Getting A Massage – What To Expect From Your Treatment Session
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 19-24% Americans have at least one massage per year. Almost half (43%) use massage for medical reasons such as rehabilitation or stiffness. Perhaps the most striking statistic is that 89% of people agree that it can reduce pain levels.
These numbers make a compelling case for the benefits of massage. However, if you are thinking of booking a treatment for the first time, you may have some questions. Let’s look at a few common questions clients have about massage.
What kind of massage should I choose?
Swedish massage, deep tissue, Thai massage, hot stone massage, and shiatsu are just a few of the varieties on offer. Swedish massage is a good introductory treatment. It targets the whole body and is great for stress relief.
If you are especially tense, you may wish to book a treatment that incorporates hot stone massage. The heat is especially effective for breaking down muscle knots. As you gain more experience, you can then investigate other types of massage. You can also look for specialist treatments to suit your needs, such as sports or prenatal massage.
How should I prepare for a massage?
If you have a health condition or take regular medication, be prepared to let your therapist know. This is because they may need to adjust their technique for the sake of your safety or comfort. If you have any allergies to scents or massage oils, tell them at the start of the session.
Drink plenty of water before your treatment, and eat a meal of protein and carbohydrate approximately two hours in advance. This is because massage can cause slight dehydration and lower your blood sugar. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Massages usually last around 60-90 minutes, so be sure to allow enough time for your treatment, including travel.
Will I have to undress?
In most cases, you will be asked to remove your clothes. You can receive a treatment completely naked, or elect to keep your underwear on. Your therapist will leave the room as you undress. During a massage, you will be covered by a sheet. The therapist will only expose the area they are working on.
What should I do after a massage?
At the end of your session, you will be able to relax on the massage table for a few minute before getting up. Drink a large glass of water to help your body process metabolic waste released during your treatment. Eat a small snack to keep your blood sugar steady. Avoid working out for a few hours – give your muscles the chance to recover.
How often should I get a massage?
This depends on your treatment goals. If you have an acute injury, most professionals recommend getting a massage twice per week until you notice an improvement. For more general stress relief, once or twice a month is the standard recommendation.
Is massage safe?
If you feel any pain or discomfort during your massage, let the therapist know. Massage may be uncomfortable at times, but it should not hurt.
As long as your therapist is properly trained and qualified, you are unlikely to experience any negative side-effects. Check that they are a member of a professional body that requires its members to demonstrate suitable proficiency. The American Massage Therapy Association is a good place to start.
You can also ask friends and family members for their recommendations. If you are overwhelmed by the prospect of doing your own research, ask your doctor for advice. They should be able to signpost you to a local therapist with the right qualifications.