Here you will learn how to prepare for a massage and what to expect during the session. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.
How can I prepare for a massage?
For a house call session, I will try to arrive 15 minutes early. I will use the time to set up and set the mood. Please have the space ready for the table and enough for me to walk around it. Think of the areas you would like me to focus in this session. You'll want to be on the table at the start of your scheduled time to maximize your massage time. Try not to eat right before a massage. Please shower and take care of personal hygiene prior to your session.
During and after the massage:
During the massage, communicate your wishes freely. The massage room is a judgement free zone, and there are no stupid questions. Know that 99% of the time, the therapist is capable of moving your limbs around without the additional "help" you may wish to offer. Sometimes your helping (using your muscles) is in competition with what the therapist may be trying to achieve (relaxing your muscles). Sometimes this is a subconscious reaction, which is ok, the therapists have tricks to allow you to relax more.
After the massage, try not to jump up too fast. As is suggested, take your time getting up and getting dressed. If you move too quickly, you may cause some dizziness. Allow for some quiet time after your session; giving yourself some “re-entry time.” Discuss an ongoing schedule for the massage to maximize the effects. Tipping is not asked nor is it required, but if you must, it will be graciously accepted and appreciated.
How long does a massage session last?
The session itself is either 1 hour or 1.5 hours or as otherwise stated. The time begins when you are on the table, and the therapist is in the room. Arrive with enough time to consult, undress, receive the massage, and redress.
Will you use oil? cream?
Sometimes oil or cream may be used, sometimes it is not. Different types of strokes require different types of glide. Some do better with glide (swedish) and some do better without (myofascial release). If you have any allergies to oil types, do let us know. We have many types at our disposal. If you don't want oil to get into your hair or anything else, we will be sure to be more careful. We have hair-ties available to secure your long hair.
What will a typical session look like?
We’ll begin each session by talking for a few minutes about how you are feeling, what you would like to work on, and any medical or physical issues relevant to the massage. I may perform some tests to assess musculature strength, impairment. I will leave the treatment room, you will undress to your level of comfort and lie down on the massage table, underneath a sheet and blanket.
I’ll re-enter, I adjust the bolsters, the music, the temperature, and whatever else you need. And whenever you are ready, we’ll begin.
We decide together how to structure the session. Some sessions are a little more broad, a little less muscle-specific, and I work the whole body—arms, legs, back, shoulders, neck, and head (and face and abdomen, if you request). Some sessions are very specific, with detailed work focusing on one or two particular trouble spots. Some sessions are a combination of both. Sometimes we use oil, sometimes we don’t, depending on what you need, and what works best. The choice is always yours. The expertise to make it happen is mine.
I use a combination of techniques based on your aims for the session. There are many layers of skin and muscle and each are accessed in different ways. I encourage you to let me know at any point if you would like more or less pressure. Everyone has different tolerances. It may change depending on what part of the body we are working on. My expertise allows me to feel those differences are. As needed during the session, I will offer you cues for feedback or to check in, or I may ask you to position yourself in a certain way, in order to enhance your body’s ability to engage with the work. My goal is to cultivate a dialogue throughout our session, both spoken and unspoken, where you are working with me to achieve the change that you desire.
Once we are finished, I may speak to you about what I discovered or just to check in to see how you feel now, versus when you started. Sometimes you can't tell for sure until you've gotten up. I will then leave and you will redress and join me when you are ready.
How does a Home Visit work?
A lot of the success in a massage comes from client comfort. If you are relaxed and at ease, then your muscles are more easily affected. Where are we most comfortable if not at home? The therapist will arrive 15 min before the session to setup the table and to allow you to prepare. Please make sure you have enough space at home for a massage table and room for the therapist to walk around the table. You don't need anything else, the therapist will bring the equipment with him. If you would prefer to use your own sheets, no problem. You can play your own music or the therapist can use theirs. If you have any requests, make sure to include in the notes ahead of time. The session itself is either 1 hour or 1.5 hours. The time begins when you are on the table, and the therapist is in the room.
What do I wear during a massage?
You will be asked to remove all jewelry, hair clips/bands, and if applicable, bra. Most people wear nothing during massage. Others choose to wear their underwear. This is a matter of personal preference. You will be completely covered at all times; only the body part being worked on will be exposed. If your problem area is your lower back, buttocks, or hips, under garments may prevent detailed work to those areas.
Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?
No. The therapist leaves the room; giving you as much time as you need to go to the bathroom, (if needed) undress, get on the table, and cover yourself. Don’t rush! They will knock and ask if you’re ready before they enter the room.
Should I talk during the massage?
It’s your call. Some people talk throughout, some do not at all. Don’t feel like you have to make conversation. This is YOUR session. Do what’s comfortable. Be sure to speak up if: you are too cold/hot, experience any pain or discomfort, have any questions related to massage, or if there’s anything you forgot to share during the consultation. The therapist will typically ask you for feedback or to check in with you occasionally, mostly so that you feel as a participant to the experience, that you have the power to make it more useful/enjoyable by relaying information.
