Q: Must I Be Completely Undressed?
A: Massage is traditionally applied to bare skin. This doesn’t mean that the client’s modesty is ever compromised. You will be properly draped during the entire session with a sheet, carefully undraping only one area of the body at a time as the need arises.
While many clients have no qualms about removing all of their clothing, some prefer to leave on their undergarments, or even some of their outer clothing. Some massage techniques are impossible to apply through clothing; but we can work around this and treat the areas that you feel comfortable with.
Q: What Parts of My Body Will Be Massaged?
A: The extent of a massage will depend on several factors, including the length of the session, the specific need for treatment, the techniques used, and the client’s comfort level with touch.
When there is an injury or condition to be addressed, the entire session may focus on a single area. There may also be a need for treatment of other body areas that are affected by an injury, such as when a sprained ankle forces the opposite leg to bear all the stress of walking and weight-bearing, resulting in low back problems.
When a massage is sought for relaxation, you and the practitioner will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders with the abdomen and/or gluteus/hip area as optional. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (male or female). If you are uncomfortable with being massaged in any area, just inform the therapist of your wishes and the therapist will adjust the massage accordingly.
Q: What Will The Massage Feel Like?
A: It depends on the techniques used. In general a massage session may start with broad, flowing strokes which will help to calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massages are most effective when your body is not resisting.
Q: Does massage hurt?
A: During the course of a massage, the therapist will probably find areas of tenderness or pain. The level of pain will depend entirely on the therapist’s techniques and the sensitivity of the area in question. Receiving massage strokes in tender areas often creates a very satisfying sensation of “good pain.” If, however, you have to hold your breath, furrow your brow, or tense your body to endure the pain, simply let your therapist know so they can decrease the pressure or try a different technique. Severe pain triggers the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream, which is hardly the goal of massage therapy.
Some massage techniques involve deep pressure that can be very painful initially, yet they have long-term benefits that may outweigh the short-term discomfort. A professional therapist will always explain the benefits of painful procedures and allow the client to accept or decline such procedures.
Q: What Should I Do During the massage Session?
A: Make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or guide you to a position that is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask the practitioner questions about massage in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.
Q: What should I expect after my massage?
A: While the ultimate goal of massage is to make you feel better, occasionally you may start out feeling sore and achy. This is a normal process as the massage process increases your blood flow to your muscles, almost like a good workout at the gym!
Although we try and avoid it, some people may experience some bruising depending on how deep your practitioner goes with the techniques, as well as how easily the client bruises.
Q: Any last words of advice?
A: Communicate. Talk. Ask. Guide. Regardless if the massage is out of medical necessity, or elective, the depth, pressure, and style of massage is completely within your control. Do not hesitate to let your therapist know if they’ve gone too deep – a grin and bear it attitude can lead to a terrible massage!
The same goes for the area in which your therapist works: if you are for any reason, ever uncomfortable we ask that you let your therapist know immediately. Here at Balance we will always explain any necessary uncommon areas or techniques prior to ‘digging in’; we want you to be comfortable with everything that we do. And in the end, it is all up to you!