By Pamela Israel
Peaceful Spirit Massage and Wellness Centers
So you’ve decided to get your first professional massage. Maybe someone got you a gift certificate or your back has been hurting. Whatever the reason, you’re in for a real treat! But doing anything for the first time can be a little intimidating. This article will let you know exactly what to expect during your first massage – and all your subsequent ones, too – at Peaceful Spirit.
Before Your Appointment
The Health History Form
At Peaceful Spirit, we have a fairly long health history form for several reasons. First, massage therapists need to know what is going on with your body in order to give you the best massage. By filling out the health history form accurately, you are helping them give you a better massage. Second, we offer many different types of treatments here at Peaceful Spirit, including chiropractic care, different styles of massage, and acupuncture. Letting your practitioner know about any injuries, illnesses, or problems you have can help them decide on the best treatment plan for you, including referring you to one of our other practitioners. Last, we are a full wellness center and we do insurance work on a regular basis. As a result, our health history form includes questions about accidents and insurance to better serve these clients. We offer the option of completing your health history from electronically before you come to your appointment or on paper in the office just before your appointment.
If you are coming to our Country Club location, the client coordinator at the front desk should greet you as you come in the door. Let them know your name and they will check you in. If you are a new client and have opted to fill out the health history form in person, they will give you the appropriate forms. If you are visiting one of our other locations, you may be greeted by your massage therapist.
What if I’m embarrassed about my body?
Massage therapists are professionals and have seen all different shapes, sizes, and types of bodies. Our therapists also have one goal in mind: to make you feel great. Judgments don’t even enter into it.
What should I wear?
Since getting a massage is really all about you, you should wear something that makes you comfortable. After the interview, your therapist will leave the room so that you can undress to your level of comfort and get onto the table (under the top sheet). For some people, undressing to their level of comfort means keeping all clothing in place. For others, that means taking everything off. Rest assured that even if you prefer to remove all clothing, we use sheets to drape your body, covering all private areas. All of our therapists have been specifically trained in draping techniques so they will be able to keep you covered while still giving you a great massage. If you prefer to keep your clothing on, we would suggest looser, comfortable clothes that can be washed easily (they may get massage oil on them).
During Your Massage
Once you’ve arrived and checked in for your appointment, your therapist will greet you and take you back to the massage room. There, you and your therapist will sit down and discuss what you would like to work on during the massage. This is your chance to fill them in about all your aches and pains. Tell them what you need and they will do their best to deliver. Once you and the therapist have finished the interview, he or she will leave the room in order for you to undress and get on the table.
Sheets, Draping, and Getting onto the Table
All of our tables are covered with three sheets: a base sheet, a bottom sheet, and a top sheet. When you get on the table, the base sheet and bottom sheet should be underneath you and the top sheet should be covering your body. After a few minutes, your therapist will knock on the door to see if you are ready. You can verbally tell them if you need more time or if you are all ready for them to come in. Once the therapist reenters the room, they will turn on some music and begin the massage.
The music choice is completely up to you. Here at Peaceful Spirit, we have many songs available on Itunes, and we also stream music with Pandora. Let your therapist know what type of music you like and he (or she) can put on something that you like. Of course, you are also welcome to request no music if you wish.
Is it okay to talk during the massage?
Like almost everything else, this is completely up to you. If you like talking, feel free to speak up and start a conversation. If you want silence, make sure to tell the therapist that during the interview so they can respect your wishes. Keep in mind that talking during the massage is the best way to communicate with your therapist about the job they are doing.
Is it okay to direct the massage therapist?
Of course! It’s great to direct the therapist so that they aren’t just working through instinct. Although our therapists are generally good at reading body language, if you want them to do something or not do something, the best thing to do is to tell them directly.
Is it common to experience emotions?
Yes. Some people experience intense emotional releases while getting massage while others do not. Rest assured that even if you have an emotional release, our therapists are super understanding and will be there to help you through.
What are some insider tips to getting the best massage?
Be forthcoming with your therapist. In order to get the best massage, they have to know what is happening with your body. By being open and honest about your body, you’ll be one step closer to getting the best massage of your life. In addition, telling them things like what music you prefer will ensure that you get exactly what you like.
Drink lots of water after your massage. Getting a massage tends to push impurities out of your muscles and into your blood stream, which can result in nausea and headaches. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush everything out of your body before it has a chance to make you feel ill.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you’d like the therapist to do something in particular, like adjust the lighting, music, or anything else in the room.
After Your Massage
When the time is up, the therapist will let you know that the massage is over. He or she will then leave the room to let you get dressed.
The Post-Massage Interview and Feedback
After a few minutes, the therapist will knock on the door again. You should verbally tell the therapist if you are ready for him or her to come back into the room or if you need more time. The therapist will bring a cup of water for you to drink when he or she reenters the room. At this time, the therapist will ask you a few questions about how you feel and if the massage helped you. This is a good time to give him or her feedback about the massage and let the therapist know how it worked for you. After the post-massage interview, the therapist will walk you back up to the front desk to check out.
Once you are back in the lobby, the client coordinator will process your payment and ask if you would like to reschedule.
How will I feel after my massage?
Generally, people feel very relaxed just after a massage. You may feel as if you need a nap. Some people even feel slightly intoxicated. These feelings usually pass fairly quickly. If your therapist did work to release tension and pain in your muscles, you should feel relief for at least several days. It’s also important to remember that getting a deep massage can also make you feel sore for a couple of days afterward.
Should I tip my massage therapist? How much is a standard tip?
There is never an obligation to tip your massage therapist at Peaceful Spirit, however, the therapists are always appreciative of tips. If you would like to leave a tip, you may either give cash directly to the massage therapist or leave the tip at the front desk for them. You may also leave a tip on a credit card. Although people leave tips of all sizes, a general rule of thumb is to tip the therapist the same amount you would tip a server at a restaurant, (e.g. 10-20%).
Will the massage oils damage my clothes?
No. The oils and creams that we use at Peaceful Spirit are formulated to be easily washed out of clothes with regular laundry detergent.