"I had a massage in the past and it was painful. I don't think I like massages."
Massage should not be an unpleasant experience. If a client leaves a massage session displeased because of pain then the massage practitioner failed to listen to the client and failed to serve the clients needs. At the beginning of each session I ask the client what her treatment goal is and together we decide what the focus will be for the treatment. We also discuss the amount of pressure the client wants. During the session I ask if the pressure is okay and I adjust the pressure if she indicates the pressure is not to her liking. I am very skilled at keeping the pressure at a level that meets my clients' desires and needs.
"I am nervous and anxious about getting a massage. What should I expect when I go for a massage?"
At your first appointment you will be asked to fill out a short form with your contact information and answer some basic questions about your health. During a brief check-in conversation we determine how to design the session to address your wellness goals. This can range anywhere from relaxation and stress relief to addressing a very specific injured area.
Next, I show you into the treatment room which has a comfortable massage table, gentle lighting and a door for privacy. I leave you alone while you get ready, lay on the table and pull the sheet and blanket over you, as if getting into your bed. Massage tables are like half bed, half table. The table aspect allows the therapist to work with good posture for herself, while the bed aspect allows the client to relax and be comfortable. When the season is appropriate, I have a heating pad on the table. I tell clients to undress to their level of comfort. It is the client's choice to leave on or remove her underwear. Before I enter the treatment room, I will ask through the door if you're all set and I enter only after you indicate that you are ready.
Relaxing music is played during the massage. I will proceed with the massage as has been determined during our check-in conversation. You will remain under the covers throughout the massage. As I move to work on an area, for example your arm, I will carefully fold back the linens to expose the arm and shoulder and nothing more. I will massage the arm and cover it again with the linens when I'm done with the arm. All private areas are always covered at all times. If we have determined that your gluteal area needs work, I will work either through the sheet with no oil or work with oil directly on the skin...but only as per your voiced preference.
When the massage is over, I will leave you alone to get off the table, get dressed and then join me out in the waiting room.
"Do I need to be conversational during the massage? What do I do while I'm getting massaged?"
The main things I want my clients to do during a massage are to relax and to focus on what they are feeling as the massage proceeds.
Generally, massage is done without conversation so that the client can best relax, not think about anything specific, and enjoy the massage. You should never feel obligated to carry on a conversation. That is not to say there is never conversation. I have some clients who like to talk during a massage (or part of the massage) and have had some clients who actually relax better with conversation than in quiet. Whether or not there is conversation should be entirely up to the client and only when that is what she genuinely wants.
Relaxed natural breathing or focused meditative breathing are great ways for the body to receive the greatest benefit from massage. If you find yourself breathing unnaturally, just let yourself focus on your breath in a way that is comfortable for you.
Focusing on the massage and how it feels is a great way to further facilitate the benefits of massage. If you keep a gentle focuson what your body experiences as the therapist works, you can feel the tightness leaving your body.