Hopefully, you are looking forward to your first massage appointment and have some goals for your treatment. Whether you are suffering from a recent injury or trauma, stress, depression or chronic pain, massage can help. Trust that you’ve made an excellent decision for your health and wellbeing, and have found a practitioner that will serve your needs. Here’s a little more information so you can know what to expect at your first visit.

What brings you in today?

Upon arrival:

  • You’ll fill out an intake form for new clients.  Provide your recent and past medical history, and note any medications you may be taking.
  • One-on-one time with your massage therapist before the massage begins. Your therapist will want to gain a clear understanding as to how she can best serve you, so take a little time before your appointment to think about the areas you would like her to address.

Be prepared to answer questions about your reasons for seeking massage therapy, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • What do your symptoms feel like; achy, sharp, burning, numbness, etc.?
  • What makes your symptoms better, what makes them worse?
  • What other therapies have you tried?

If you are experiencing multiple areas of discomfort, it would be beneficial to list your symptoms as primary, secondary and so on. This will give the therapist the right information to maximize your session with her.

Ready to Get Started?
At the beginning of your massage, your therapist will give you instructions for getting on the table. She will most likely note the following tips:

  • Position: face up/face down.
  • Covering up with the sheet.
  • She will leave the room before you begin undressing.
  • She will knock before reentering.
  • She will ask you to “undress to your level of comfort.”

What is “your level of comfort?”
Undoubtedly, your therapist wants you to feel safe and at ease; that’s how you are going to get the most out of your treatment. She should never pressure you to remove more clothing than you feel comfortable with. When deciding what is most comfortable for you, you can rest assured that you will be professionally draped at all times and that genitals and breasts will never be exposed.

With all that in mind it helps to know how clients “typically” prepare. Most clients remove either all of their clothes or leave undergarments on. If you are coming in for low back pain or hip pain, you may benefit most by not wearing your underwear during your treatment. As a note, your therapist will only undrape one side of your gluteal area at a time. Feel free to ask the practitioner if they have any preferences.

Are You Comfortable and Warm?
Now it’s time to enjoy your massage! There isn’t much you have to do at this point; that’s part of what’s great about massage. But to get the most out of your session, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Notice if you are holding your breath. Take full breaths whenever you’d like.
  • “Good pain” is okay and even therapeutic.
  • Tell your therapist if the pressure is too intense. Tensing up because of pain is counterproductive to your treatment.

To fully enjoy your massage, stay in the present moment. Feel the pressure and all of the sensations in your body, and be aware of the thoughts that enter you mind. This is your time, so sink in! Wiggle your toes around in the sand. Massage can bring you awareness of a constant conversation being held within your muscles, so be curious and find out what they’re saying!

How Are You Feeling Now?
When the session ends, your therapist will gently let you know, then leave the room so you can dress. A few things she may share with you:

  • Recommended stretches or exercises
  • A treatment plan to meet your goals
  • A reminder to drink extra water
  • A reminder to schedule your next treatment before you leave

A note to you, the client: Be an advocate for yourself. Find a therapist that you feel listens to your needs and works with your comfort and pain level. Find someone you can connect with; you will benefit the most when you feel comfortable and taken care of by your therapist.

Enjoy the benefits of your massage in the following days and note anything that comes up for you. You have taken a great step in your health and wellness, and for that, you should thank yourself.