What if I fall asleep?
One of the effects of massage is the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the "rest and digest" system). One of the results to this activation is the body entering a resting state and naturally into sleep. Most people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage. It is also very common for folks to snore or drool. You may feel groggy after your session like you just woke up. Its ok! I fall asleep during my massages! You don't need to fight the urge. Know that the therapist will alert you if they need something from you (feedback, need to change positions, its time to get dressed and go home). They understand how precious these moments of peace are.
What if I get aroused during the massage?
It is normal for some men to become aroused during massage. Touch can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes the arousal. Don’t worry if this happens, it will be ignored. Please understand the massage session is strictly therapeutic.
Is a good massage supposed to hurt? I've heard "no pain no gain" before.
It is a myth that massage has to hurt to be effective. A good therapist works with the body, not against it. They can use their training and all their tools to sense and judge when the body is cooperating and when it is resisting. See below for a more verbose explanation. There are many ways to work very deeply without feeling any pain. The body will heal faster and more efficiently if it is at ease.
A natural response our body makes to the presence of pain is to protect itself. In muscle-talk, this means it will tense up the muscle or surrounding muscles to defend itself from any damage. It does this via activation of the nervous system, either via reflex or via signal from the brain/spinal cord. There are sensors all over our body, some in the muscle itself, some in the attachment sites to bones. We are constantly discovering new ways for how this process is activated. Simply put, the body wants to stay together, to be whole, to be in balance.
If the body is protecting itself from change, chances are you are not going to be very effective in making it change. The body may even bounce you off by tightening the muscle, or via other means. So the approach is crucial. Sometimes the current state of injury makes certain areas more sensitive. Sometimes the area that feels the pain is not the site of injury (think of muscle nerves as the branches of a tree. injury to a big branch affects all the little branches on it. you can see some charts in the office). Work on these areas requires patience, to not over-activate the system. Pain is usually sharp. There may also be areas that are long-time victims of fatigue and strain, that require re-structuring to be able to function more appropriately. These too may elicit pain but it may be more dull. This is the "good" kind of pain, when pressure applied feels like something is "getting worked out."
With all types of pain, you should communicate freely. If it helps, using a pain scale of 1 is NO pain and 10 is extremely painful, a massage normally should always be 7 or less. You will NEVER insult the therapist or hurt his feelings by telling him what you want/feel/like/dislike. It’s your session, and we want you to relax & enjoy it!
I’ve been told to drink lots of water after a massage. Why?
Being well hydrated is always good. You should try to drink plenty of water before a massage as well as after. Prior to a massage, it is beneficial, because a well-hydrated muscle is easier to manipulate and perform deep work on. Well hydrated skin is also more malleable to work on. However, drinking water doesn't have any effect on removal of toxins. The body does this on its own and the theory has been debunked many times. If you feel thirsty, drink. It's as simple as that.
Will you heal me?
No. The therapist does not “heal”—or “treat”—or “prescribe.” Massage Therapists are facilitators of change. We communicate with your body to help it achieve a healthier, balanced, functional state. We tell your body what needs to change and help it repair and recover by altering the landscape to make this change happen more easily.
A good therapists listens to the body and can interpret through tactile feedback if something is a good candidate for improvement based upon their knowledge of (normal) human structure. A great therapist will use all tools and forms of communication to adjust their technique in order to be as effective as possible in their role as facilitator. The body does the rest. Your body is the healer. The therapist is the guide pointing the way.
Sometimes the body does not heal in the most optimal way, whether because there were sub-optimal settings during healing process or because the healing process could never finish due to continual stress to the injury site, among many other reasons. A massage therapist can reset the conditions for healing and allow the site to heal in a more functional and optimal way. This means that the healing process continues after the massage session and why it is important to try to follow any homework the therapist may give. Doing your part is paramount to your success. Alcohol, tobacco, intense exercise, poor posture, stress, previous injury, repetitive movement, are just a few of the things that can/will hinder your overall progress.
What are some good things to do after a massage session?
Take some time to be with yourself, with your body, in a quiet space if possible. Drink some water. Listen to some soft music if it helps. Your body just experienced a wonderful thing; it is useful to take time to integrate what just happened. Often, the massage process is educational. It shows you things about your body you didn't know before; it points out what muscles or structures in you body that need attention because of dysfunction, restriction, etc. It is good to be aware of this. You should also pay attention to how different your body feels now versus before the session.
I am a big supporter of the use of saunas after massage, or just in general. Use of saunas after exercise has been shown to have a big impact on muscle recovery rate. I consider deep tissue work as a mild form of exercise. Saunas activate something called heat-shock proteins, which acts like a clean up crew, clearing the way to recovery. I will include more information about this process in the future, as it is a fascinating process. The Scandinavian countries have been taking advantage of saunas for a long time.
Sleep is also a wonderful thing for recovery. Most of our body's recovery time actually happens during sleep time. Thus it is easy to take a short or long nap after a massage.