If you have never had a massage, you are probably thinking about all sorts of questions. One of the key thoughts to remember is that massage stimulates the body’s parasympathetic “rest-and-relax” nervous system (the opposite of its sympathetic “fight-or-flight” response), so it counters both physical and mental stresses — giving you a better shot at relaxation and relief from daily life.
Below are some of the most common questions, but do feel free to ask or email others...
I have never had a massage before, what can I expect?
You can expect to have your massage in a safe, nurturing environment. You can expect to feel peaceful, totally relaxed and calm afterward. You can expect to be listened to – you are the one who knows your body. I cannot “fix” you, since you are not broken. I can assist your body in finding its way to relaxation by using massage.
Do I need to make any preparation before I come for a massage?
In the main no but there are a few things to think about:
First of all, make sure it is a good time for you to have a massage: please consider rescheduling your appointment if have a fever, skin irritations (such as impetigo or sunburn), or if you are trying to stabilise a medication (because massage can affect the dosage needed).
Give yourself enough time to arrive on time and relaxed. If you are rushing and arrive stressed, it will take longer to get into a relaxed state.
Are you going to ask me any questions?
Yes. But rest assured it is part of the process to ensure you have the treatment you need and know that anything you say is totally confidential.
Generally, the things I will ask about are:
- Medical conditions
- Areas of concern
- Your level of pain or discomfort on good and bad days
- What helps reduce the pain and what makes it worse
- Contact information
Do I have to take my clothes off?
This is a frequent question that a lot of people want to know, but don’t always ask. You only have to undress to your level of comfort. You will be on the massage table, with sheets and blankets covering you at all times. Only the part of your body being worked on will be exposed, for example arm, leg, and back. If you are not comfortable getting undressed at all, I have techniques that I can use through your clothing. It is always your choice on how much clothing to take off or leave on. You will always be properly draped for your privacy and comfort level.
Don’t rush or worry that that I will walk in on you – I will knock and check you are ready before I entering the massage room.
I’ve never had a massage before – how long does it take?
This is a common inquiry about massage. Most people start with an hour massage. That’s enough time to discover what you need. A half hour is only enough time for a specific area – such as back and neck. A lot of people prefer to come in for an hour and 1/2, as that way they can get the full body massage, with extra time on any problem areas.
Do I need to talk during the massage?
This is totally up to you. Some people do, others go to sleep – its your time, anything is fine. The one point to consider though is to really communicate what you want. If you want deeper pressure do say, if you are too hot or too cold, say, you think of something you haven’t told me then say. I am there to ensure you get the best massage possible for you on that day.
Back ache – will massage help?
“Physical pain is like the alarm system of a house, with chronic back pain, the alarm is malfunctioning. Massage may not be able to turn off the alarm, but it can lower the volume.” Why? Theoretically, the pain signals to the brain are muffled by the competing relaxation signals from the massage, also the client is allowing the therapist to take over and stretch those areas that are assisting the contraction, which creates the pain. However, I would always recommend that a client with lower back pain consider adding core strengthen exercises to create their personal muscular corset
My job is hell and I’m not sleeping – I am soooooooooooooooo stressed
Massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol by up to 50% although studies of massage therapy and sleep quality are few; the findings suggest that massage can promote deeper, less disturbed sleep, especially in people with painful chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia. Massage therapy indirectly promotes good sleep by relieving pain and encouraging relaxation.
Can massage help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
No one knows what causes IBS and it’s a relatively common condition.
A primary benefit of massage for anyone, with or without IBS, is that it decreases the level of tension, anxiety and stress. Managing stress is part of managing IBS.
During massage, an endorphin called serotonin, a natural anti-stress weapon, is released into the body, producing both physical and emotional relaxation. In addition to producing a general feeling of well being, serotonin increases gut motility, a technical term for waste moving forward through the intestine. Abdominal massage, using light pressure strokes in a clockwise direction, also encourages motility. Increased gut motility means less constipation, less bloating and less abdominal pain.
In addition to alleviated abdominal distress issues, stomach massage may also strengthen weak and relaxed abdominal muscles. Massage with gentle circular motion can also release deep muscle spasms, promote internal heat and break down adhesions or scar tissue.
Do ask about a specific abdominal treatment that I offer if this is an issue for you.
Learn more about massage & bodywork
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