Frequently Asked Questions
First massage? Don’t worry! You’ll love it! And to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible, I have done my best to address any questions you may have below!
Your massage is just that: Yours!
I will design your session around your needs while using my education & experience to advise you, but ultimately, you’re in charge. If at any point in the session, you need to ask a question, the pressure is too much or not enough, you want me to focus on a different area, you are too hot or cold, or you don’t like the music playing, please don’t hesitate to speak up!
What should I expect in my first session?
There are 3 forms I require each new patient to complete. Once you have filled these out, I’ll spend a few minutes asking you basic diagnostic questions regarding your primary & secondary complaints to determine what kind of treatment plan to create with you. For the safety of both the client & practitioner, it is important to be honest & thorough with the intake process, including any & all medications, surgeries, accidents, or repetitive daily motions, as these all play a crucial role in the current state of your body.
Even minor things that may seem irrelevant now, years after they took place, are still important. The body remembers everything it has gone through & may generate new behavioral patterns, scar tissue, limitations, & other coping mechanisms that may affect the surrounding structures without you even noticing.
Do I have to be completely undressed?
After the intake process, I will leave the room & you will be given complete privacy to undress to your level of comfort. It is common for people to leave underwear on. The priority is that you feel safe. Some people even leave their socks on because they do not like having their feet exposed (if you are ticklish, please let me know – I have specific techniques I can use to approach sensitive feet). This is perfectly fine as well. I want you to be as comfortable as possible within the treatment room. You will be covered by a sheet and blanket at all times and I will only uncover the part of the body that I am working on. At no point in the session will your breasts or genitals be exposed. Please notify me if you do not want gluteal work done.
And don’t worry about whether or not you’re “in shape”, your legs are shaved, you have dry feet, etc. I have worked on several thousand bodies in my career, including many different body types, & view them all as equally beautiful canvases.
*If you are not comfortable with undressing at all, clothed table or chair massage is also an option!
What do I do during the massage?
Your main job is to relax. Let me do the rest. If you need to move to make yourself more comfortable, let me know before moving. It is important to keep your muscles inactive & relaxed, especially for deep tissue work.
Am I allowed to talk?
Absolutely! If you want to chit chat & catch up during the session, that’s great! The only issue here is that some people are very animated & talk with their whole body! I may ask you at certain points to take a break if it is causing your muscles to be too active. And if you want complete silence & maybe even to catch a few ZZZ’s, feel free! You won’t be the first person to snore, or even drool, on my table!
How long is the massage treatment?
My minimum session length is 60 minutes. I will make some exceptions if the table is already set up for a regular session & someone else would like to add a 30 minute massage. 2 hour sessions are available with prior approval.
Will the massage hurt?
Your massage should not be painful, unless it is the “good kind of pain”. If you are writhing on the table & having a difficult time breathing, then we need to find a better level of pressure for you. If your muscles are tensing up, I will assume that you are in pain, & it is crucial for you to be honest. There IS such a thing as too much pressure. Each muscle has a different pressure tolerance, & what was OK for your back might be too intense for your legs (this is common!). In the same token, if the pressure is too light, feel free to keep asking for more until we find the right amount for you. I will keep adjusting until I find the pressure that is perfect.
Will I be sore the next day?
It is a possibility. Soreness following massage can be attributed to dehydration, so please take preemptive measures & drink a few glasses of water an hour or 2 before your massage (so as to avoid having to pee during your session!) as well as several more after. This will help to flush any toxins that have been released that may cause you to feel ill or sore. Also, please take into consideration avoiding things like coffee, tea, soda, & alcohol, which are diuretics that induce dehydration.
Here is a well written document that will explain in better detail what causes soreness after a massage. If you would like more information, feel free to ask!
For more information please read this article on Toxin Release.
And if you do experience soreness the next day, I recommend a hot bath with Epsom salts.
Will massage fix me?
