Even after years of giving massages, I have to remind myself of how to completely benefit from a massage when I receive them. Here are some thoughts on getting the most out of your sessions…
- Be honest – Make sure your therapist knows about ALL medical issues or ailments, treatments allergies and medications you are on. Even if you are receiving a light, relaxing massage, some techniques can interfere with what your body may be experiencing. Some essential oils can interfere with medications as well.
- Get comfortable – the massage therapist will make sure you are draped appropriately, warm and comfortable, but don’t forget to speak up if you are still uncomfortable. Do you need an extra blanket? Should the face cradle be tilted more up or down? Do you need a little more lift under your knees or ankles? Are you feeling a little exposed? A good massage therapist will make sure that even though you may be naked under the covers, any area besides the area being worked on should never be exposed.
- Breathe – Allow yourself to take deep breaths. Are you sucking them down quickly or are you allowing the breath to completely come through your lungs and down into your belly and then out again in a slow but natural way? If an area being worked on is a bit more tender, allow your breath to let you flow through this. Which brings us to the next …
- Pressure – Massages come in many different techniques and styles depending on what your goals are for your body and mind. If you are more sensitive to pressure, let your therapist know and then work with each other to adjust the pressure. If you need deeper pressure, let them know. Sometimes only certain areas of the body can take more pressure, so make sure the communication is clear on the therapist’s side and yours. Also don’t assume you need a “hard” massage because that’s what you have heard. Work with your therapist to find your balance.
- Talk or not – This has been a long standing argument in the massage community. Do you tell your client to be quiet if they’re talking through the session? I don’t anymore. Though it may be more relaxing and beneficial for the majority of people to stay silent and sometimes fall asleep, others actually become nervous from the silence. If you are a talker and that’s what makes you feel relaxed, then go ahead and chat. And sometimes, you may feel like talking and other sessions you don’t. That’s ok. Your therapist should follow what you prefer.
- Let it flow – Allow your therapist to move your body. They will ask you if they need your help in maneuvering extremities. Ever give a cat a bath? Sometimes when the body is moving too much, it is difficult for the therapist to do their concentrated work. Just let your muscles sink into the table or the therapist’s hands.
- Relax – Try to let your muscles release. Do you have a habit of sticking your arm out straight for the therapist to make it easier for them? Is your therapist trying to turn your head gently, but you are trying to stay still, so you end up fighting them? It’s harder to massage muscles when they are contracted and not in a neutral position, so just allow your muscles to relax.
- The Right Therapist – If you are uncomfortable or feel your therapist is not the match for you, get a second opinion and find a different therapist. Some therapists specialize in particular massage and may be more suited to what you need. A good massage therapist will even refer out to a different therapist. Remember, this is your time, money, body and mind. Receive the most out of it!