Receiving A Massage

Because massage is not yet a common part of our contemporary cultural experience,
many people feel uneasy or nervous about receiving their first massage.  Here are a
few guidelines to help you feel at ease and to gain the greatest benefit from your
massage session:

  • Tell the therapist about areas of your body that are injured, tense, or sore.  
    Also mention any medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart
    problems, diabetes, headaches, varicose veins, recent surgeries, pregnancy, etc.
    Some conditions may require a specific approach or alternative method for
    safely massaging the entire body, or affected areas. The massage therapist or
    establishment will usually have a general history/release form for you to
    complete prior to your first session.

  • The best way to receive a full-body massage is with the body completely
    unclothed.  The therapist is sensitive to the need for privacy and will keep your
    body fully covered with a sheet or towel, and only expose the area being
    massaged.  If this arrangement is not comfortable for you in any way, you may
    wear underpants or a bathing suit, or simply undress down to where you will
    feel comfortable on the massage table.

  • Close your eyes and allow yourself to relax as completely as possible.  Listen to
    the music. Focus your attention on your breathing, which should be slow, deep,
    and even. Continually allow your body and mind to relax into the table.

  • Allow the therapist to move your limbs into the various positions as necessary
    to perform the massage. Do not try to move your arms, legs, or head for the
    therapist, as this only results in tension in the body--your only job is to relax!  
    The therapist is a trained professional who will not do anything to harm you.  
    However, feel free to speak up if you feel uncomfortable in any way.

  • When the therapist's hands locate areas of pain or tension in the body,
    consciously try to relax those areas. As you inhale deeply, visualize the breath
    flowing to the tense area and relaxing it. As you fully exhale, visualize the
    tension leaving the body with the breath.

  • Conversation can be distracting to you and the therapist.  A good beneficial
    massage requires concentration from the therapist.  Please confine your
    conversation to feedback pertaining to the massage.

  • Contrary to some notion in our society about massage, it is an ancient healing
    art and not a sexual or entertainment service. Sexual behavior during the
    massage session is inappropriate and will result in immediate termination of
    the session.

  • Very often, as the body releases tension during a massage, the mind will release
    emotion. If you suddenly find yourself feeling emotions of joy, sadness, or
    anger, do not be alarmed. Allow your body to release these emotions by crying
    or laughing.

  • Many people fall asleep during a massage, which is an indication that the body
    and mind are releasing stress and tension. The therapist will gently wake you
    when it is time to turn over or to end the massage.

  • Due to the effects of massage, it is common to feel lightheaded,slightly dizzy, or sore after
    a massage. Take your time getting up from the table. Once dressed, sit and rest
    comfortably with a glass of water until you feel ready to be up and about.  (It is normal
    to experience some muscle soreness for one or two days following deep-tissue bodywork.)

  • Remember: water is essential to the body in its elimination of toxins and wastes released
    during the massage. It is important to drink an adequate amount of water to prevent
    feelings of nausea or headaches, and to aide in "flushing out" the body.

We hope that your first massage experience is both enjoyable and beneficial. May this
be the beginning of a lifelong practice to help you achieve the best possible health
and relaxation.
Other Articles:

Power of the Breath

Why Water?

Forms of Stress

Essential Oils

How to Receive a Massage