Heres round two- I revised the format and the references. Input is highly valued!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST MASSAGE APPOINTMENT
Haley N. Masbruch, LMP
Massage therapy is recognized by many healthcare professionals to be effective in the treatment of injuries, chronic pain, and stress. Despite this, up to 80% of Americans have never had a massage. Part of the reason for this is that many people are unsure of what to expect during a massage. Massage therapists have extensive training to making massage therapy safe, effective and comfortable for their clients, and they are happy to answer questions about their education, experience and the techniques they use.
Before Your Massage
Before beginning the massage, the massage therapist will ask you to complete a health history form. This is so he or she can determine if you have any health concerns that massage could affect. Be sure to tell the therapist if you have any allergies, as some massage oils and creams contain plant extracts and nut oils. The therapist will also ask if there are any areas you would like him or her to focus on or avoid during the massage.
A question that many first time massage clients ask is, “How much clothing should I remove?” This depends on the client. Before the massage begins, the therapist will instruct you to disrobe to a level you are comfortable with. He or she will leave the room while you do this. It is important that you are able to feel relaxed and secure during your massage, so leave on as much or as little clothing as you like. Only the areas being treated will be uncovered- the rest of your body will be securely draped.
During Your Massage
During your massage, the therapist will use strokes such as gliding, kneading and stretching to help your muscles and mind relax. Oil or cream may be used depending on the techniques the therapist uses. The treatment room will usually be dimly lit, and there may be soft music playing. Do not feel afraid to tell your therapist if anything feels uncomfortable or painful. He or she will be able to change the techniques used to accommodate your needs.
After Your Massage
After your massage, your therapist will leave the room while you take a few minutes to wake your body up and get dressed. Be sure to take your time. Breathe deeply and feel the relaxation in your muscles. It is also helpful to drink one or two glasses of water in the hour following your massage- this will help your body eliminate the waste products that are worked out of your muscles during the treatment.
The therapist may also ask if you would like to schedule further appointments for massage. The benefits of massage can be felt best over a series of appointments, so it may be a good idea to schedule a few more sessions, especially if you need treatment for an injury that massage has been prescribed for.
By becoming familiar with what to expect during a massage appointment, you take an important step in enhancing your health and well-being. To find a qualified massage therapist in your area, use the ‘Find A Massage Therapist’ tool on the home page of the American Massage Therapy Association at www.amtamassage.org.
Haynes, D., Mastering Chair Massage, Real Bodywork, April 2007
Culpepper-Richards, K., Effect of a Back Massage and Relaxation Intervention on Sleep in Critically Ill Patients. Am. J. Crit. Care, July 1998
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) 2010, ‘Ten Tips To Get The Most From Your Massage’, http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/tips.html