If you are new to massage, it is completely normal to have a lot of questions. This uncertainty about what to expect keeps many people from getting a professional massage. And that's a shame because just about everyone can receive health benefits from massage therapy.
Statistics suggest that around 30% of the U.S. population have had professional massages. That means around 70% have not. So if that is you, know that you are far from alone!
We don't want nervousness, uncertainty, or fear of the unknown to hold you back. That is why we created this guide to let you know what to expect before, during, and after your first massage.
Just make sure you are going to a reputable massage clinic or spa. It is important to verify that you are receiving therapy from a Licensed Massage Therapist.
When you call our office or book online, we will need to know how long of a massage you would like. If you aren't sure, refer to the descriptions provided on our massage rates page.
You'll want to make sure you are well hydrated for the day of the massage. You'll also want to avoid a large meal a few hours prior to the massage.
New clients need to arrive 10-15 minutes early to fill out our new client intake form. If you'd prefer to fill it out ahead of time, you can print it out here - New Client Intake Form (check your downloads after clicking).
You'll want to allow yourself plenty of time to arrive so you aren't rushing to get here. If you are feeling stressed from being late, it will take you longer to get into a relaxed state.
Once you've filled out your intake form, your therapist will take you to the massage room. They will then review your health history and ask questions about any medical conditions you may have.
Massage affects multiple body systems so it is important to be honest about your health status. This will let the therapist know if you have any conditions that would make certain modalities of massage (or the massage itself) contraindicated.
Once the health questions are out of the way, your therapist will ask questions that will help them tailor the massage to your specific needs. Let him/her know if you would like any specific areas worked on and if you would like any areas avoided.
Feel free to ask questions or discuss any concerns with your therapist. We want you to be completely comfortable with the whole process - it makes for a much better massage!
After the consultation, the therapist will explain what to expect with the session. Then he/she will leave the room while you undress to your level of comfort.
Lie down on the table and get between the sheets to cover yourself. The therapist will knock before reentering the room to make sure you are ready.
During the entire massage you will be kept draped (covered) except the area that the therapist is working on.
For a relaxation massage, the therapist will not talk much except to check on your comfort. For therapeutic massage, more feedback is needed from the client, so there will be more of a dialogue.
Open communication between you and your therapist is key in order for you to get the most out of your massage time.
If you are too cold, too hot, or uncomfortable in any way, let your therapist know right away. Also let him/her know if you would like more or less pressure. The therapist will check in with you at times, but feel free to let them know at any point during the massage.
Please don't feel uncomfortable about speaking up. Temperature and pressure are perceived differently by each of us. One person's idea of light pressure might be too deep for another. One person's idea of comfortable could be too hot or too cold for others.
This is your massage and we want you to have the best experience possible, so always feel free to speak up if you are uncomfortable in any way.
When your therapist has completed your massage, he/she will leave the room and allow you to get redressed. Allow yourself a few minutes to get off the table as you might feel groggy, light-headed, or disoriented - especially if you were able to get into a deeply relaxed state.
When you are ready, come out to the reception area. Your therapist will offer you a glass of water to drink. You will be advised to drink plenty of water after your massage.
This is important because massage improves blood and lymph circulation - freeing up cellular waste products that need to be excreted in the urine. Drinking lots of water helps the process along.
After your glass of water it is time to pay for your massage. Many people new to massage ask about tipping. Like most services, tipping is a customary way of compensating your therapist for a high level of service. It is certainly not expected, but greatly appreciated.
Most people do not realize just how demanding massage is for your therapist. That typical hour of massage equates to 2 hours of regular work. Deeper therapeutic work can sometimes equate to three hours of regular work. This means our therapists are limited to 15-20 hours of massage each week so they do not burn out.
How you feel after your massage depends on the type and length of
massage you had. Remember to keep drinking your water.
For a relaxation massage you should feel relaxed and well rested. In fact, you might awaken to realize you've had the best sleep you've had in quite some time.
If you had deep tissue work done, it is normal to have
some soreness for the next day or two. This soreness is similar to what you'd get from a good workout. Just as your muscles get stronger from working out, this soreness will subside with repeated massage sessions.