Maybe you’re thinking about scheduling a massage, but you have no idea what to expect. Here’s a bit of a review of what happens when you come into my office for a massage!
Before Your Appointment
Ideally, I like to know what is happening health-wise before you come in for your massage. The easiest way to accomplish this is for you to fill out the online health information form that gets emailed to you. Rest assured, the program is HIPAA compliant, and I do not share your information with any third party.
This information helps me get an idea of what you’re hoping massage can help you with. It also give me a heads up if there are any reasons you should maybe not get a massage, or if I need to be careful of any particular health issues. If you can’t fill it out ahead of time, we’ll take care of it in the office, just plan to come in a little early.
Appointment Day: Touching Base
Plan to arrive about 10 minutes before the start of your appointment. We’ll go over any health concerns and talk about what you’re looking for in your massage. It’s helpful to know if you have any mobility or range of motion restrictions, as well as what areas are particularly tight or painful. You can also let me know if you don’t want me to massage a specific area, such as feet, abdomen, or glutes. Feedback or changing your mind about something is also welcome at any time during the session.
Getting Ready for Your Massage
After we’ve talked about what we’re going to do, I’ll take you into the massage room. There’s a corner with a comfy chair that’s all yours to toss your clothes and other personal items on. I’ll show you how I’d like you to lay on the table.
I will leave the room and go wash my hands while you get ready. You can choose how many layers of clothing you prefer to keep on. Most people strip entirely, or down to their underpants. You’ll be covered with a sheet and blanket the entire time.
My table is electric, and raises and lowers with a foot pedal. This is nice because I can set the table at a level that’s easy to hop on and get comfy. I will raise and lower it as needed during your massage. It’s pretty quiet and actually rather hard to tell if it’s going up or down!
The Massage: First Half
I typically start you face down if you’re there for a full body, or full hour massage. Starting you face down helps if you tend to get a little stuffed up laying face down. Once you roll over, you get a chance to “un-stuff” before your massage is done. It also allows any creases from the face cradle to fade a bit before you head out in public!
You’ll see a padded, U-shaped cushion (face cradle) at the end of the table for you to rest your face in. This is designed to help prevent strain on your neck, it’s also very comfortable! Additionally, I place a small bolster under your ankles for support.
For a full body massage, I usually start with the backs of your legs and work my way up. Part of the reason for this is encouraging blood flow towards your heart. I also tend to save more time for your back, unless your legs are of specific focus, since that tends to be people’s favorite part. I’ll check in with you periodically to see if the amount of pressure I’m using is good, or if you want more or less. If at any time you do not like something I’m doing, you can ask me to stop.
Uncovering one leg at a time, I pull a corner of the sheet under your leg and then up to your hip, with provides a secure, kind of “half a diaper” type of draping. This protects your modesty and allows me to work on your hard working thigh muscles. It also makes it easier to stretch your hips if needed.
The Massage: Second Half
Halfway through the massage, I’ll remove the ankle bolster and lift the blanket slightly so you can change positions. You’ll need to slide down towards the foot of the table so that you’re not in the face cradle, and then roll onto your back. (Sometimes easier said than done, when you’re all relaxed!) I’ll put a bolster under your knees to help prevent low back discomfort.
For the second half of a full body massage, I’ll usually start at your head and work towards your feet. I like to give my hands a quick clean/sanitize so that I don’t get oil or lotion in your hair, and I’m touching your face with clean hands. Unless you don’t like it, or don’t want your hair messed up, I’ll start with a scalp massage.
I may also do some neck and shoulder stretches unless you’ve told me about disc issues or range of motion restrictions. When I stretch your arms/shoulders, I will pull your arm out from under the blankets, then tuck the blanket under your armpit so that it doesn’t slip.
Once I’ve massaged and stretch your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck, I’ll tuck you back in under the blankets and move down to your legs. I’ll do that same “half a diaper” draping so that I can work on the entire front of your legs. Then, I’ll tuck you back in again and move on to finish with your feet (unless you do not want a foot massage).
The Massage: Winding Up
When I’ve finished the last part of your massage, I’ll tuck you back under the blankets. Then, I’ll do a little bit of compression and some light “feather” or “nerve” strokes that soothe the nervous system. This also serves as a kind of “goodbye” and is a gentle cue that the massage is finished. I’ll remove the bolster from under your knees and lower the massage table to a height that is easy to get down from.
I will leave the room to wash my hands and allow you to get off the table at your own pace. Massage helps to lower your blood pressure, which can make some people a little dizzy if you sit up too fast. So, take your time and sit up slowly before hopping off the table. Once you’re up and dressed, you can come on out into the office!
Before You Go
When you come out of the room, I’ll check in to see how you feel, and if any problem areas are feeling better. Some people need to sit for a few minutes and kind of get back into their body before they leave. (“Massage drunk” is a thing!) You can help yourself to a cup of water and a dark chocolate or two (or three).
If you haven’t prepaid for your massage, we’ll get you checked out, and you can schedule your next appointment before you go, so you don’t forget. I accept most forms of payment, including check, cash, credit card, and Apple Pay. I have turned off the “tips” option on the credit card reader because I don’t want people to feel obligated to tip. If you’re someone who absolutely HAS to tip, just plan to bring a little cash! I won’t throw it back at you. 🙂
Massage therapists are required to be licensed in the state of Maine. You can verify a massage therapist’s license status on the state’s website HERE. Choose “Massage Therapy” under the Regulator section and type in the name of the therapist to verify.
DO NOT ask for a happy ending. Don’t even joke about it. This is soliciting prostitution, and any “massage parlor” or “masseuse” that offers that service is likely not licensed and probably a front for sex trafficking. Stay tuned for more on that in another blog post.
Massage therapy is a legitimate form of wellness and health care, and as a massage therapist, I am here to do what I can to help you live a more comfortable, healthy, pain-free life. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your future massage appointment. I look forward to meeting you!