So your friends and coworkers have been talking about how great massage is, and you’ve decided to try it out for yourself. Or maybe a loved one got you a gift certificate and you feel obligated to use it. Maybe you’ve been having a lot of pain and nothing seems to be working, so you figure, why not give massage a chance?
No matter your reason for trying massage,I’m glad you are here. You are about to experience complete relaxation and the multitude of health benefits massage can bring.
But I get it, getting your first massage can be a little nerve wrecking. You aren’t sure what to expect and you’re about to be in a room, partially naked, with a complete stranger.
I hope this guide gives you an idea of what to expect and eases any worries you might have, so you can completely relax and enjoy the experience.
I’m sure after your first session, you’ll be hooked.
Before you are taken back for your massage, you will fill out an intake form asking you about any health conditions you might have and what you are looking for from the session - are you looking for relaxation, pain relief, increased athletic performance? At my practice, this form is emailed to you before your session so you can fill it out online at your leisure, but if you do not have access to the online form, or simply forget, there is a paper version you can fill out upon arrival.
Please fill out the form completely; if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask. This makes the therapist aware of any health conditions you may have, and the session can be modified if needed.
After you fill out your intake form, you will be taken back to the massage room where your therapist will ask you questions about how your body is feeling, if there are any specific areas you want to focus on, and what your goals for the session are. After you talk for a bit, the therapist will leave the room so you can undress.
Once the therapist has left the room, you should undress to your level of comfort - this is different for everybody. Remember: You will be draped at all times! The therapist only uncovers the area they are currently working on. If there is anywhere you don’t want touched, let them know and they can easily skip it. Some people want to leave their underwear on, some take it off. It makes no difference to the therapist, it is whatever you are comfortable with. You will then get on the table (your therapist will instruct you on whether to start face up or face down) underneath the sheets. Your therapist will be back in a few moments.
After a few minutes, your therapist will knock on the door and make sure you are ready before they enter. They should check on your comfort level throughout the session - don’t be afraid to speak up if anything feels uncomfortable on the table, whether it’s the temperature of the heating pad or the angle of your neck on the face cradle.
Now all you have to do is take deep breaths and relax. Your therapist will do all the work. Again, if the pressure is ever too much or you want more time in a specific area you forgot to mention earlier, please speak up! Your therapist won’t be offended, their job is to make you comfortable. This is your time and your session.
I know it can be difficult, especially during your first session, to quiet your mind. It helps to focus on your breath. For the next hour or so, you have nothing you have to think or worry about, take this time for you.
When the session is over, your therapist will provide you with instructions before they leave the room. Once they have left, I recommend taking a few moments to yourself, before getting up and getting dressed. It isn’t a race to get up and out - feel free to take your time. You may also experience some lightheadedness, remember to get up slowly.
If you have any questions about your session, feel free to ask your therapist once they reenter the room. They may also give you tips on stretches or other things you can do at home to maintain the results from the session. On average people come once a month for “maintenance massage”, but it really depends on the individual, where their body is at, and what their goals are for massage. Your therapist can go over what they feel an effective treatment plan would be.
For the rest of the day make sure to drink plenty of water. There is a lot of debate on whether or not water can really “flush out” toxins; regardless, it is important to stay hydrated. If you received a deep tissue massage it is not uncommon to feel a little sore (similar to after a good workout), this should go away in a couple of days and you will be feeling brand new!