Your Massage

Congratulations! Getting a massage may take lots of courage for some and be very easy for others. Some anxiety is quite normal.

Here are some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

  • Avoid eating a large meal or drinking caffeinated beverages prior to your massage. Light meals or snacks are best and will not cause a disruption in blood flow.
  • Use the restroom prior to your massage. Do not hesitate to interrupt the massage if necessary.
  • Try not to schedule yourself too tightly. It is ideal if you can have some quiet time following the massage. However, do not wait for the “perfect” time…it may never come. Allow an extra 20 to 30 minutes for your initial appointment. This is necessary for a thorough discussion of your health status and your objectives for massage therapy.
  • Neck work may result in some oil residue on your hair. Care is given to make this as minimal as possible. Bring comfortable clothing for after your massage, if you do not have to go back to work, etc.
  • You do not have to bring gym shorts or a swimming suit. You will be asked to disrobe to your comfort level. Many clients leave on their underpants. Draping is always done to ensure privacy.
  • Feel free to bring a favorite cassette or CD… if you have a certain type of oil you like, bring it along. If you prefer silence, please express that preference.
  • Massage that is given for the purposes of pain reduction requires client/therapist communication. Ask questions, express your needs as clearly as possible, and provide feedback. Too much pressure can be harmful, while too little pressure can be ineffective in providing a necessary release. Your massage therapist will help you learn how to best communicate.
  • You may experience emotions during or after your massage. We often hold feelings in our bodies and massage may release them. This is a positive thing and you will be treated very supportively if this happens.
  • Drink LOTS of water for several days after your massage. It will help flush the cellular waste sent into your system from the bodywork and will reduce any soreness you might feel. Your massage therapist may also make recommendations regarding the use of heat and/or ice following treatment, as well as stretches.

Contraindications

Abnormal body temperature (fever) – should not exceed 99.4 degrees.

Acute infectious diseases (e.g. severe colds, flu, typhoid).

Acute arthritis…massage is appropriate for chronic arthritis.

Acute inflammation due to soft tissue damage, e.g. immediately after a whiplash incident or a sprained ankle. Massage at a later time is quite effective.

Varicose veins. Light work or avoid the area entirely.

Inflammation of a vein (phlebitis).

Certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and bruises.

High blood pressure not well controlled by medications – lighter work and get MD input.

Active cancer- no massage directly in an area that is cancerous. However, a general massage may be indicated and very soothing.

Diabetes- possible hypoglycemic reaction and decreased sensations in limbs.

Very frail elderly – lighter work of shorter duration.

Osteoporosis- lighter pressure and receive MD input.

Alcohol intoxication- all types of bodywork are inappropriate if the client is intoxicated.

While the above conditions may rule out the use of massage, other types of bodywork such as Reiki and Therapeutic Touch may be quite helpful.

SOURCE: Beck, Mark. The Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage, 1988.