Decrease Your Pain
While Increasing Your Quality of Life
With Massage Therapy
by Susan Walker, LMT 104431
Everyone has questions about massage therapy. This page is complied of questions asked by clients. More information on massage can be found on the blog page or throughout the site.
Am I supposed to tip my massage therapist?
Tipping is optional yet the industry standard is 15% to 20% of the service fee. If you're unsure just ask if tipping is acceptable. In my practice it is appreciated and gladly accepted. You can always show your appreciation instead by referring your friends, family and co-workers or booking another session.
Do you provide draping? Is Draping optional?
Draping (sheet or towels) will always be used. A updated mandate required by the state says that I must provide this disclaimer: "draping will be used during the session." Exceptions for non draping will be for modalities such as lymphatic drainage, craniosacral and sports massage. Shorts for men and a sports bra and shorts for women are suitable instead of a drape. Craniosacral Therapy clients will be fully clothed.
Keep in mind my massage is professional in nature and inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.
Am I supposed to take off my underwear when I get a massage?
No. Some people prefer to keep their undergarments on during a massage session, while others prefer to be nude underneath the drape. It's entirely up to you. Draping is required and will always be provided to you. If you have problems with your lower back, hips or buttocks underwear can become obstructive and can gets in the way of applying proper strokes. If you feel uncomfortable removing your undergarments, you can keep them on.
Should I talk to the massage therapist during the massage?
Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, it's optional. Feel free to close your eyes and relax. You can also take a nice nap as well. Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require a more little more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will ask from time to time if the pressure is comfortable. If you opted for a sports or myosketal work I will instruct you on stretching and movement. I will not initiate conversation unless you choose to talk during your session or if you ask me a question.
When should I make my next appointment?
That is entirely up to you. For stress related issued I recommend bi-weekly or once a month. For deep tissue or trigger point therapy that will vary. It all depends on how much adhesion's, scar tissue and trigger points you may have. Due to muscle memory, muscles may revert back to old patterns causing pain and discomfort from a few days to several weeks after a session. This applies if the client goes back to strenuous activities, does not pay attention to posture, has awkward sleep patterns and many other factors are involved as well. To avoid this, I recommend that you do come in weekly until the negative pattern is broken up. That can take anywhere from 2-10 sessions. Once the pattern is broken, a monthly massage should be sufficient to maintain your muscles.
Never wait until the pain gets severe again. If you do the muscles will revert back to the old, negative pattern and we will have to go back to square one again.
During your session speak up if:
The room is too hot or too cold.
You experience severe pain.
You have any questions related to the massage.
There is anything you forgot to mention during the consultation.
If you have sensitivity to essential oils or scents.
Communication is essential in receiving a massage. if you have any concerns, please express them before, during or after the massage session.
How do I convey to the therapist that the pressure isn't deep enough?
Communicate with me. The therapist will never take offense if you request more pressure. As stated the therapist will adjust the pressure and technique to your comfort level. I go as deep as the muscles tell me to go. If I go any deeper or force the muscles to comply, I could cause bruising or injury to you.
Does a massage have to hurt to be effective?
It's a myth that massage has to hurt to be effective. Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. For example lymphatic drainage focuses on the the lymphatic system. Gentle, slow and concise strokes are used to drain the lymphatic channels. Too much pressure will temporarily "smash" the lymph nods down canceling out the purpose of the drainage.
Too much pressure can cause stress to muscles and they can become tense. Communication is essential to a massage. The therapist should also be paying attention to breathing patterns, slight movement and occasionally ask if pressure is fine.
If it is not a good kind of pain, tell the therapist. Just remember this quick hint: on a scale of one to 10 (where 1 is no pain and 10 is extremely painful) the pressure should always be less than seven.
Sometimes pain is unavoidable, especially if a client has severe scar tissue, adhesion's that are underneath the deep underbelly of the muscle, trigger points, or hypersensitivity to touch. As always I ask if the pressure is comfortable and try to be as gentle as possible in these circumstances.
You know your own body. No one else can tell you that something doesn't hurt. If something hurts, tell me. I can work out the trigger point if requested or I can use other methods.
"I have self image issues. I am nervous about receving a massage because..."
I have acne
My feet are calloused
I have stretch marks or scars
Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking necessary health care, especially when it's visiting a massage therapist. If you're self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area.
You may choose for a therapy that is done through clothing, such as shiatsu, energy work or lymphatic drainage. No massage lotion is used so you may remain fully clothed during the session.
Do I need to take a shower before I come in for a massage?
If you do any type of construction, outside work or exercise you will need to take a shower before seeing a me. Debris such as dirt clings to the skin and may scratch you when massage strokes are applied. A hot bath or shower will open up pores, relax and help loosen the fascia and muscles. Exfoliating the skin with a cotton washcloth, loofah or agate cloth will help increase circulation while removing dead skin cells. I have no shower facilities at my office so you will need to take one before seeing me.
I’m a bit embarrassed but I haven’t shaved my legs. Is it OK to still schedule my appointment for a massage?
As I always stress never allow hair stubble (hairy legs) deter you from getting your regular massage maintenance. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me if you shave or not. By not shaving your legs it will never take away from the quality of your massage session.
May I have a hug?
It’s perfectly all right to ask for a hug and I am more than happy to give you one. A hug is a form of appreciation. Some clients will ask for one after receiving a massage when they have been in pain for quiet sometime.
I have never been offended nor uncomfortable when someone has asked for a hug. I do not believe that it will lead to transference or a inappropriate relationship. A hug is a form of compassion. Being compassionate is only human. I feel we all need to give and receive more compassion. As humans we need touch that is soothing and comforting. Touch decreases stress and helps to lower blood pressure. By hugging it does release chemicals such as Oxytocin and endorphin’s that can assist in healing the body faster.
Best of all hugs are free and feel good when you receive one. It makes your day better. You are more than welcome to ask for one.
No two therapist are alike. Any therapist you may go to will have different ways they perform massage. How a MT is trained is a important factor that goes into how they perform the massage. Not all therapist will have the same training and may specialize in a certain technique. Make sure you ask what they specialize in if you are seeking a particular massage. Most therapist's will give an explanation what they do and will address your concerns.
I would advise that if you are new to massage therapy that you search the web for more information. There is plenty of reading material on the web to get you started.
Massage therapy is not a substitution for medical treatment. The massage therapist cannot diagnose, treat or prevent disease. The therapist can only recommend products and services. Please consult a medical physician.