues and also treats specific areas.
Swedish massage is presently the most common form of therapy practiced; however, massage therapists may use a variety of therapies and techniques, depending on your needs and their specialities. You may have chosen light or deep tissue massage, after discussion with your therapist.
Massage therapy usually lasts one hour. This gives enough time to relax the body and address specific problems. A half-hour can be used as an introduction to massage or to address specific areas such as the back and shoulders.
Your therapist should help you understand that ultimately your body has the capacity to heal itself and will work with you to help you learn how you can become part of this process.
What to do During a Massage Session
Make yourself comfortable and relax. Your therapist may move or adjust your body at certain times or will tell you what is needed. You can change your position any time to make yourself more comfortable. Let the therapist know if you experience any discomfort or if the massage is too vigorous for you.
Many people just close their eyes and relax, others prefer to talk. Do not hesitate to ask questions any time.
How Will a Massage Feel?
Massage on healthy tissue feels good. Working on an area of injury or chronic pain may cause some amount of pain or discomfort, which will usually lessen during treatment. Always tell your therapist if you feel any discomfort or pain so he or she can adjust treatment.
After massage you should feel relaxed. Give yourself time to slowly get up. Many people experience freedom from pain and aches that have built over months of tension. After an initial period of feeling very relaxed, many people experience an increase in energy that can last for days.
How Often Should I Have a Massage?
At the beginning, two to three session's one week apart is best to give maximum benefit, as every massage session builds on the gains from previous sessions. After that about once a month seems to be the most beneficial for massage to keep its positive effects.