MASSAGE ETIQUETTE GUIDE 2: MORE TIPS FOR THE BEST MASSAGE YOU`VE EVER HAD!
Written by: Akhilesh Dev | Posted: September 2, 2019 at 6:01 am | Total Comments: 1
- Don’t say “You can’t hurt me” or “Go as hard as you want”.
A massage therapist absolutely can hurt you. I know where every nerve plexus is close to the surface. I know every attachment site for your muscles. I also know how to use my “tools” (elbows, knuckles, etc.) to create the most benefit during a massage stroke. If I wanted to teach you a lesson about letting your therapist choose the best tool and pressure, I could use an elbow on your hamstring and make you want to crawl off the table.
Now mind you, I won’t do those things, because when you’re on my table, you are my responsibility and I want you to leave happy and with less pain. Also, this type of statement doesn’t actually help me give you the massage you want.
Maybe you can take a lot of pressure in your back, but not much on your legs. Communicate throughout the massage if I’m not giving the pressure you want. Try saying “I could use a little more pressure in that area”. And if I ask if you need more, don’t hesitate to be honest. I’m asking because I really want to know.
Lastly, a seasoned, well-educated therapist knows how to read your body language and the reaction of your muscles to adjust pressure accordingly. I rarely have to ask about pressure. But this doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t ask for deeper pressure if that feels better. Try to trust your therapist to do their job correctly, though, and not cause you unnecessary discomfort.
- Stop thinking massage has to hurt to be beneficial.
Some people need deep tissue work. Some people need their nervous system calmed. Some people just need an hour of quiet with someone else taking care of them. Honour yourself and your body. It’s not a competition for who can “handle the most pain”.
- Choose your therapist carefully if possible.
I know that sometimes you’re on vacation and want a massage and you don’t care who does it. But if you can, find out what your therapist specializes in and choose them based on that. Not gender. Not how nice the place looks. Not how kind their voice is, what shape they are in, what age they are.
Ask what they feel their strengths are and decide if that’s a good fit for you. This is especially important if you’re trying to get regular massage and see some progress on your pain and tension levels. Speaking of regular work…
- Get regular massages.
Or at least do things that will ease your aches and pains, like stretching. If you want the most bang for your buck, it helps if I’m not working on 40 years of built-up stuff. It is impossible to work out that much tension or an injury in an hour.
- Come in already hydrated.
This doesn’t mean chug a liter of water in the 10 minutes before your massage or you’re going to get mighty uncomfortable about halfway through it. You should be drinking around a gallon of water a day (yes, a gallon). Do that for the few days before and after your massage and you will feel less achy and your muscles will respond better to the massage.
- Take a shower or at least clean your feet.
Wanna make your therapist happy? Don’t come in after a workout or hiking or hot yoga without showering first. I’ll still work on you and I’ll do it with a smile, but ewww. If you’ve been out exploring the town in sandals on a warm summer day, take a moment to wipe your feet down.
- Keep in mind that I am not a counselor.
Here’s the deal — you’re in an intimate situation with another person. Sometimes that person is a stranger and you feel you have nothing to lose in sharing the intimate details of your life. Sometimes that person is your regular therapist and you feel you can trust them. I don’t mind listening. I really don’t. I’m glad you trust me.
But I can’t give you advice — it oversteps the bounds of my profession. And the deeper the conversation, the more likely I am to focus on that instead of getting your muscles to release.
- Don’t help me move your arm, head, etc.
Usually, this makes my job harder. If you’re holding your head up, your neck muscles are tensed and I can’t work on them.
If you swing your arm or leg out from under the sheet as I go to undrape you, you risk exposing yourself. And neither of us wants that.
- Stop worrying about your cellulite, scars, unshaved legs, bony back, etc.
For real. I don’t care about or even really notice them. While you’re on the massage table, I am focused only on your muscles and fascia. I don’t care what’s on top of them. So stop apologizing for those stretch marks and hairy legs. They are part of who you are and therefore they are exactly what they should be.
- The correct term is “massage therapist” not “masseuse”.
It’s just more professional.
- Don’t drink booze before or after.
You’ll feel like crap. It could also affect blood sugar and pressure, causing you to pass out or vomit. Please don’t make me have to use my first aid training.
- Show up early or at least don’t be late.
Most places have a policy that your 60 minutes start at the begin time of your session.
If you aren’t there, I can’t get started on time and you miss out on precious therapeutic touch. Since someone is probably booked right after you, I don’t even have the option to go over. This goes for talking and talking before I can leave the room for you to get undressed. Every minute you spend talking before we get started is a minute you don’t get massaged.
- Don’t bully, talk-down, tell me what to do, etc.
I’m a professional, an expert in my field. I have years of training and experience.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have preferences and that you shouldn’t express those.
I want to know if you love having your feet rubbed or prefer music with no words or want an extra blanket. But please don’t tell me at the beginning of my opening strokes that you’re going to need more pressure. I have to warm up your tissue and apply oil before I can start digging in. And if there is something your old therapist did that you liked, definitely share that. But don’t waste 10 minutes of your massage trying to get me to replicate that — every therapist is unique and will have their own way of working your muscles.
Also, treating me like a servant doesn’t exactly inspire me to treat you with empathy. It makes me feel bad and who wants a massage from someone who is feeling bad?
- Don’t bring up politics, religion, or controversial topics.
Please, please don’t put me in this position. Part of what you’re paying for is my attention and empathy.
If I don’t agree with you, I won’t tell you. I’ll just be quiet and feel uncomfortable and awkward for the remainder of our time. And if I do agree with you, I’m likely to ride your wave of emotion and get all riled up and lose focus. There is enough of this in the world already — I have to deal with it at family reunions, at BBQs, on social media. So do you. So give us both a break and let’s just enjoy the quiet, healing time together.
- Book in advance.
Walk-ins and last minute bookings are fine, they help me fill the gaps in my days. But I appreciate knowing what my day will look like before I start it. So book in advance if you can.Book An Appointment
After you maintain a regular schedule of massage therapy, you`ll notice dramatic differences in many aspects of your life such as having more restful sleep, increased energy throughout your day, and decreased tension.