Massage is an investment of time and money – so you want your massage to be awesome right? So here are my 5 top tips to get the most from your next massage.
I asked a new client recently if she had received a professional massage recently. She said “my last massage I felt like I paid someone to smother me with oil.” She was seeking something firmer and was hoping to get relief from some aches and pains – and sadly this didn’t happen for her in that experience. Poor communication is probably the biggest reason for dissatisfaction in massage.
Have you heard stories about people having the wrong limb amputated? Rest in comfort that your level of dissatisfaction is unlikely to be that high. However, keep in mind that as a human being I occasionally get my left and right muddled. I want you to know that it is okay if you say “can you spend some time on the other leg too please?” or “can you work a bit firmer please?”
Sometimes clients say to me “just a full body massage and work on whatever you find”. That’s absolutely fine to say. You just want a great massage. All I need to know from you is do you want a firm or gentle massage, do you want the massage to be stimulating (faster and vigorous) or slow and relaxing. I’ll probably ask you a few things through your massage based on what I find.
We live busy lives. Give yourself enough time to get to me so that you can sit down, chill in the relaxing environment, have a glass of water and just let yourself decompress before your massage begins. If you’re running late – don’t stress – don’t speed just to make your appointment time.
You’re also better off with massage if you have a quiet day following – you don’t want to have to rush off to get to your next meeting. Especially if you’re feeling a bit spaced out, or a bit achy.
If you’re booked for an hour or longer – just know that when you lay down, your body might decide it’s time to empty your bladder.
Don’t lay there all uncomfortable trying not to think about waterfalls – tell me, get up and use the loo. You’ll be able to relax far better if you’re not focusing on controlling your pelvic floor.
That’s really important for my mums to be – you probably will need to pee. As frustrating as it is – it’s normal. Obey the urge
Also … what to do about wind? Sometimes something might slip out. It’s okay. It’s not an invitation to parp the national anthem though.
Just know that when you stand up after massage – you’re likely to have table face. You’ll probably want to get into your trackies or jim jams and slide off of the table and into bed.
I do a lot of dry massage work – so no oil – and you might want to think about that if you’ve arrived in your Sunday best.
If you come in for full body relaxation massage – keep in mind that you will have oil on your arms and back and legs. I use a balm that absorbs pretty quickly and it doesn’t leave you feeling sticky either. However tight fitting jeans or nylon pants can feel uncomfortable after massage. Lose fitting and comfortable clothes are best.
I will leave the room while you undress. Take off only as much as you are comfortable removing. Get on to the table following the directions of your therapist – face up or down, head to the right end and cover yourself with the towel or sheet.
Underwear – I am more comfortable if you wear underwear to your massage as it gives me a place to tuck my towel when I work on legs without having to do elaborate origami folds. I will always cover you with a towel for oil massage that is hand to skin. If you don’t wear underwear for personal comfort – that’s okay – I can work around that.
As for bra’s – my preference is for you to leave it on, particularly when facing up on the table – as long as it opens from the back. A few of my clients feel more comfortable with their bra off – that one is entirely your preference. I admit – opening bras is one of the more uncomfortable things I do in this job – not because underwear is embarrassing or shameful , but some of those clips are so hard to open!
Lets establish expectations up front – why are you here, what do you want to achieve, how much pressure do you enjoy. I recommend using these techniques in these areas – are you happy with what I have planned for you?
Do you want to hold conversation through the treatment, or do you just want to chill out?
Do you like the music? Is the room warm enough or would you like it cooler? Are you comfortable?
Are there certain areas of the body that you don’t want me to work on – you might be post-operative, or have a sensitivity. Maybe you really don’t want someone to see your legs or your tummy. I want you to know that I am comfortable with your body. I believe that everybody is beautiful. I will not force you to have massage on your legs if you do not want your legs to be massaged.
Throughout the massage – are you happy with the pressure – would you like it firmer, or is it too firm. Tell me if there is a spot that you want me to spend more time on.
Have you heard stories about people having the wrong limb amputated? Rest in comfort that your level of dissatisfaction is unlikely to be that high. Keep in mind that occasionally I get my left and right muddled – and I’m okay if you say – don’t forget it was my left foot that hurts.
David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage and David Clayton Remedial Therapies located in the inner north and north east of Adelaide. He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies. He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.