I have never had a massage with a massage therapist before. What can I expect?

When you arrive for your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out an intake form, much like you would at any healthcare provider’s office, with questions about your health history. The therapist will look over your form, and may ask some follow-up questions, such as details about injuries or surgeries. Your therapist will ask what you would like to work on today. Be specific in your answer, saying things like these: “I’d like a full body, but can you concentrate on my neck and back?” or “I’d like some work on my feet, calves, back, and arms.”

At this time, the therapist will instruct you on how she’d like you to begin on the massage table—usually face up or face down, always underneath a sheet. Your therapist will ask you to undress to your level of comfort and leave the room to wash her hands while you get situated.

The therapist will knock before she re-enters the room, then enter and make sure you are comfortably positioned on the table; sometimes bolsters may need to be moved, pillows added, temperature adjusted, etc. When you are comfortable, the therapist will begin the massage. For comfort, the therapist will only uncover the portion of the body being massaged at that time. For example, if the therapist is working on your right arm, the only parts of your body that will not be covered by the sheet are your right arm, right shoulder, head, and neck. When the massage is over, the therapist will leave the room. Take your time getting up from the table and getting dressed. When you are ready, open the door. The therapist may have some suggestions about stretching and other self-care. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. This is a good time to schedule your next appointment, if you so wish. Pay and thank your therapist and enjoy the rest of your day!

When the therapist says you may “undress to your level of comfort,” it means just that. It is important for you to be able to relax during your massage. If this means that you would choose to remove only your shoes, then that’s all you would remove. Your therapist will be able to work with you at your comfort level. That said, it is easier for therapists to work, especially to do deep work, without layers of clothing between their hands and your skin. If you choose to remain fully dressed, you may want to consider bringing or wearing loose, comfortable clothing, and especially something that you don’t mind getting wrinkled. Conversely, if you are more comfortable undressing totally, you are welcome to do so. No matter what your comfort level, you will be covered by a sheet, towels, or blanket.

How often should I get a massage?

One study, for example, found that a single, forty-five-minute massage given once per week led to a reduction in the blood’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone, and to a boost in white blood cells that fight infection. Of course, keep in mind what your financial situation is and what kind of time commitment you can make. A forty-five-minute massage once a week might not be practical with your budget or availability; however, many people find that a sixty-minute massage once per month is manageable.

The best way to know if your health insurance covers massage is to check your health plan. Bliss Massage Therapy does not currently accept health insurance as a payment method. Even so, your health plan could include a flexible medical spending account that could require a doctor’s prescription showing a client’s need, for instance, for massage to aid in reducing chronic pain.

Most massage therapists have a few tricks up their sleeves to work around the tickles. If you are very ticklish, let your therapist know before your session. Your therapist may use tools like deeper, more general strokes, or slow, deep pressure. If you are unsure if a massage will work for you, but you want to try, you may want to book a shorter session for your first appointment.

I have sensitive skin. What products are used?

Bliss Massage Therapy uses high-quality, professional massage oils and lotions. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, please indicate this to your therapist on the health history form provided. The product that is selected will reflect your skin sensitivities or allergies.

Do people fall asleep during the massage?

Yes, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you are relaxed enough to fall asleep, then your therapist is doing her job well.

What is the protocol on gratuities and tipping?

Gratuities are optional, however, if client is inclined to give a tip in addition to the cost of the session, the client may give any additional amount desired. At least 15 to 20 percent of the cost of the massage is adequate.

Why is it recommended to drink water after a session? How much water should I drink?

During the massage, particularly after deep-tissue work, when accumulated toxins have been released, water will help to facilitate the flushing out of toxins as well as to hydrate the body. The recommended amount of water varies from person to person as everyone’s body weight and mass differs. However, after a massage session, it is encouraged to consume more water than usual to encourage continued detoxification and lubrication for your internal body.

How long after a massage should I wait before I do any physical activity?

After a massage, it’s encouraged to wait twenty-four hours before doing any vigorous activity. Examples of vigorous activities are running, weightlifting, or other high-intensity workouts. Light to moderate exercise for someone who exercises regularly, on the other hand, can be a good thing after massage. A brisk walk or even some laps in a pool can help to flush out toxins released during the massage as well as to keep muscles healthy and elastic. Whether you choose to engage in light physical activity after massage or not, you should always remember to drink plenty of water.