What to Expect from your First Massage Appointment.

What to expect from your first massage appointment”.

I have had the honor of giving dozens of people their very first massage and a common thread among these people when asked why they haven’t had a massage before frequently  comes down to a “fear of the unknown” and due to some faulty assumptions, stereotypes, and myths about massage.  So it is my hope that I can clear up any misconceptions,  empower you with information, and perhaps tempt you to try something that not only feels good but is really, really good for you!

Upon arrival:  When you first arrive at your appointment you will typically be given a brief health history form to complete.  Once completed, your Massage Practitioner will review this with you verbally and discuss what your main goals and hopes are for the session.  This is also a great time to ask questions, share concerns, and to get information.  By the end of the consult you should have a clear understanding of what the session will entail.  Please remember that your session is going to be tailored for YOU – there is no cookie-cutter treatment plan– so, if the idea of someone touching your feet or face horrifies you don’t be afraid to say it before the session begins.

Do I need to take off all my clothesAbsolutely not!!  If the idea of removing your clothes is a big deterrent for you, I want to assure you it doesn’t have to be a hurdle.  Most massage practitioners can work within your comfort levels – there are lots of techniques that can be performed fully or partially clothed.  Think about chair massage and craniosacral therapy – both are done fully dressed.  Typically, however, in a full body massage people do fully undress with the exception of undergarments.  If you choose to do this, the therapist will leave the room to allow you time to remove your clothes and get under the sheets.  During the massage you are always draped and only the area being massaged is uncovered at any one time. 

What will it feel like?  Well, this is a hard one to answer because it will really depend on your unique situation, what techniques will be most beneficial for you, and the individual style of the therapist.  One thing I can say for sure is it shouldn’t hurt, in fact it should feel great.  People have a range of preferences in terms of deep or light massage work but you don’t have to go through grimacing pain to get benefits.  The therapeutic parameter that I like to go by is you may experience a “hurt good” feeling which means you can feel the tissues releasing similar to when you stretch before or after exercise but it is not “painful”.  You are always in charge of the session – if you want the pressure changed to be deeper or lighter just ask your therapist; if anything at anytime is uncomfortable – a technique, temperature, scents etc –  speak up – it will make your session all that much better!  And, if you ever have any questions – just ask!

 Do I need to talk?  There is no right or wrong answer here – do what feels right for you!  In my experience, the majority of people are silent, many drift in and out of sleep, some snore – it is all good!!!

 After the Session:  When the session is over the practitioner will leave the room once again and allow you time to get up and get dressed.  Drinking lots of water following the massage is always a good idea.  If there were things in the massage that you really liked or things that you weren’t fond of – sharing feedback when it is fresh in your mind is always welcomed.  This allows the therapist to make some notes on what to continue doing, adjust, or modify for the next time.  As you walk out the door, just know that you have done something really, really good for yourself – massage benefits will come in another posting!!!

Tia Cherneski practices out of Kelowna, BC at CranioSacral Therapy and Massage   

tia@craniosacralplus.ca