What to Expect
A common misconception is that massage is a one-size-fits-all therapy. Many people don’t understand that it’s supposed to be an extremely customizable and personalized experience, based on individual needs and comfort levels.
So, what should you expect during your first massage session—and how can you make sure the experience is as enjoyable as possible?
Communicate Before, During & After the Session
Before your appointment begins, your massage therapist will take a few minutes to get to know your health history (be sure to fill out the intake form sent to your email before your appointment) to determine how your body is feeling to you, and discuss what you’d like to get out of the session. During this discussion, it’s your opportunity to communicate your needs, concerns, and any areas you prefer to have specifically worked with and conversely, the areas you would like the therapist to avoid.
If you’ve never had a massage before, you may discover something you like, dislike, or need to adjust during your session. Always be sure to speak up and let your massage therapist know what you need. Whether it’s more pressure, less music/different music, additional draping, the temperature of the room/table, etc. There should always be an open line of communication between you and your therapist to make you as comfortable as possible, at all times.
You know your body better than anyone, and by communicating that with your therapist, you will have the most beneficial experience possible. Hopefully, that experience is one you will want to repeat over and over again.
Draping Keeps You Safe & Secure
Ultimately, there are some main reasons why you are draped with a sheet at all times during a massage. The first is for protecting your modesty, the second is for warmth and comfort and finally, the drape provides a physical boundary between client and therapist, defining where the therapist’s hands may touch and where they can’t.
After the initial interview, your therapist will leave the room and allow you to dress down and get on the table under the sheet and blanket. Dressing down to your personal comfort level should be the instruction from your massage therapist and that will look different for every person. Less clothing is better during a massage because it will allow you to enjoy the long, full strokes of the bodywork. However, this should only be the case if you are completely comfortable. Regardless of how much clothing you choose to take off or keep on, the drape should only uncover the area being worked with and will always cover the genitals and breast tissue.
Ultimately, proper draping should make you feel safe and comfortable, and you should never question if you are being exposed. This is typically the biggest fear for clients, but a safe drape will leave no question in your mind that the parts of yourself that you want to be covered are covered. The only part of your body that isn’t covered is the part that they are working on at that moment.
Face Up or Face Down?
Whether you are face up or down, you can expect to always be as comfortable as possible. There are many ways that a massage therapist can adjust, using pillows or bolsters, to make you more comfortable, depending on your body size and range of motion in your neck and shoulders.
Once your treatment is finished, the therapist will once again leave the room and allow you to slowly get off the table and get dressed. After your treatment, they will go over the session with you, offer suggestions and most likely ask for feedback. Don't be afraid to ask questions, or for recommendations on self-care between sessions. By working with your therapist, you will be on your way to a healthier and less stressful lifestyle.