Ahh, the joy of getting a massage. The relaxation, the pain relief, the chance to get away for an hour and ignore the world. It's no secret massages are pretty great and beneficial, yet sometimes the experience might not be everything you wanted, as though some small thing just ruins the joy. However, maybe that little niggling things can be changed if you let your therapist (aka me )know about it. Below are a few things that I wish clients would speak up about during their session to make sure their massage is as awesome as can be.
1. The Pressure
I am a big supporter of medium to light pressure for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean I am not able to give deeper pressure. If you want a massage with deep pressure, please just ask. I am not one to willingly "beat up" my clients and make them feel bruised and sore the next day, but I also understand that some clients enjoy that feeling and appreciate more pressure. So if light pressure is not for you, please ask for deeper. However, if the pressure is actually hurting you, which in turn is causing you to tense up and hold your breath, I need to know this as well. If you are tensing up during a massage that is supposed to help relax and heal you, then you are shooting us both in the foot - causing you pain and me more work. And contrary to popular belief, deeper pressure does not always mean better healing (but more on that in a later post).
We all have a happy, cozy temperature that we love. Some of us also get cold or hot more easily than others, and quite a few of us have unexplained temperature changes that are completely unpredictable. It's all normal. That being said, my office normally stays somewhere between 68 and 75 degrees depending on the season, which affects the temperature of my sheets. Often I do have the table warmer on in order to make the sheets more comfortable, but if you prefer to be cooler just ask me to turn it off. Also, if you feel yourself start to get sweaty or over heated on the table, I can also adjust the sheets and blankets to cool you off quickly. It is natural for your body to get cooler as you relax since the blood starts flowing to your core to help with the rest and digest activities like digestion. If you get cold, please let me know. I can add more blankets or put the table warmer on high at any time. I try to remember most of my clients' preferences when it comes to the table warmer, but I also know they can change. So please speak up if the table is uncomfortable, even if it's in the middle of the massage.
**Weird Tip: Want the coolest sheets in the summer? Be my first client of the day and let me know before you come in not to have the table warmer on. The sheets are cool after being unused for the last 12+ hours.
I know most clients don't have a music preference when it comes to massage, but I like to make this an option. Studies on the effects of music on our brain have shown that music has a great affect on relaxation, thoughts, and emotions. I have found that I give a better massage when I have music that I like, and I have even changed the playlist during a massage when I just couldn't connect with the musical energy. So, if you, too, can't jive with the vibes of the music during your massage, speak up. Want something more chill? Looking for a coffeehouse vibe? Feeling like lounge or world beats? Asian, Celtic, harps, chanting, Peruvian flutes? Let me know, we can rock out or chill out. The choice is yours.
4. Neck and Bolster Positions
Ever gotten a massage and you felt like you couldn't get comfortable on the table, like you were constantly lifting your head up or your back feels constantly tighter? Then you might need a change with the leg bolster or face rest. Many clients do not know that I can move the face rest in a few different positions. Having your neck in alignment with your spine is important for a good massage experience. It allows your neck and shoulders to fully relax. If I notice you moving your head a lot during the massage, I may ask if you want to face rest adjusted, but you can always ask. The position of the leg bolster is important too. It is used to help decrease pressure on the low back, while also supporting the feet while laying face down. If it is uncomfortable or in the wrong position, please let me know. I have 2 sizes, so if the one I normally use is too big, request the smaller one.
**Weird Tip 1: It is normal for your sinuses to get stuffy when face down. This is due to the natural release of histamine during a massage and gravity/pressure on your sinuses. If you need a tissue, let me know. Or you can turn your head to the side for a bit as long as I'm not massaging your shoulders
**Weird Tip 2: Ladies, your neck should be level with your shoulder when laying face down. So if you, like me, have a larger chest, remind me to move the face rest upwards to create a level cervical spine. Your body will thank you.
5. What you want massaged vs. what you don't want massaged
I always ask what areas need extra attention or if we are focusing on just one area. However, if there is an area I should avoid for whatever reason, please let me know. If you have a cut/bruise/contagious skin issue, I really need to know. Or if you have certain areas you don't like being touched like your feet or knees because they are ticklish, painful, numb, or whatever, speak up. I've even had some clients who do not want to be touched in certain areas due to past traumas. I need to know about these. I don't judge, I simply want to give you the best experience possible. And, if there is an area that you just love getting massaged, let me know that too. I will do my best to give some extra attention to that area.
6. Special Requests
Sometimes it's not all just routine, and maybe you have a special request. For instance, if the last massage I spent too much time on a certain area and you didn't like it, let me know. I'll be sure to give other areas more time instead. Or maybe you have somewhere to be right after the massage, tell me so I don't give any extra time and I can get you on the table faster. Perhaps you've just had a very long week/day/month and need a full massage of quiet. I won't be offended if you ask me for silence when normally you would talk to me throughout the session. If you are worried about your child and need to leave your phone on, and maybe even need me to hand it to you when it rings, its all OK. Whatever your special request is, just tell me. I will accommodate however I can.
Your massage is all about you. Never feel like you are being rude, a nuisance, or even high maintenance for letting me know your preferences. Making sure each detail is perfect allows you to relax, heal, and get the therapy you need. At the start of the massage, the middle, or even the end, if there is something that needs to be changed, speak up. I'm honored that you choose to see me, and I will do everything I can to make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed during your massage. By communicating to me what you need and want, your massage can be an awesome experience.