So, you've searched the internet, found a professional massage therapist and booked a session. Great!
Here are 5 Do's and 5 Don'ts for enhancing your before-, during-, and after-massage therapy, session.
1. Do arrive 10 minutes ahead of session time. Arrive early and use the time to decompress from pre-session activities, particularly if it's been a hectic day. Think about what you need and how the massage therapist can help you during the session.
2. Do communicate your massage therapy needs. Let the therapist know why you booked the session in the first place. During the session, it's perfectly OK to request adjustments to the office environment i.e. music selection, music volume, table temperature etc. Also, if you have allergies to specific lotion ingredients tell the therapist ahead of time, preferably when you book the session.
3. Do be yourself on the massage table. Take a mindful meditative approach to the massage process. Or, totally zone out during the session. Or, a combination of both. It's your session, and it's all good.
4. Do have good hygiene. Reasonable hygiene makes the therapist's work safer and easier and translates into a better massage therapy session for you. Arriving lathered in workout sweat or covered in fiberglass fibers after insulating the attic is not a suitable look. (Yes, I've experienced both scenarios)
5. Do take time after the session to compare your "before session" self and "after session" self. What do you notice? Feeling more restful? Greater range of motion? Need another session? It's useful information to have, increases body awareness, creates a mindful moment and likely confirms why you booked the session in the first place.
1. Don't over-hydrate. Yes, hydrating throughout the day is important , but time your fluid intake to avoid a bathroom trip during the session. Pay for massage therapy time, not bathroom time.
2. Don't over-caffeinate. Caffeine and the intent of massage therapy are often at odds with each other. On massage therapy day, time your cup of coffee several hours before the session, or wait a few hours if a post-session cup is needed. Better yet, designate massage day as a caffeine free day (that's a tough one, i know)
3. Don't chitchat the session away. Verbalizing a sensation, emotion, or memory that gets stirred up during the session is useful information for the therapist. Light banter with the therapist, sprinkled throughout the session is ok, too. Avoid 60-90 minutes of continuous chitchat with the therapist. It can be distracting for the therapist and likely defeating of your goals.
4. Don't discuss sex. For the sake of building a therapeutic and trusting relationship with the massage therapist keep any intimate thoughts to yourself. Professional massage therapists , unfortunately, need to continuously distinguish themselves from the sex industry. Professional conduct, training and licensure are part of the distinction. Be respectful.
5. Don't work out after a massage. Receiving massage is actually a lot of information for your mind and body to absorb, process and acclimate. Savor the session, allow the massage work to sink in, and your muscles to relax and recover. Resume working out another day.
Keep these simple do's and dont's in mind and maximize the benefits of your next massage therapy session.
Thanks for reading, and see you on the massage table!
Tom Perron LMT
Common Sense Massage
366 Massachusetts Ave, Suite #304
Arlington, MA 02474