Having been officially back in practice for over a year now, I’ve been reminded there are still many people out there who have a) still never received a massage in their life and b) may receive massage, but still aren’t getting the most out of their sessions. So, I’ve felt compelled to jot down a few pointers for new clients and those who would like additional guidance on the subject.
According to the APA, stress is up. Most American’s are suffering from moderate to high stress. In fact, 49 percent of survey respondents cite fear about money, work and the economy are majors sources of stress. This, combined with the fact that while 54 percent of Americans agree physical activity is important, only 27 percent of them are happy with their own level of exercise and self care.
As a collective society, our priorities are a little upside down. We cannot take care of our families, careers and communities if we don’t first take care of ourselves. If you are beginning your self-care journey or currently wandering down that path, here are some quick and easy tips for getting the most out of your massage sessions.
- Complete new client intake form thoroughly. After scheduling your first appointment with me, you’ll receive a link to an online questionnaire via email; please provide thorough answers so I can better understand your needs.
- Arrive at least five minutes before your appointment start time. This enables us to take time to review your health history and any areas of concern.
- Review this general massage session overview from the American Massage Therapy Association.
- Enjoy the silence. During session, I don’t carry a conversation unless speaking to me helps you relax. I may ask you once or twice if the pressure is at the right level for you and if you are comfortable, but that’s it.
- Focus on your breath. Practice breathing in to the count of four and out to the count of eight, through your nose.
- Use visualization to help your body dissolve pain and stress. As you inhale, imagine a bright glowing white gold light. This light is coming into your body through your feet and finding it’s way up your legs and torso, out of your arms and the top of your head. As you exhale, see the stress and pain leaving your body out of your fingertips and the top of your head, being replaced by the healing light of your inhale. Attach a dark color to this stress and pain to help you visualize it dissolving and escaping your body.
- Become aware of holding on and intentionally let go. When you find yourself resisting or contracting muscles or trying to help me hold up your body in the area I’m working, become aware. Sometimes it helps to physically tighten the area and relax it to demonstrate the act of relaxing or letting go. When I notice this is what you’re doing, I’ll gently help you to maintain your body awareness.
- Take your time and get up slowly after the session. I personally like to get into the yogic Child’s Pose on the table before getting up. This helps stretch the low back and prepares the body for standing up.
- Provide usable feedback. Let me know what you liked and what you didn’t like after your session. Sometimes it takes up to three sessions to really get comfortable receiving a massage. Sometimes, it also takes a few sessions for me to get to know what you like best. Not all therapist/client relationships are a perfect match, but the more productive our communication is, the better our chances of success.
- Drink lots of water after your massage session. A standard rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it in half; that’s the number of ounces of water you need to be drinking every day. The water helps carry the toxins and excess lactic acid out of your system that we just released from your soft tissue.
- Take an epsom salt bath or visit Theta Float Spa soon after your session. Magnesium has many health benefits, especially after receiving a massage.