For years massages have been the perfect Mother’s Day and Valentines gift. Even that perfect thing to experience on vacations, honeymoons, and girl’s weekends. No one can deny that it feels so nice to relax, unwind, and get pampered. I am personally guilty of not needing an excuse to be pampered. Give me some slippers, a glass of cucumber water with a little shortbread cookie, and play some spa music, and I am set!
Typical session rundown I had experienced the past would include: My massage therapist introduces themselves, we discuss any problems or pain I may be feeling, I have my 60-90 minute deep tissue session, and then when the session ends I am sad it is over because I feel so much better. I get redressed and then greeted outside the treatment room door to a glass of water and my massage therapist telling me all about the those pesky knots on my left scapula and the tightness in my IT band. And she (I prefer female therapist) would recommend I come back to see her in two weeks.
Now before I learned the benefits of massage therapy, I would take those recommendations, say thank you, and never prebook another session BECAUSE I, like many people presently, just saw massages as treats or a reward for being awesome. It did not dawn on me that there is a reason why it is called massage therapy. And it was not until that left scapula knot of built up lactic acid was keeping me up all night. And then my tight IT band was putting so much pressure on my back I was taking Advil several times a day. Then the idea of reoccurring massages popped into my head because I remembered what my massage therapist told me. You should never wait until the problem is back and causing you discomfort before you go to receive another massage. You should routinely be working to alleviate the issues.
The big picture is, I think most people would agree that they do make great gifts, treats, or rewards, but the benefits of massage are seen when the service is used routinely. For example, if you go to the gym one day you might walk away feeling great, but you are not instantly deemed healthy or fit after one visit. You have to continue to go to the gym to see results and achieve total wellness. Well it is the same for massage therapy.
There are many massage modalities like: Swedish, Deep tissue, trigger point, lymphatic drainage, hot stone, sports, reflexology, prenatal, and cranial sacral. Remember, not all therapist do every modality and some therapist specialize in certain modalities. When booking your appointment you should be willing to share any current problem areas you are having so you can be placed with the massage therapist that is the best fit for you. I would recommend NOT going with the first available therapist approach unless you need immediate relief. Plus, if the therapist they recommend for you has a two week waiting list…that has to mean they are good and already have an established clientele who are seeing therapeutic results. You can always ask to be put on a cancellation list if you are trying to get in earlier.
Depending on where you go they might ask you to fill out some kind of intake form with medical history so the therapist can familiarize themselves with you, so plan to be a little early for you appointment. Once your therapist takes you back they should review your chart and instruct you how they will be conducting the session including how they will be starting the session, so you will know to lay face up or face down. As far as getting undressed, it is subject to your comfort level. And you should always be covered with nothing exposed (Keep in mind different countries have different practices). During the session you always want to keep a line of open communication, so if the pressure is too much or not enough then you should tell them! And once your time is up and your redressed and exiting the room, your massage therapist will go over some problems you may be having internally and recommend you come back in a certain period of time. I cannot stress this enough, always prebook, do not just call when the pain is back. I made that mistake and lesson well learned. Overtime, your routine massage becomes a maintenance massage, so you might start out going twice a month or maybe even twice a week, but as the problems are being fixed the less you have to come in.
Now, we have all read, seen, or heard horror stories about massages gone wrong. The biggest problem that the massage industry faces is the obvious, you are in a room with a stranger, door closed, naked, vulnerable, and being touched. I have two things for you to keep in mind: there are crummy spas out there who have no therapeutic benefits in mind and there are crummy people out there looking to take advantage of a situation. So do your research. All massage therapist should have completed several hundreds of hours of training in school before taking a state board exam to be certified (that certificate should be present somewhere in the building for you to visible see). Many places these days also run background checks before hiring therapist. Bottomline, if your massage therapist does not present themselves professionally or in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident, then leave. Do not even start the session and put yourself in that situation. I do not say these things to scare anyone or deter them from massage therapy, but it is 2018 and we all need to be fact checking.
For more information on massage therapy go to causeymedaesthetic.com or if you are local to Baton Rouge, stop by our clinic on Highland Road.