Maybe it is your first massage, and you are just not sure what to expect. Here are some tips for the Massage newbie or anyone who may not be sure about protocol.
Before the Massage
Meals – Avoid eating a full meal for at least an hour before a having a massage. Digestion uses energy, it takes work! And the reason you come in is to relax. Digestion can make being massaged a bit uncomfortable.
Punctuality – Be on time to your appointment. It’s counter productive to arrive frazzled and stressed. Be as relaxed as possible to enjoy the benefits of the session. As a general rule, if you are late it may cut into your session time out of consideration for clients scheduled after you.
At the SAC, most members arrive early and shower or steam before a session to be relaxed and warmed up.
Leave your clothes and personal items in your locker and come in wearing a towel. This way you can quickly hop on the table and your bodywork session can begin right away.
After the Massage
Hydration – Drink extra water after your massage. This helps to flush toxins. The cells in your body release wastes from chemicals in your environment, food additives, and other matter your body cannot use (metabolic waste). Massage manually pushes waste out of soft tissue. Hydrating your body allows for more efficient removal of these toxins.
Getting off the table – Don’t get off the table too fast, fluids in your body have been moved and changing positions too quickly could make you dizzy. Take your time, and let your therapist know if you think you’ll need help sitting up or maneuvering.
Post Massage soreness/discomfort – Post massage fatigue or malaise is possible after an intense massage, due to over stimulation of the nervous system. Remembering to hydrate and relax will help to address this. Soreness as if you had an intense workout one to two days after deep tissue massage is normal. An epsom salt bath or soak in a hot tub can ease the discomfort.
Pain during massage – Some pain can be expected for knots and tension, but it should be a “good hurt.” Always communicate any pain to your therapist to make adjustments. Let your therapist know if you bruise easily or if something is too intense or uncomfortable during the massage.
Breathing – Remember to relax and breathe normally. Breathing helps to facilitate relaxation. Some clients stop or limit their breathing when a sensitive area is massaged. As long as the pain is not too much, breathe deeply through it and allow the therapist to work and for the muscles to give in and relax.
Discomfort – During the massage always notify the therapist of any discomfort. This can be from the massage or the environment like room temperature, level of music or lighting. Please ask about anything you are unsure of. We want you to have a relaxing, pleasant experience!
Assumptions – If unsure always ask, and state what you expect. Assumptions can create awkward situations. It’s not fair to assume that if your therapist is really skilled or intuitive that he or she will immediately know your problems areas. Just communicate what’s going on. We want to know what’s bringing you in for bodywork so we can focus on what you want to accomplish in your session and the areas where you want attention.
Multiple Sessions necessary? Massage really has great benefits over time as its benefits are cumulative. The more massages you get, the better you will feel in general. If you suffer chronic patterns of stress and muscular tension, or if you are recovering from a soft tissue injury, it may take more than one session to get you back in order. Regular maintenance massage or a few sessions scheduled closer together increases long-term benefits, especially if you have chronic tension. Your therapist can make suggestions about frequency and number of sessions and advise on lifestyle practices to help you at home. (ie exercises or stretching to complement your bodywork session)
Massage Duration- One hour (55min) is often enough time to address 2-3 trouble spots on the body. However, if you are a larger person or have several areas of discomfort and still want time for a full-body experience or that extra time on your feet or neck, 85min or the luxurious 115min session are best.
Keep in mind that in a 25 min session your therapist may not be able to address all your problem areas. These shorter sessions work better if you just need a quick decompression of stress or perhaps have one or two specific areas of concern. For example: If you are getting ready for a long bike ride and want a quick work-over of your legs and hips to warm things up, 25 min is great. However, don’t let lack of time keep you from coming in. Half an hour of expert attention is better than no attention at all.
The massage team here at the SAC is experienced and skilled in a variety of techniques. Take a moment to read our photo bios outside the locker rooms. And if you see one of us walking around or in the lobby with the massage chair, we are always happy to answer questions and be of service in any way!