Author: Ngametua Varu
New to massage therapy and don't know where to start? Read these tips for finding the right therapist for you and what to expect in your sessions.
When searching for a therapist you want to find someone who makes you comfortable and whom you can trust, but where do you find them? Here's what you can expect out of a standard massage session, and tips to use so you can find the best person for you.
Keep in mind there are many different styles of massage so session experiences will vary. Don't be afraid to ask your therapist any questions you may have before, during, or after the session.
What To Expect
It's common to have questions if you've never gotten a massage before. Here are some of the most common questions from first-time clients.
Do I have to be naked?
No, you do not! Your therapist should let you know at the start of the session that you can dress down to your comfort level. For some people that means leaving all of their clothes on, for others, they get on the table fully nude and both are just fine. Some massage styles like Thai massage are traditionally done fully clothed.
During your session, you will be covered by a sheet. Your therapist will only uncover the part of your body being worked on at that moment and then re-drape when they move on to the next area.
Do I have to talk?
It is up to you if you want to talk or not while you're on the table. Many people prefer not to, as it can make it harder for them to fall into that zen relaxed state, while others enjoy a little chat while they relax. A lot of people fall asleep during their session and that's fine too! Most therapists take it as a sign that they're doing a good job.
It is common for the therapist to ask questions before and during the session to gauge how you're feeling. They may ask things about the pressure level, if you feel pain in certain areas, if you can feel a stretch, etc. Be sure to let your therapist know if you feel pain. Pain does not always equal healing.
For men: What happens if I get an erection?
This is a question that a lot of men are afraid to ask, but it is a very common and normal physiological response and it's ok if it happens. IF it does happen, it is important to keep it professional. The best way to handle the situation is to not comment on it, ignore it and let the therapist continue on with the session.
Do not ask the therapist inappropriate questions like if they will work on the area and do not touch the therapist. They have a license to touch, you do not.
Is it supposed to hurt?
Short answer, no. Even when you are getting a deep tissue massage, at most you should feel temporary discomfort but if you are feeling pain, you need to let your therapist know so they can reduce their pressure. The goal is to relieve muscle knots without damaging the tissue and causing muscle trauma.
Some therapists give their clients a 1-5 or 1-10 pain/pressure scale so you can easily communicate what you are feeling. Everybody has a different perception of pain, so it is important to have open communication with your therapist.
Let's have a spa day
If you want a luxurious relaxation experience, you may want to check out a spa. There are many types of spas that can be found in different places. If you are on vacation, stopping in can be a relaxing addition to your trip experience. Spas will usually offer additional services like hydrotherapy treatments, facials, full body wraps, etc.
Common places to find spas:
There are also different local and national spa chains that you can visit:
Hand and Stone
If you're looking for an independent therapist or maybe someone who specializes in something outside of your classic Swedish and Deep Tissue, you may want to try searching from a trusted database. Here is a short list of some reliable ones with national lists. You can search by zip code to find verified therapists in your area. Some of these websites also include therapist reviews and ratings.
3 things you must do today: schedule a massage, get a massage, and schedule your next massage.”
For Your Health
A lot of people are starting to pursue massage therapy for health reasons more than relaxation. You can find holistic health clinics or chiropractic offices that offer massage as a supplementary therapy. The majority of these clinics accept health insurance, and their massages are geared specifically toward healthcare, motor vehicle accidents, etc. Some places will have an entire team of holistic healthcare specialists including:
Physical Therapists, and more
Try Your Local Schools
The state requires a certain number of hands-on practice hours in order to graduate and become a licensed massage therapist. Many schools, including ours, offer a student clinic where the public can get a massage from a student at a reduced cost. It's a win-win for both as the student easily gets their required hours and you get a massage at a great price.
Don't Be Afraid To Look Around
The first therapist you find may or may not be the one for you, but don't be afraid to ask for referrals, ask your friends, and try new places until you find a good fit. There are a lot of therapists out there with different things to offer, the first step is just booking one.
If you are trying to become a licensed massage therapist in the Clark County Washington area, check out the Our Program section of our website. You can also read our blog post 'What Do You Learn In Massage School?' for an idea of what to expect. Enrollment is now open for our upcoming day class program starting January 9th, 2023.
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