10 Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know
By Pamela Schwarz
Massage Therapy is an important part of your wellness. It’s no longer considered just a luxury. Here are a few of the health benefits of adding massage to your wellness routine:
- Reduce Stress
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Promote Relaxation
- Increase Circulation
- Boost Immunity
- Improve Sleep
- Ease Symptoms of Depression
Whether you’ve never had one or are overdue for your next massage, here are some things you should know.
1. Your Body Is Beautiful
Your body is beautiful in the eyes of a massage therapist. We see all types of bodies and each one holds it’s own unique beauty. We want you to feel as beautiful as we see you.
2. Ditch The Cologne
Heavy colognes and perfumes can be a distraction to your massage therapist. We want to be present during the session and focus on you. Strong scents can linger in the room and impact the client that follows you.
3. Body Hair And Stubble Are Okay… Really!
Honestly, we don’t even notice the stubble or body hair. It’s healthier for you and your therapist if you don’t shave prior to a massage. Shaving can create breaks in the skin that put you both at risk of infection. The oils and lotions we use allow our hands to glide over the skin… even hairy skin!
4. Communication Is Important And Appreciated
Talk to your therapist. We want to know who you are and what you expect from a massage. We need to be aware of health issues so that we can tailor the session to your needs. In some cases a doctor’s authorization is necessary to ensure your safety especially if you have cardiovascular concerns. Let us know if you feel a cold coming on because massage can make a cold worse.
If the pressure is too much or too little, let us know. Massage shouldn’t hurt or be uncomfortable. We don’t feel the same things that you do and need your feedback in order to make changes or adjustments. Communication ensures that you get the best experience possible.
5. We Don’t Like Masseuse
Licensed Massage Therapists go through extensive schooling to practice. NYS requires a minimum of 1,000 hours of education before taking the licensing exam AND 36 hours of Continuing Education every 3 years to maintain a license. This is the highest requirement in the country. We take this pretty seriously.
6. Don’t Be Shy About Your Butt
Your butt is made up of muscles. We see it as muscle. It’s not fat, dimply, jiggly or anything else to us. This is an area of the body that can cause pain in the lower back, legs and hips. Believe me, we see many butts during the course of a day and they are all parts of beautiful bodies.
7. Please Keep The Sheet On
There are strict rules that vary by state on draping or covering up during a massage. These rules were created to protect the client and the therapist. We appreciate clients having respect for these rules.
8. Body Functions Are Normal
This is one of my favorites! Yes, it’s normal to pass gas during a massage (and to have a grumbling belly, to snore and to drool). We actually take these things as compliments, because it means you have relaxed and let go.
9. Do Your Homework
When your therapist gives you “homework,” please do it. We ask you to do homework for your wellness. When muscles are chronically tight, they impact other muscles and create imbalance. Stretching can help to loosen tight muscles between massage appointments.
10. Find The Right Therapist
Finding a massage therapist that you connect with is essential. Think of choosing a massage therapist like you would a doctor or counselor. You should feel completely comfortable sharing information and being touched by your therapist. It’s okay to shop around until you find the one that fits. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research. Here are some important questions you should ask your therapist:
- Are you licensed, certified or registered?
- What is your training and experience?
- How many massage therapy sessions do you think I’ll need?
- What is the cost, and is it covered by health insurance?
You can also visit American Massage Therapy Association website (AMTA) to search for a qualified therapist. Another good way to find a massage therapist is to ask friends, coworkers and healthcare providers for a referral.
Some health plans carry a Wellness Package that may offer reduced rates for massage and other alternative therapies. American Specialty Health is a company that works with healthcare providers to offer alternative therapies at a reduced rate. Check with your health plan to see if this is an available option. Don’t be shy about asking your massage therapist for a discount on multiple sessions. Many of us became therapists to help others get well and will offer a discount to clients who visit on a regular basis.
What are you waiting for? Schedule a massage today with a licensed or registered therapist. Your body, mind and spirit will be grateful.
Pamela Schwarz is a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner in Upstate New York. Working with clients to achieve wellness that comes from within is the main focus of her work. She believes in the power of positive thoughts and following your dreams to create the life you were meant to live.
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