If you have never had a massage before, it can feel a bit daunting. Everyone keeps telling you how good they feel after a massage, but what really happens behind that closed door? While every therapist does things slightly differently, there are some common things that should always happen; such as protecting your privacy, practicing hygiene, ensuring your treatment is safe, and informed consent to treatment. Read on to answer my top questions about having a massage to find out what really to expect.
Why do I have to complete a Medical History Form?
I will ask you to complete a Medical History Form primarily to ensure that whatever happens in the treatment room will be safe and appropriate for you individually. The other reason is sometimes a random event in your past can have implications to what’s happening today. That broken ankle you had years ago could be a factor in why you experience hip pain recently. ALL your information is kept private. There is a reason I won’t ask you publicly later on how your specific health concern is going; I’m not unfeeling or have forgotten, I’m just not prepared to discuss your details if others can overhear.
I’m not sure if I want Relaxation or Remedial. How do I know what to ask for?
We will talk about what you are hoping to achieve from your massage. Sometimes people are hobbling in but don’t want their pain helped, they just want to relax. That’s fine, we can plan a Relaxation Massage. Other times if it is something that needs help resolving like a sore back or headaches, then we look at a Remedial Massage. The main thing is that we talk about what YOU want. And just as importantly, what you don’t want.
Do we get straight into it? I don’t know you that well yet!
Before we start massaging, I will invite you to take a seat so we can chat privately about your medical history. This is in order to clarify any details or we even can add to it (you’d be surprised how many people forget major life events until we start chatting).
We will usually do some quick check-in’s with your body. It’s official term is an assessment but I’m not much of a fan of that as there is no actual pass or fail. It is a check-in that efficiently gives me a lot of muscle information in a short amount of time. We might look at how far you can and can’t move in specific directions with or without pain or restriction. We may have a look at how your body is balanced. It is about information gathering so we can plan the most effective massage to give you the longest possible benefits.
After our little chat and check-in / assessment I will suggest what I think we should do to help you reach your goals; the massage treatment plan. This is a negotiation; if I suggest we treat your shoulders so they can move more freely but you’d rather work on your lower back pain, then that is what we will plan for. To be honest, this usually doesn’t require very much tweaking as our initial chat has usually given clear direction.
I have to take my clothes off and lay down, right?
People usually expect they will lie down on a massage table to receive a massage. Most of the time they do but massage can also happen when seated or using a combination of laying on your front, back, side or seated. I usually ask you to remove some clothing for a massage where you are laying on the massage table, but only within your comfort level and only after I have left the room. Undies always stay on and if we are only working a part of your body, it may be appropriate to leave some of your other clothes on.
I provide you with fresh towels to cover yourself. I always knock on the door to ensure it is OK before I re-enter the room. We use bolsters and a pillow to keep you supported and will adjust the height of the massage table so I can reach you effectively (and without hurting me). On cooler days I use an electric blanket to help keep you warm during your massage. Only then will I move a portion of towel to uncover the section of your body being worked on before covering you up nice and snug again.
Will it hurt?
Before and during your massage we discuss pressure levels to ensure you remain comfortable and are enjoying your treatment. Depending on your treatment goals you may receive a combination of gentle flowing massage techniques, firmer treatment, stretching, muscle activation’s or more. I will talk to you about what will happen before it happens and if you change your mind about what we planned together before, we change the treatment accordingly.
A massage should never hurt. It might sometimes be a little uncomfortable if that fits in with you and your goals, but never actually hurt. I want you to feel better not worse! (Read my blog on ‘Why Jane Fonda Had It Wrong’ to find out more.)
What happens afterwards?
Besides feeling great? I will leave the room so you can get up and dressed and I always knock on the door to make sure you are OK before returning. We will have a brief chat and possibly complete some re-assessments to check on your level of improvement. I may give you some home-care tips to help you feel better for longer. We will discuss if another massage would be beneficial and can reserve your preferred time if that suits.
It sounds like we do a lot of talking. And we do, but rather than firing questions off at you, it is more of a conversational discussion. I am passionate about making you feel comfortable, protecting your privacy, and you being in charge of what happens to your body. If you still have any questions about what to expect, please get in touch here. If you are ready to experience a massage for yourself, get in touch or book an appointment on line.