Common Questions From Client New To Massage
It might be hard to imagine someone doesn't know the very basics of massage, but here are a few questions and answers to help educate clients who have never experienced a professional therapeutic massage. I've included my other two specialties, Reflexology and Fertility Massage for comparison, and the draping references are according to New York State laws.
Are There Different Kinds of Massage and Bodywork?
There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic kneading and rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more.
Must I Be Completely Undressed?
Massage: Traditionally performed with the client fully undressed and under a sheet or towel. You will be properly draped during the entire session!
Reflexology: You remain clothed, preferably in comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
What Parts of My Body Will Be Massaged?
Massage: A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, shoulders, glutes (buttocks), adductors (inner thighs).
Reflexology: is either done on the feet, hands, ears, or combination of the three.
Fertility Massage: is done on the entire abdominal area from the pubic bone to the chest will be massaged as well as your inguinal lymphatics (groin), sacral area (lower back) and gluteals (buttocks). NOT a sexual service in any way.
What Will the Massage or Bodywork Feel Like?
Massage: Your session may start with broad strokes that help to calm your nervous system, relax exterior muscle tension, and warm the tissues. 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. Massage is most effective when your body is not resisting.
Reflexology: The pressure points should feel comfortable, although there may be areas of tension you weren't aware of before the session started. This is common. As little crystals of waste products are broken up during the session you may feel a rush of warmth or a pleasant sensation in another area of the body. This is a good sign that any blockages are being released so your body can return to homeostasis.
Fertility Massage: The abdominal core or solar plexus area can hold a lot of tension that we aren't necessarily conscious of. Additionally, the pelvis and/or uterus can shift due to injury or repetitive stress. Releasing these areas can be intense, but should never 'hurt' and if you are uncomfortable you should stop the session immediately.
What Should I Do During the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Prior to the massage, feel free to ask any questions about the upcoming session. During the massage, make yourself comfortable. Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, different music, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask.
How Will I Feel After a Massage or Reflexology 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 waste is released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.
Should I Be Sore After A Massage?
Some people think soreness is the only way to know a massage "worked". Not true! If you are new to massage, or it has been a long while since you received a massage, you may very well be a little sore the next day, just as you would be if you worked out muscles you hadn't used in a long time. But you shouldn't look to feel pain either during or after a session as an indicator of how good the massage is.
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, you provide an update on any medical/health concerns or medications. 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. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may actually be required prior to the session.
List of Contraindicated Conditions
* Bone fractures or acute soft tissue injuries: wait for full healing (6 weeks - 3 months)
* Hodgkin's disease (cancer of lymph system)
* Inflammatory conditions (includes such things as tendonitis and bursitis; contraindicated during acute stages; work peripheral to site possible when inflammation has subsided)
* Infectious conditions (with exceptions, like HIV: get medical supervision)
* Osteoporosis (Stage 3 or 4)
* Phlebitis: same risk as for 'embolism or thrombus'
* Recent scar tissue (including regular or plastic surgeries): no work on this area until scarring process is complete (MINIMUM 6 weeks).
Conditions requiring caution and/or doctor's note
* Autoimmune diseases - No massage on acutely inflamed tissues.
a) Lupus - attacks the connective tissue mainly in the skin, kidneys, joints and heart. Contraindicated during acute flares.
b) Rheumatoid arthritis - immune system attacks the joints, and its associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels; contraindicated during inflammatory stage.
c) Scleroderma ("hardened skin") - a buildup of collagen fibers around organs Contraindicated during inflammatory phase.
d) Ankylosing spondylitis - inflammation of tissues around the spine causing the connective tissues of the sacrum and spine to solidify. No massage on areas of pain and inflammation in acute episodes.
* Mental issues such as bi-polar, BPD: massage could increase the amplitude of the extreme mood-swings.
* Cerebral Palsy: in mild and moderate cases massage is helpful; in serious cases it may aggravate the condition.
* Cancer: Note from doctor highly suggested since the type of cancer, length, phase of treatment, period of remission, post-op, etc. are all very different scenarios.
* Diabetes: Be careful about tissue condition and loss of sensation. Don't do deep work on area of recent insulin injection: could accelerate Insulin uptake.
* Embolism or Thrombus: No massage.
* Herpes (and other infectious skin conditions, including warts): No contact with infected areas.
* Extreme Hypertension: No massage, as it raises blood pressure.
* Impaired elimination systems: Massage with caution with colostomies, Candida, kidney, liver issues or with a diabetic pump.
* I.U.D.: No abdominal massage as an I.U.D may become displaced, possibly leading to complications.
* Menstruation: No abdominal massage.
* Pain medication: Reduced sensation raises the possibility of tissue or nerve damage.
* Varicose veins
* Whiplash: If recent or inflamed, it might get worse.