This is a trick question. It will help to correct structural misalignment, alleviate pain & tension, relieve stress, & remind your body how it is supposed to work. Depending on your particular issues, these results tend to last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks, on average. However, if your daily habits encourage misalignment – spending long hours at the computer without taking a break to stretch, wearing high heels daily, carrying a heavy backpack or small child, using one side more dominantly than the other – your symptoms may return. I generally assign some stretches or strengthening exercises to address these issues. Without a change in habitual pattern, you may not see the progress you would like.
Chaos strikes the day of my appointment. I’m a crying mess. Should I cancel my massage?
You are absolutely welcome to cry the entire session if that is what you need to do. Sometimes that is the best time to be on the receiving end of therapeutic touch. While I am not a licensed psychologist, many people bring their problems to me. I will listen & do my best to help you find peace in the moment. I provide a safe environment & guarantee that everything which transpires in your session remains confidential.
Do I have to listen to whale songs & pan pipe music?
Definitely not. Unless you want to. I have several Pandora stations at the ready & am always willing to create a new station specifically for you, so long as it promotes a relaxing environment. Some of my clients are the most relaxed while listening to heavy metal & I am quite alright with that as well.
Am I supposed to tip?
That is completely up to you. Tips are not expected but are greatly appreciated. The standard tip amounts I receive fall in the 10%-30% range.
But please know that whether or not you tip will have absolutely no influence on the quality of your massage. And if you would like a longer session length but it means you can’t afford a tip, no problem! I would rather give you the session length you want!
When is massage a bad idea?
If you have recently been severely injured & suspect a broken bone or torn ligament, I would want a doctor’s note before scheduling a massage.
If you are sick, experiencing fever, cold or flu symptoms, or it feels like your body is fighting a bug, massage is not recommended. In some cases, when your immune system is compromised, getting a massage will actually cause you to become sick due to the increase of toxins circulating in your body. It is also crucial to notify me of any swelling, bumps, rashes, red marks, open wounds, or changes to your skin. If you have a contagious infection, we will need to reschedule your appointment.
Can I get a massage if I am pregnant?
Receiving a massage while pregnant can be a great source of relief and relaxation. Depending on how far along you are, we can use body pillows to create a side-lying support system. There are certain cautionary areas that we will need to avoid that could be dangerous for you and baby, as well as levels of depth and pressure. I will not apply deep pressure to feet, ankles, arm or kneepits, or the sacral (low back) area. All that aside, prenatal massage can help reduce swelling, relieve strain, & give the two of you a peaceful bonding experience.
What happens if I get an erection during the massage?
Sometimes men get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage. For some, it is simply a natural reaction. Yet, men commonly avoid massage for fear this will happen to them. Or, they get a massage but are unable to relax because of this fear. But there is no reason to be embarrassed.
Scientific explanation: Touch administered to any part of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), also known as the “rest and digest” or “feed and breed” system, which is responsible for the stimulation of activities such as digestion, salivation, urination, defecation, lacrimation (crying), and sexual arousal. When activated, the PNS slows the heart rate, redirects blood flow, and releases a molecule known as nitrogen oxide, which causes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels), resulting in a partial or complete erection without the awareness of the client. In most cases, the session can continue without needing to address it.
*However, if I feel that the session has turned sexual for the client, regardless of gender or orientation, I will stop the session to clarify the intent of the client, & may decide to end the session immediately. Any joking made in regards to a happy ending will also result in the termination of the session.
If you are still concerned, I recommend wearing more fitted underwear (briefs or boxer briefs) which provide more support than traditional boxers, & request to not have work done on upper legs or gluts.
Can I work out after my massage?
Professionally, I do not recommend it. It is best to allow 24 hours after a deep tissue massage for your body to repair & for the soft tissues to adjust to the new patterns created by the massage. Light exercise such as walking, yoga, & swimming are fine.
How will I feel after my massage?
It is common to find yourself in a tranquil state, or what I like to call “massage high”, after your session. You may feel tingly, sedated, & loopy, as well as have trouble concentrating, walking, & maintaining balance. You may want to take a moment to center before driving or returning to your day. Depending on the intensity level of the work we do, you may feel sore for up to a day or 2 after the session. It is important to stay well hydrated after the massage and keep your level of physical activity low while your body adjusts.
If you have any other questions prior to your massage, feel free to e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.