If you’ve never had a massage before, you may not know exactly what is and is not okay. TV shows and movies give you an idea of what massages are like, but they don’t always indicate guidelines to follow. You want to feel safe and comfortable during your massage and you want to ensure that you are being considerate to your massage therapist.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful guidelines to follow for your first massage therapy appointment. If you ever have specific questions, it’s a good idea to talk to your massage clinic about specific guidelines they have for their patients.
First Massage Guidelines
Undress To Your Comfort Level
This can be nude, with underwear, or in loose, comfy clothing. If you are uncomfortable undressing for a massage, you can ask about the type of clothing that you can wear or the types of massages available to you. Your massage therapist will likely be able to adapt the massage to your preferences.
Massage therapists will only ask you to remove whatever is necessary and they will only uncover the area that they are working on. When they move on, they will cover that area up, so that you are covered throughout the massage.
The massage therapist leaves the room to allow you to undress in private and has you lie down on the massage table under the sheet. You don’t need to worry about your massage therapist walking in on you, as they will knock and ask if you are ready before entering the room.
Don’t Worry About Your Body
In your first massage, you may be especially uncomfortable, but don’t worry! While it’s unfortunately the norm to feel uncomfortable in your body and like something about it has to change, your massage therapist won’t judge. They see hundreds of bodies in all sorts of different conditions. They won’t care about scars or weight or body hair. Just ensure your body is clean and you will be fine.
Practice Personal Hygiene
One of the most important guidelines for your first massage is personal hygiene. Shower before the massage. In the morning before you come is good. Personal hygiene is important for all. Don’t head to the massage right after a workout until you have scheduled a sports massage. Your massage therapist may refuse service if you are unhygienic.
This means showering beforehand, not eating an hour beforehand (this is because massage could cause you to pass gas if you eat too soon beforehand), arriving 5-10 minutes early, and ensuring that you have a tip for your therapist. Don’t worry about dressing nicely or making an effort with your appearance, as makeup can smudge, perfume can be overpowering, and jewelry can get in the way.
Be Open About Your Health Conditions
Do be open about your health conditions. Different massages are good for different things. Massage impacts all body systems. Your massage therapist needs to know if you have injuries or health concerns in order to provide you with the best service possible and to avoid hurting you.
Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up
Speak up! Massages are supposed to be comfortable. If the pressure is too light, it may not do anything or it may be uncomfortably ticklish. If you know that you are ticklish, letting your therapist know this ahead of time can help them apply enough pressure so that this shouldn’t be a problem. If the pressure is too much, it could hurt.
Let your therapist know if you don’t like the temperature, the pressure, a certain technique, etc. be aware that if you are recovering from an injury or have tightness, some parts of the massage could cause some temporary discomfort as those areas are worked. It’s also perfectly normal to need to take a break to go to the restroom or to get a drink of water.
Don’t Feel Like You Have To Talk
Don’t feel like you have to talk. While some people like making casual conversation during a massage, others prefer silence. Don’t be afraid to tell your massage therapist that you would prefer to be silent during the massage.
Avoid Inappropriate Topics
This is a professional space and should be treated as such. You especially want to avoid any sexual comments, such as about a happy ending. This can get you banned from the practice. You also want to avoid talking about politics or religion.
Respect That This Is A Professional Relationship
Respect that this is a professional relationship. And not one involving more than a massage. It’s natural to moan if something feels good, but if you are making a lot of noise, trying to touch your therapist, undressing in front of them, making suggestive comments, and the like, this is crossing boundaries.
Your therapist may refuse service or end the session early if boundaries are crossed. Massage therapists have the right to discontinue working on a client, refuse service, and even ban clients depending on their behavior.
The same goes for you. If you feel like the massage therapist is crossing boundaries, you can end the session early and not see them again.
You can also request a male or a female therapist. For some people, they do not care about the gender of their massage therapists, but others may feel uncomfortable for one reason or another. If you feel uncomfortable having someone of the opposite sex give you a massage, you can ask for a massage therapist of your sex. Massages are not sexual, but you could still be uncomfortable.
Conversely, you may feel comfortable having someone that is of the same sex as you as your massage therapist. Whatever your reservations are, ensure that the massage clinic knows so that they can schedule you with a therapist you are more inclined to feel comfortable with.
Stay Still – It’s Ok If You Fall Asleep!
Stay as still as you can. Breathe, relax, and let your therapist know if something is bothering you. It is not rude to fall asleep during a massage, in fact, it can even be a compliment to your massage therapist, as it shows you are comfortable and relaxed.
Do You Want To Schedule A Massage?
Life Health Medical Center provides massage therapy. Our massage therapists are trained in a variety of types of massage to help with a variety of different concerns, from stress to pain and stiffness to lymphatic drainage and more. When you follow these guidelines for your first massage, it will be a better experience. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about our services.