What to Expect from Massage Therapy
by Beth Malouf, LMT
I am going to share with you some of the nuts and bolts of how we perform massage at Best Face Forward.
If you have received massage therapy before, hopefully your experience was wonderfully relaxing, and you schedule massages for yourself regularly. But even if you have never received massage, or if you had a negative experience with it in the past, Best Face Forward is ready to help you make massage part of your plan for life-long wellness. We offer massage in a non-judgmental atmosphere customized to meet your individual needs. Our clients range in age from 5 to over 80 years old. Some are athletes in peak shape; some have limited mobility or chronic health conditions. We encourage people of any size, ability, or age to talk with our trained therapists to find a comfortable way to receive massage.
It is a good idea to increase your water consumption on the day of your massage. It is beneficial to be properly hydrated during the massage, and facilitates flushing of any toxins from the body after the massage.
When you check in the first time you will fill out a confidential, basic health history form to make sure that we can find the right kind of body work for you. We are particularly interested to learn about any numbness or sensitivity loss you might have – so we can be sure to avoid accidentally applying too much pressure – and any cardiovascular problems that might make the circulatory stress of massage harmful. We will also ask about any pain you are experiencing and what treatments you have received for it.
We use minimal scents, fragrance-free detergents, and hypo-allergenic massage products out of respect for clients’ sensitivity and comfort. We keep the massage table warm and the room softly lit to encourage you to begin your relaxation as soon as you walk in the door.
We will briefly discuss the plan for your massage such as where to focus, where to avoid, and what your goals are. Some people want us to focus on only one part of their body either because they have a lot of tension there, or because they do not want touch on some parts. We gladly respect your choices and honor all such requests, though we will likely point out the therapeutic value of full body massage since all of our muscles and tendons are connected. If you have had previous massage experience, please let us know what yo did or didn’t like so we can take that into account for our work with you.
The massage therapist will step out, and you will be given privacy to undress and to get on the massage table under a sheet and blanket. We take great care to be sure you are not exposed during the massage by moving the coverings as necessary to work on each area of the body. A sheet will cover the areas that the therapist is not working on, including those areas (such as the breasts and genitals) where we do not ever massage. If you need assistance getting on or off the massage table, we can discuss the best way to help you maintain modesty through that process.
For those who prefer to receive their massage fully or partially clothed, we can use techniques that provide great relaxation and aid circulation with compression and stretching without needing to make contact with your skin. We would not use any massage oil with a fully-clothed client.
During the massage you can expect a combination of body work techniques including:
- Strokes on your skin to encourage circulation of blood and lymph
- Kneading of your muscles to ease tension and release toxins
- Compression and friction to untangle “knots” in your muscles
- Deep pressure to release painful trigger points
While you are receiving the massage, we encourage you to communicate with your therapist if anything makes you uncomfortable or if you want to change anything. This is your massage session, and you are in control of it. If you would like a drink of water, a tissue, or a break to use the bathroom, we will happily accommodate you.
After your massage is complete, your therapist will step out of the treatment room to let you get off the table and get dressed in privacy. You will join us at the reception desk where we will then discuss how you feel, handle any payment, and schedule your next appointment.
I look forward to working with you soon. We can all use touch to be healthier and happier. So many of us are battling with our bodies, focusing on what we don’t like about our shape, and giving ourselves destructive messages about what our bodies can’t do. When you make the decision to be kind to your body by receiving massage you are celebrating what your body can do. Treat your body well, and it will reward you.