If you’ve never had a massage by a licensed massage therapist before, let me tell you something: You are missing out. Massage therapy is fantastic for exercisers as it can help keep your muscles flexible, reduce soreness and even improve your mobility and range of motion. It is also the perfect reward for a few solid weeks of eating right and moving more!
The first time I got a massage, I was excited, but really nervous about what to expect and what to do. So I put together a list of seven tips to get the most out of a massage, be it deep tissue, sports or just a basic Swedish treatment. These tips are geared to first-timers, but it’s also a great refresher for those who visit a massage therapist often!
7 Tips to Get the Most from Your Massage
1. Inquire about your massage therapist’s credentials. Most states and/or cities require a license to practice massage therapy. Ask your therapist if they’re licensed and if they went to an accredited school for massage.
2. Have an open mind. Your massage therapist may be trained in a number of modalities and may even try energy work on you. Be as receptive and open to the process as possible and remember to relax and take deep slow breaths. That’s what you’re there for, after all!
3. Don’t go with a full belly. Be sure to eat a meal three to four hours before your massage, but no sooner or you may be uncomfortable.
4. Be on time. Give yourself plenty of time to relax before you get on the table.
5. Be comfortable. Take off only as much clothing as you are comfortable removing. If you don’t want to remove your clothing at all, wear clothing that will be comfortable during the massage and will allow the massage therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you expect will need to be massaged. Or try Thai massage that is done clothed. Remember that your therapist will give you a sheet or a towel to cover up, and will only uncover the part of your body that is being massaged.
6. Communicate before the massage. Be sure to give accurate health information to your therapist and let him or her know your reasons for the massage, including if it’s for therapeutic reasons or just relaxation. Also let them know if you’re allergic to any oils, lotions or powders. Lastly, if you just want to relax and your therapist is a Chatty Cathy, don’t be afraid to tell them that you’d like to enjoy some quiet time.
7. Give feedback. Definitely tell your massage therapist if the pressure needs to be adjusted or if you feel uncomfortable at any time. If anything happens that you dislike or seems improper, you have the right to ask them to stop or end the session entirely.
And the biggest tip of all? Enjoy! Do you get regular massage? Tell us about it in the comments!
February 4th, 2011