Massage Therapy 101: Apprehensions And Concerns For The First-Timer

Health & Medical Blog

If you've been feeling stressed out lately, a great way to release some of the tension is with a massage. However, if you are new to massage therapy, you may have some apprehensions and concerns. Here are three concerns many newbies have when it comes to massage, and how to handle them:

1. I don't feel comfortable with the masseuse seeing my body, what can I do?

A spa or massage practice will never require you to get a massage unclothed. The reason they recommend bare skin is it is easier to work the muscle and maintain evenness with massage strokes (since they can apply oils).

If you do decide to undress, the therapist will leave the room while you undress, get on the massage table and under the provided sheets, and place your head in the headrest. Masseuses use professional draping techniques to give clients modesty. For instance, if you are getting a shoulder massage, the therapist will only fold over the top of the sheet to access those areas for massage. When the massage is finished, the masseuse will fold the sheets back over any exposed areas, then leave the room for you to get back dressed.

If you want to get a massage but you are feeling self-conscious, Reader's Digest has a good article that may change your mind. It's written from the perspective of a masseuse, and shows that they view themselves as caregivers who are non-judgmental about appearances.

2. How do I tell the masseuse I don't like what they're doing?

You may feel guilty questioning the masseuse's techniques for fear of hurting their feelings. Speaking up is better than grimacing through the pain. Every body is different, so masseuses have been trained to do both lighter effleurage strokes—where they glide the hands smoothly across the skin—to deeper tissue techniques with the forearm/elbow. If you already know that you like a lighter pressure, go with a Swedish massage. If you think you want deep pressure, go with trigger point therapy, deep tissue, or a sports massage.

Before you start, tell the masseuse that this is your first time. He or she will start out with a lighter pressure. If you find that you want a deeper pressure, you can tell them any time during the massage and they will adjust accordingly. You should also tell the therapist what specific areas are hurting so they can spend more time working out any knots.

3. Do I need hot stones—do they hurt?

Depending on which practice you attend, hot stone therapy may be a separate choice or it may be included with a deep tissue massage. If you have some serious pain or knots that you want to work out, your masseuse may recommend hot stones.

Hot stones will not hurt if they are applied correctly. The important thing is that your therapist gets some answers beforehand. They should ask if your body temperature generally runs hotter or colder, your age, and any significant medical history. For instance, older people tend to be more sensitive to hot stones, so they are heated at lower temperatures.

Before starting, make sure you ask what the hot stones are being heated in. Slow cookers, microwaves, and other general heating devices that are used for cooking are a big no-no. They heat stones unevenly and can get to unsafe temperatures. The masseuse should use a heating device designed specifically for hot stone therapy. If you are worried about burns, ask the therapist how they will apply the stones. They should start them out on the sheets, so you have that protective layer. Once your body has adjusted, they may then transition to bare skin. Lastly, if you know that you are sensitive to extreme heat but you still want some deeper tissue work, you may want to try cold stone therapy. The cold stones are a great alternative to hot stone therapy, and they can still work out inflammation and break up scar tissue.

Talk with a spa center, like Changes Of Cherry Creek/ Denver's Day Spa, if you have any additional concerns about your first massage. 


5 March 2015

pregnancy, labor and delivery - working with a midwife

Are you pregnant or planning to conceive? If so, it is time to begin learning about the medical professionals that will work with you through the nine months of pregnancy and through the labor and delivery. Many women are unaware of the important role that a midwife plays throughout a pregnancy. Knowing what a midwife does and how having a midwife can help you through what can be a difficult time will help you find one that you will feel comfortable with. My site is filled with information about pregnancy, labor and delivery and working with a midwife to help other soon-to-be mothers make the decisions that are best for their situations.