Your Questions, Answered
WHAT WILL MY FIRST SESSION BE LIKE?
Your first session will begin with a brief review of your health history, focusing on problematic or painful areas. This is an important process to determine the course of treatment that will best meet your needs. It is important to list all health concerns and medications so that I can adapt the session to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so I can decide if I need to use a different oil or lotion during the session.
Once we agree on the treatment plan, I will leave the room so that you can undress to your comfort level. I will return once you are on the table and covered with a sheet. Only the area being worked will be uncovered so that you feel safe, warm, and unexposed. At the end of the massage, I will leave the room so that you can get dressed in privacy. I will check in with you at the conclusion of your appointment so that you have time to share your thoughts and effects of the treatment.
DO I HAVE TO BE COMPLETELY UNDRESSED?
You should undress to the level you are comfortable. For a full body massage, most people get completely undressed. However, if you will be more comfortable during the session if you leave your underwear on, that's fine too. If removing all your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, then you are not getting the optimal benefit from the session. I will work around the clothes you left on as best as I can.
DO I HAVE TO COVER MYSELF WITH A SHEET OR A TOWEL?
This is known as draping and it is regulated by the Oregon State Board of Massage. You will be modestly draped throughout the massage session. Once you are undressed and on the table under the drape, I will only uncover the part of your body being worked on. Breasts, genitals, and gluteal cleft will always be draped and these areas will not be massaged under any circumstances. If work is desired on a woman's abdomen, a second towel or sheet will be used to cover the breasts so the main sheet or towel can be moved to expose the abdomen.
DO YOU HELP MANAGE TERMINAL OR CHRONIC CONDITIONS?
Although massage is not a suitable substitute for professional medical care, it can be a powerful complimentary tool to help manage symptoms of chronic and terminal health conditions. Some clients find that pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances that often come with a medical diagnosis can be improved by incorporating massage therapy into their wellness plan.
That being said, every individual has a unique set of health circumstances, so I advise that you consult with a health professional about your decision to seek massage therapy services, especially if you are being treated for an existing health condition. In some cases, you may be asked to provide a written release from your primary care physician in order to receive massage.
WILL THE MASSAGE HURT?
This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light, relaxing massage that doesn't probe very deeply into the muscles, shouldn't hurt. With that being said, there is a “feels good” hurt and an “ouch, stop it” hurt. A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should always stay in the “feels good” hurt range. Pain in the “ouch, stop it” range indicates pressure should be adjusted to avoid damage to the tissues. Also, pain can cause you to tighten up and be counterproductive to the relaxing and beneficial effects of the massage. The most effective massage always works with your body's natural response, not against it. I encourage you to speak up about your comfort level throughout the massage so that I can adjust accordingly.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET MASSAGE?
This varies from person to person. If you are looking for some occasional relaxation and stress management, then a session every 3-6 weeks may work well for you. However, if you are looking to address a specific condition, then it is recommended to go more frequently at first and then slowly taper down to a maintenance schedule. Frequency of sessions can be more specifically discussed after your first treatment. This ensures that I obtain a better understanding of your personal massage goals and that I have a chance to assess your particular muscular issues with hands-on work.
HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER MY MASSAGE?
Most people feel very relaxed after receiving massage. Some people experience a significant decrease or freedom from chronic aches and pains. Many feel a little slowed down for a short period of time and then notice an increase of energy, heightened awareness, enhanced mood and increased productivity which can last for days.
If you received a deep tissue massage, you may be slightly sore the next day - much like a good workout at the gym. Sometimes a hot shower, or a soak in the tub can help ease this soreness.
After your session you should increase your water intake. Just a glass or two more than normal is usually fine. This helps keep your body's tissues hydrated and healthy and may prevent some soreness that you might experience the next day.
WHEN SHOULD I NOT GET MASSAGE?
There are few conditions which would prevent you from receiving a massage treatment. You should not book a massage if you have a fever, have cold/flu like symptoms, or have a contagious skin condition.
There are many conditions that may require an adaptation in massage techniques (i.e. arthritis, osteoporosis, pregnancy, etc.) or an area of the body may need to be avoided completely (i.e. cuts, burns, rashes, severe varicose veins, etc.). With some conditions, it is a good idea to get an approval from your primary care physician before you receive massage (i.e. cancer, certain heart conditions, pregnancy, etc.). It is always better to err on the side of caution so that a safe treatment plan can be developed.