How to Receive a Therapeutic Massage
Because massage has not yet become a common part of our contemporary cultural experience, many people feel uneasy about receiving their first massage. Here are a few guidelines to help you feel at ease and to gain the greatest benefit from your massage therapy session.
Tell the massage therapist about areas of your body which are injured, tense or sore. Also mention any medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, chronic headaches, varicose veins or recent surgery.
Close your eyes and allow yourself to relax as completely as possible. Focus your attention on your breathing, which should be slow, deep and even. When the therapist locates areas of pain or tension in the body, consciously try to relax those areas. As you inhale deeply, visualize the breath flowing to the tense area and relaxing it. As you fully exhale, visualize the tension leaving the body with the breath.
Conversation can be distracting to you and the therapist. Good massage requires concentration on the part of the massage therapist. Please confine your conversation to feedback about the massage.
Allow the therapist to move your limbs into various positions. Be limp, like a rag doll, and do not try to help move your arms, legs or head. The therapist is a trained professional who will not do anything to hurt you. However, feel free to speak up if anything the therapist does is too painful or ticklish, or uncomfortable in any way.
The best way to receive a massage is with the body unclothed, but you can leave your underwear/bra on. The therapist is sensitive to the need for privacy and will keep your body covered with a sheet or blanket, except for the area being massaged.
Contrary to a common notion in our society about massage, it is an ancient healing art and not a sexual service. The body might become aroused as you experience the pleasure of total relaxation. However, sexual behavior during the massage is inappropriate and will result in termination of the session.
Very often, as the body releases tension during a massage, the mind will release emotion. If you suddenly feel sad, angry or joyful, do not be alarmed. Allow yourself to express these feelings by crying or laughing. At the very least, feel free to sigh with relaxation or hum with pleasure. Many people fall asleep during a massage, an indication that the body and mind are releasing stress and tension. The therapist will gently wake you when it is time to turn over or end the massage.
It is common for those who have a lot of tension or pressure points in their muscles may experience soreness in areas that were massaged. The best way to deal with post-massage soreness is to drink lots of water both before and after the massage. This allows the muscles to flush out toxins built up in the muscles. Avoid consuming alcohol the day before and after a deep tissue massage. Application of an ice pack to the sore area will decrease soreness and inflammation.
We hope that your massage is both enjoyable and beneficial, and that this experience will be the beginning of a lifelong wellness practice to help you enjoy the best possible health and relaxation.