Many massage therapists offer advice to clients on how to get the most out of each massage therapy session. Let us explore the many possible suggestions clients may receive. The intention of this article is to help clients understand why massage therapists offer such advice.
9 Items Your Clients Should Remember Prior to Receiving a Massage
Before receiving a massage therapy session, your clients should take note of these important items. These “do’s and don’ts,” if you will, should be shared with your clients to ensure their massage therapy sessions are the most effective they can be.
- Stay hygienic. Hygiene matters with any health care treatment, especially involving skin to skin contact. Ensure proper hygiene by showering prior to session. Plan ahead accordingly, especially if outdoor activity, exercise, or heavy labor is planned for the day. A massage therapist uses professional grade media (product) that will be negated by filth upon the body. Clean skin can easily absorb the medicinal components of massage media, including essential oils with medicinal qualities.
- Scents / lotions. Be aware of sensitivities to scents and lotions that a therapist may possess. Excessive scents can trigger allergic reactions counterproductive to the healing environment established by the therapist. Ask the therapist prior to treatment if a certain scent is welcome or not in their practice space.
- Be open about conditions, injuries, state of health. Massage therapists need to know health changes clients possess. Massage therapy directly impacts all body systems including circulatory, nervous, digestive, and muscular. A therapist needs to know changes in a client’s medical conditions, injury status, and overall state of health to be aware of contraindications and modifications to bodywork.
- Do not eat 60 minutes prior to appointment. Shortly after eating a normal sized meal, much of our blood travels to the small intestine, located in our body’s core, so the blood can collect nutrients from food consumed. Since massage will encourage blood flow throughout the body at large, pushing it away from the core will disrupt digestion. Please plan ahead to avoid eating a normal sized meal within an hour of your appointment.
- Show up 5-10 minutes early. Arriving shortly before the appointment time ensures a client will receive the full allocated time for treatment. Consider that each instance of removing clothing to get upon the table and donning clothing upon session end, along with any necessary conversation between therapist and client, will take between 1-2 minutes per instance. Remember that most therapists need to stick to their established times, as clients are booked consecutively throughout the day. Therapists try to avoid large gaps between sessions.
- Be considerate if you can’t make your scheduled appointment. Please do not “no call, no show” your therapist. Most therapists are trained in business courses to charge a client for such instances. No shows equate to no income for a massage therapist which hurts business tremendously. Please contact your massage therapist as soon as you know you will not be able to attend an established appointment time. Keep in mind that the therapist will likely have a cancellation policy to honor.
- Expect an intake before every session. Because a client’s body presents differently every session, it is important for a massage therapist to conduct an intake before each session with a client. The impact of massage therapy sessions is not always instantaneous; rather, there can be changes which occur gradually for days and weeks post treatment. Muscle tension patterns, general integrity of tissue, range of motion, and overall state of health changes week to week. A therapist will keep track of progress and changes over time.
- Massage is not the same each session. Massage therapy sessions change as the general state of the client’s body changes. A therapist will adapt with proper modifications to the changing nature of the client’s state of health. Different styles and techniques will be used that are congruent with the client’s case and condition. Also, be aware that no two therapists will massage alike. The great diversity in training within massage schools encourages variety amongst therapists. Please do not expect two therapists to mirror each other’s technique exactly.
- Massage witnessed as a medical treatment, not merely a service. Massage therapy is an effective means of health care, allowing one to discover relief from systemic and organ related conditions. Medical based practices are abundant in the industry. Please inquire with your massage therapist how s/he may aid in the care of one’s health condition.
5 Things to Remember for After Receiving a Massage
After receiving a massage therapy session, there are also important items your clients should do to ensure their results last longer.
- Do homework assigned by therapist. Stretching, strengthening, movement-based exercises and muscle aid are homework items which may be assigned by massage therapists. The purpose of assigning homework is to present self-care means so clients will witness massage efforts become more effective with longer lasting health gains.
- Remain active. Staying mobile encourages continuous blood circulation, thereby feeding tissues at a healthy rate.
- Increase intake of fluids. Ensure proper intake of fluids, especially water, to keep circulation efforts strong within the body. Avoid drinks with high sugar or caffeine content as these drinks prove harmful and dehydrating in the long run. Also, do not drink alcohol after a massage!
- Check in daily on changes and shifts within the body. As body awareness heightens, one will realize the effects of massage upon their body. Be sure to take note of physical changes witnessed and felt to inform your therapist prior to next session. A therapist needs to know how the physical body is responding to massage efforts as every person may experience different results from touch.
- Be aware of mental and emotional changes. Massage efforts also impact the mental and emotional aspects of self-care. A client may recognize greater clarity and productivity of thought after massage sessions. Also, emotions may be easier to manage after massage sessions. If mental and/or emotional health are challenged, a conversation is welcome with the massage therapist to acknowledge how touch affects one’s psyche and emotions.
Open communication is key between therapist and client. This checklist of “Dos & Don’ts” will ensure massage clients amplify their efforts with their massage therapist.