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WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR MASSAGE SESSION
(This article is reprinted from the American Massage Therapy Website)

If you haven't had much experience with massage therapy, you might be wondering what to expect. This article will give you some ideas about what takes place during a "typical" massage session.

If it's your first time seeing the massage therapist, he or she will likely ask you some questions. The massage therapist might ask about the reasons you are getting a massage, current physical condition, medical history, life style and stress level, experiences with specific areas of pain, and whether there is any specific need you want addressed during the massage. First and foremost, the massage therapist needs to make sure there aren't any conditions present that rule out having a massage due to any health risks. Second, the massage therapist needs to know what your needs are regarding the massage and be sure both of you are clear about what your expectations and goals for the session are. Third, the information you provide helps the massage therapist determine what techniques to use and how to structure the session.

Next, you will be asked to remove your clothing. The therapist will leave the room providing you privacy while you undress. You should take off only as much as you are comfortable removing. A sheet or towel is provided for draping during the massage. The therapist will uncover only the part of the body being massaged, insuring that modesty is respected at all times. The draping also keeps the person receiving the massage warm. You should also remove any jewelry or other articles that might interfere with the massage.

The massage takes place on a comfortable, padded massage table. The massage therapist will tell you what position to lie in on the table. The table may have some extra attachments or cushions, such as a face rest (which allows you to lie in a face down position without turning your head and neck). If you don't like using any attachments, ask the massage therapist to remove it or not use it.

Expect a peaceful and comfortable environment for the massage. The massage therapist may play music during the massage. Some people find music playing to be relaxing, some find it distracting. If you don't like music playing, ask the massage therapist to change the music or turn the music off.

Before the massage begins, the massage therapist may offer some advice that will improve the quality of your massage. A common one is to breathe, especially if a sensitive area is being massaged.

The massage therapist may use oil or lotion, which reduces drag on the skin while performing the massage strokes. If you are allergic to some oils or lotions, be sure to tell your massage therapist so you both can make sure the ingredients in the oil or lotion do not bother you. Some massage therapists will use a powder instead of oil if you are allergic.

Depending on your needs, the massage therapist will massage either the full body or only specific areas that need attention. For example, general relaxation or stress reduction sessions usually include all the major areas of the body, while a session for a localized injury, pain, or tightness will be focused on a specific area. It is possible to spend most of an entire session on only one area. If there is anything that does not feel comfortable or right or you do not like, you have the right to ask the massage therapist to stop.

After the massage is finished, you will once again be provided with privacy in order to get dressed. If there is time to do so, you may ask the massage therapist any questions you have. The usual length of a session is an hour. A massage session on a table generally should be a minimum of 30 minutes and maximum of 90 minutes.

An exception to the above description would be a seated massage. In this case, you sit in a specially designed massage chair. The chair supports the front of the body, which allows access to most of the body. You remain clothed and oil or lotion is not used. Seated massages are usually shorter sessions that typically run from 10 to 30 minutes. Since the chairs are highly portable, seated massages can take place in a variety of settings, including the workplace.

Please let your massage therapist know in advance if you need to cancel your appointment. Many massage therapists require a 24 hour notice.

This article reprinted from the American Massage Therapy Website

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