Body Sense

WINTER | 2016

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It's important to consider these questions before you make your appointment because different goals require different treatment methods. Here are some other things to consider as well: • If you want a full-body massage with some extra time on a problem area, 50 minutes may not be enough to accomplish that. • Deeper work usually takes more time, since each layer of muscle must let go before the one under it can be reached. • A chronic injury that has persisted for years may take several sessions to address. Being realistic about your expectations will make your experience better. Prep Work Check out your therapist's website for their bio. Most massage therapists receive the same basic training but develop varied specialties and passions once in practice. Also, look for an online intake form to complete before your appointment. If there isn't an intake form on the website, chances are you'll have one to fill out once you arrive. It's wise to be 10 minutes early for your first appointment so you don't miss out on any massage time doing paperwork. After you've gone over the intake form together and answered a few questions, you should be informed about the plan for your session. If you're unclear about what type of massage you'll receive, ask something like, "So will I be getting a full-body massage or will just my back or other areas be addressed?" Establish a plan with your therapist that you both agree to. If you need clarification about what you should do once your therapist leaves the room, ask to what level you should get undressed. Some techniques can be more fully approached and effective if you completely remove your clothing—but always only undress to your level of comfort; therapists can always adjust their techniques. WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT DURING YOUR SESSION? A full-body Swedish and relaxation massage generally includes neck, back, arms, hands, legs, and feet (left, right, front, and back). This means that each area will receive 3–5 minutes of massage during a 50-minute session. If that doesn't sound like enough time for you, you should be able to book a longer session, add more time to a gift certificate and pay the difference (this should be done when you make your appointment), or request a partial-body massage from your therapist. Common examples of partial- body requests are just the back of the legs and torso or upper body only. You may be asked if you are comfortable having your upper chest and gluteal muscles worked on. Simply be honest about whether work in those areas is OK or if it makes you uncomfortable. Most massages don't include abdominal work, so if that's something you want, you should ask for it. Scalp and face work may also be optional, so be sure to request those if you'll miss them should they be left out. KEEP COMMUNICATING During your massage, ask for what you need. If the pressure doesn't feel effective or hurts too much, don't be shy about asking for changes. Keep communicating until you're satisfied. Every client is different, so if this is your first time working with your therapist, they may not immediately know what feels right to you. If the work on an area of your body you really want addressed feels like it is over but you want more time spent there, ask if there will be more time spent there later on in the massage. If the answer is no, ask for more. This may mean your session plan will change. If your therapist asks for feedback, be honest. Expecting them to know you don't like something is not rational. Telling your therapist anything other than what you think they want to hear may be awkward, but that's how they learn what works for you. Taking the time to consider what you want from a massage and being willing to ask for it pays off. You'll leave feeling good and confident that your time and money were well spent. Receiving the bodywork that's right for you allows you to reap all the therapeutic benefits you deserve to feel your best. B S Cath Cox has been a licensed massage therapist in Colorado since 1999. Her experience includes working in a spa, a franchise, and wellness center environments. She currently provides ashiatsu barefoot massage in private practice. If your therapist asks for feedback, be honest. Expecting them to know you don't like something is not rational. Body Sense 13

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