Massage Therapy

What is massage therapy? It’s a type of body treatment that relies on various strokes, pressure levels, and touch styles to release muscle tension. Most often, massage is performed on the back, neck, and shoulders, but total-body massage is common too. Massages focusing on one body part, like foot reflexology, are becoming more popular.

Where can I get a massage?

Massage Therapy
Usually, professional massages are performed at spas, but there are other places where you can come across these treatments. Some health and fitness facilities employ a massage therapist who performs mostly sports massage. Massage studios are another venue where you can find the treatment; at these establishments, which are usually manned by one or two people, massages are the only services offered, but there tends to be multiple styles available. Occasionally, a massage therapist will set up a business traveling to clients’ homes too. With all of these options, you will get a therapeutic massage performed by a licensed massage therapist.
In general, it’s most convenient to get a professional massage at a day spa; there, you’ll be able to choose from multiple massage varieties with many therapists in a private room.

What should I expect at my first massage?

When you make your appointment, you will likely be asked if you prefer a male or female masseur. Choose according to your preference. On the day of your massage, plan to arrive about half an hour before your scheduled appointment. This will ensure you have enough time to tour the facility, change into your spa robe, and consult with your therapist. If your spa has bathing facilities available, like saunas, hot tubs, or a swimming pool, you could arrive a bit earlier to enjoy them. If you do take a dip in a pool, however, make sure you take a quick shower before proceeding to your treatment.
At the time of your massage, your therapist will call you into the private room where you’ll receive your treatment. She’ll ask you a few questions about your health and medical history. Be sure to answer these questions honestly, as they could make a big difference in how the massage is approached. And don’t worry - any personal information will remain confidential. If there is an aromatherapy component to your massage, the therapist may ask you to choose between a sampling of scents. The aroma you choose will be used as massage oil.
After the initial consultation, your therapist will leave the room as you undress. Take your time undressing and arranging yourself on the massage table underneath the sheet laid out. You can leave your underwear on if your feel more comfortable. The therapist will knock before entering the room. Then, she’ll begin to give you the massage. Most of your body will remain covered by the sheet for the duration of the treatment; your therapist will only uncover the part she’s working on at that moment.
If you’re ever uncomfortable during the massage, speak up! Let the therapist know if she’s being too harsh or if you’d like a firmer touch. Feel free to express your opinion about the temperature in the room and the music selection too; it’s your treatment, and you should enjoy all aspects of it. You can also control whether or not you’d like quiet during your massage. If you want to talk to your therapist, begin a conversation; she’ll follow your lead and keep up the chit chat. If you’d rather it be quiet, just remain silent after the therapist reenters your room.
When the massage is complete, the therapist will leave the room and instruct you to take your time getting up. In general, this means you’ll have about 10 minutes to recover, get dressed, and leave the room. Although you don’t want to push yourself when coming out of a massage, it’s not appropriate to remain in the room for longer than 10 minutes. It will probably be scheduled for another treatment after yours.

What kind of massage should I choose?

There are many different massage varieties out there, but only a few are suitable for spa newbies. Try a classic Swedish massage for your first treatment; this is a gentle therapy that will help you relax without causing any pain. A Swedish massage uses long, shallow strokes to bring on relaxation. It is the original form of therapeutic massage and a foolproof choice for any spa goer.

Other massage varieties include sports massage, shiatsu, Thai massage, reflexology, deep tissue, hot stone, trigger point therapy, watsu, aromatherapy and lymphatic drainage. Once you’ve had your first Swedish massage, you can advance to any of these varieties if you choose. Keep in mind, however, that many of these aren’t gentle treatments.

How long will my massage be?

Most massages at spas are either 50 or 80 minutes long. Occasionally, you’ll find spas that offer 25-minute mini massages, but these aren’t as beneficial. For your first massage, go for the 50 minute treatment.

What are the health benefits of massage?

There are lots of reasons to get a massage, relaxation being only one of them. Massage therapy can help with many medical conditions like tension, headaches, back pain, physical rehabilitation, sports injuries like sprains, and inflammatory problems like arthritis. Massage is a proven stress buster too. So if you have a documented problem or just feel under the weather, a massage could help.