Frequently Asked Questions
Why does a massage therapist want background information about my physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels and any painful areas?
Patient information gives the massage therapist insight into a patient's primary complaint, current health, lifestyle and medical history. Asking a patient about their physical condition allows the therapist to focus the direction of treatment. If, for example, a patient has a past surgical history such as lumbar fusion, laminectomy, or a medical device (inserted under the skin) that dispenses pain medication, etc., the massage therapist will know what techniques may be contraindicated. Knowledge about lifestyle -- whether a patient is athletic, a weekend warrior, or spends long hours typing on a computer -- gives clues about possible muscular imbalances and stress patterns, and pain caused by stress is addressed differently than pain caused by injury. Some massage techniques are more responsive than others in patients with high stress levels. So, you can see how these questions might help a massage therapist in his/her approach to treatment.
Can bone spurs of the knee and the accompanying pain be relieved with massage?
Bone spurs (osteophytes) are bony projections that form along joint surfaces. It’s the body’s way of increasing the surface area of the joint to better distribute weight when it has been damaged by arthritis or other conditions. Bone spurs can become restrictive and painful. Since this is an actual bone modification, massage therapy can’t change it; however, massage can soothe pain and help reduce swelling that may accompany bone spurs. Massage and gentle stretching can help maintain the knee joint’s range of motion. It can also relax the surrounding muscles; increase circulation to the joint and local area to bring in fresh oxygen and nutrients; and remove waste products from the cells.
Where will my massage or Bodywork Session Take Place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a comfortable room of your choice. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.
Who Will Perform the Massage or Bodywork?
Your session will be conducted by a trained professional who has received proper training, in a variety of techniques. Although no two massages are exactly alike, you may request a certain technique or modality.
Will the Practitioner Be Present When I Disrobe?
I will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.
Will I Be Covered During the Session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.
What Parts of My Body Will Be Massaged?
You and I 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. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).
Will Lubricant Be Used?
A light oil or lotion may be used to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. A cold-pressed vegetable oil will be used that is easily absorbed by the skin. Please let me know if you have any allergies I should be aware of.
What Will the Massage or Bodywork Feel Like?
It depends on the techniques used. In a general Swedish massage, your 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. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.
Are There Different Kinds of Massage and Bodywork?
There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more.
How Long Will the Session Last?
The average full-body massage or bodywork session lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session. Hot tubs, steam baths and saunas can assist in the relaxation process.
What Should I Do During the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what 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 me questions about massage and bodywork in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.
How Will I Feel After the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.
What Are the Benefits of Massage and Bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being. Here are some more benefits.
Are There Any Medical Conditions That Would Make Massage or Bodywork Inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that before you begin your session, the practitioner ask general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Many practitioners may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
Must I Be Completely Undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, you may decide what amount of clothing you prefer to wear for your own comfort. You will be properly draped during the session. Finally, if you are uncomfortable being fully undressed, you can discuss alternative options with your masseuse. A good massage therapist will be accommodating to your needs, if they're not, you can always find a masseuse who will.
Because massage is so personal taking the time to find a good match between client and masseuse will greatly improve your experience.
Choosing the massage therapist that's right for you
Typically, when you decide to get a massage you have some idea as to why you're going. You may want to relieve stress, tension, pain, insomnia, depression or a variety of other problems.
Deciding you need a massage therapist is the easy part, choosing one is often more difficult. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Ask a friend. If you have a friend who sees a masseuse don't be shy and ask them for a reference.
Speak with the massage therapist to making an appointment. A good massage therapist will be willing to discuss your expectations and what style of massage will work best to relieve your symptoms.
Inquire about their fees. Typically a massage will last one hour but it is a good idea to ask how long the massage will last and whether they allow extra time at the end of your session for rebooking and discussion, if necessary.
Inquire about their facilities -- you may prefer to be seen an office setting rather than in the home of the massage therapist.
Credentials are important -- making sure the masseuse is licensed! Ask about how long they've been practicing, where they were schooled, how many hours of training did they complete and if they've had any advanced training in specific massage techniques.