» I am nervous about receiving a massage. What can I expect?
» Do I need a referral from my doctor?
» How often do I need to go, and how long will I have to keep going for massage?
» What do I wear?
» Is massage therapy safe during pregnancy?
I am nervous about receiving a massage. What can I expect?
Very often, first time clients come in and tell us that they are nervous. It is normal to be for any new experience. Part of any massage, even if it is therapeutic, is to help the client to relax. Upon arrival, you will have a brief interview about your medical history. The massage therapist needs to know of any medical conditions you may have, even if you feel that they are not related to your area of complaint. This is necessary because massage has a wide range of effects. Next will be an assessment. The assessment may include a postural evaluation, movement evaluation or a special test (for re-creation of pain, strength, sensation etc). The therapist will also discuss your treatment goals and management plan. After your assessment, the therapist will leave the room while you disrobe to a comfortable level. You will have a sheet to cover you and only the areas that are being treated will be undraped and massaged. Massage techniques will vary depending on the nature of your visit. Usually oil or lotion is used on the skin. Let your therapist know if the pressure used is intolerable, either too light or too deep. After the treatment, the therapist may reassess any movement or special tests and give you homework to maintain your progress. Feel free to ask questions, before, during and after about any aspect of your massage treatment.
Do I need a referral from my doctor?
Generally, you do not need a referral from the doctor. If you will be using your insurance coverage (ie: Blue Cross, employer extended health care plans, etc.), you may require a physician's referral. To be sure, ask your employer or your insurance company if they require one. If you are paying for the massage yourself, you do not need a doctor's referral.
How often do I need to go, and how long will I have to keep going for massage?
This will depend on the individual and their particular condition. If you were in a serious car accident, you may need to go three times per week. If you are just going for relaxation, you may only need once per month. After treating you, your therapist can give you a guideline as to how often they think you should come.
What do I wear?
You can wear as much or as little clothing as you wish. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. A sheet will cover you at all times. The therapist will uncover only the area being worked on. Most people just wear their underwear, some prefer to wear nothing, some women leave their bra on, some people bring shorts, and others are fully clothed. It is really up to you. We would rather have you fully clothed and comfortable than totally unclothed and nervous. It is difficult to relax someone who is nervous about what they are (or are not) wearing during their massage. Generally, oil is applied to the skin to allow the therapists hands to glide smoothly over the area being treated. This is why removal of clothing is usually suggested.
Is massage therapy safe during pregnancy?
Absolutely. In fact, many expectant mothers would argue that nobody benefits more from massage than a pregnant woman! Women's bodies go through a great deal of transformation during the term of a pregnancy, which puts strain on virtually all of her abdominal and pelvic muscles. As she continually compensates by changing her posture and balance, the pregnant woman often winds up with tension and imbalance in her neck, low back, legs, shoulders, and hips. Regular massage therapy given throughout the pregnancy and post-delivery helps to strengthen weakened muscles, release tight muscles, maintain proper posture, and prevent discomfort. Moreover, regular massage therapy will improve mom's circulation which is critical for the baby's nutrition.
Note: Most physicians advise holding off on deep tissue massages until the second trimester to avoid exacerbating early pregnancy symptoms of morning sickness and dizziness.