Frequently Asked Massage Therapy Questions
What I’d like all my clients to know:
This is YOUR session - it’s all about YOU, and I want you to get the most benefit possible from our time together, so speak up! If you’re uncomfortable for any reason or just want something adjusted; different pressure, more time on an area , different position, tilt the face-cradle, shift the leg bolster, don’t like the music or if you are too hot or too cold - let me know. I can easily make an adjustment that will make your session more enjoyable and relaxing. So don’t hesitate to communicate - I’m happy to accommodate your requests and you will have a better session.
What to expect during your first session:
Please arrive about ten minutes early for your first appointment. There is a short new-client intake form required by the State of Texas which should take about three minutes to complete. This is where you record any past or present injuries, and other physical conditions I should be made aware of. You may also download the PDF form, print and complete it at home. Arriving a bit early gives you time to complete paperwork, visit the restroom and to relax. Pro Tip: this is a great time to switch your cell phone to silent mode.
We’ll spend a couple of minutes discussing the intake form, which areas you would like worked on or avoided, if there are any conditions needing to be addressed, techniques to be used, your draping preference and determining if there are any contraindications for massage.
If you choose to undress for your session, I’ll step out of the room to give you privacy while you undress as much or as little as you’d like, then you’ll settle onto the comfortable, heated massage table under the fresh top sheet and I’ll knock before re-entering. For conservative draping sessions, only the body part being worked on is exposed and nothing is uncovered without your permission.
If at any time you’re at all uncomfortable, please let me know and we’ll adjust the table position, technique, temperature, draping, music or whatever is needed to make your session more enjoyable and relaxing.
At the end of your session I’ll leave a hot hand towel for your use, step out of the room to allow you privacy to redress, offer you a bottle of water, address any questions you may have and schedule your next appointment.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?
Your appointment time is reserved just for you. More than 24-hours in advance you may call, text, email or change your appointment online. Kindly provide as much notice as possible when you need to change an appointment. I understand that life complications and unexpected illnesses happen. If you feel you’re coming down with a cold, flu or running a fever, we need to reschedule your session and I’ll work with you on late cancelation fees in the case of illness. But a late cancellation or missed appointment leaves a hole in the schedule that could have been filled by another client. As such, I require 24-hours’ notice for any cancellations or changes to your appointment Up to full payment may be required for no-shows or late cancellations.
Arriving late for an appointment:
If you arrive late for a service, I may have to shorten the length of treatment so as to not impact my next scheduled client’s time. You are still responsible for the full session fee.
Payment - Credit Cards, Insurance and FSA Flex Accounts:
Full payment is expected at time of service. I accept cash and major credit cards. If you have a Health Care Flex Spending Account with an attached MasterCard or Visa, I can accept that HCFSA card for payment, in most cases. Insurance reimbursement has become more complicated and much more restrictive in recent years. I do not accept or file Health Insurance. However, I can provide a medical receipt which you can file with your insurance provider to make a reimbursement claim.
Should I tip?
As an independent Massage Therapist I accept tips. I work to keep my session prices below market to make massage as affordable as possible to a wide range of clients. I feel passionate about the ability of therapeutic bodywork to be healing, restorative and transformative. While never expected, tips and gratuities are sincerely appreciated.
Do you work on men, women, kids? Who is your typical client?
I work with a wide range of clients from all walks of life - male, female and transgender individuals. My clients and clinic patients range in age from 6 to 98 years old. I’ve worked on professional athletes from the NFL, PGA and NBA and on senior citizens recovering post-op from a procedure. Many of my clients are health care professionals - doctors, nurses, dentists, medical technicians and massage therapists. Others have high-stress jobs in finance, IT and management. I do my best to treat every person on my table with equal respect and adapt a wide range of techniques to meet their individual needs and health conditions regardless of where they are in their walk in life.
Do I have to be completely undressed?
No, not at all. Most massage techniques require skin contact and clients looking for relaxation or stress reduction are encouraged to disrobe to their comfort level - this will allow the use of lotions, warm oil and more soothing massage techniques. I generally use conservative draping, so only the area being worked on is exposed. About half of my clients choose to completely undress, others will leave on their underwear and about a quarter of my clients wear loose clothing for their sessions. Some massage techniques, such as Thai Yoga and Sports Stretching, are more comfortably performed through soft, loose-fitting workout clothing. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and able to relax. People have a wide range of modesty and I can adapt my techniques to your level of dress.
What do I do during a massage treatment?
Make yourself comfortable. If I need to adjust your position, I’ll either gently move you or ask you to move, as needed. Otherwise, change your position at any time to make yourself more comfortable. Many people close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It's up to you. It is your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
How long will a massage treatment last?
A typical full-body massage treatment session is 90-minutes. This allows time for both a relaxing and therapeutic session, incorporating stretching and full-body work. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Each session includes about 5 minutes for the pre-interview, undressing and about 5 minutes at the end for you to re-dress. Always allow time for relaxation prior to and after the session.
Will the massage hurt?
This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light, relaxing massage that doesn't probe very deep into the muscles, shouldn't hurt. That being said, there is a 'feels good' hurt and an 'ouch, stop it' hurt. A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should stay in the 'feels good' hurt range.
Some techniques such as scar-release or TMJ work are uncomfortable, but we’ll always work within your tolerance - you’re in charge - please communicate. Pain can be an indication that the muscle is possibly injured or inflamed and pressure should be adjusted. Also, pain can cause you to tighten up and negate the relaxing effects of the massage. The most effective and deepest massage always works with your body's natural response, not against it.
What if I’m ticklish?
I’ve worked with many people who were ticklish and we can vary the pressure and depth of the massage strokes so that you won’t feel tickled.
How often should I get a massage?
"Some is better than none." What does that mean? Well, it varies from person to person and depends upon your goals for massage. If you are just looking for occasional relaxation, then a session every 3-6 weeks may be fine for you. If you have a high level of stress in your life, are treating an injury or are managing a long term condition then more frequent sessions are recommended. The key is to note how many symptoms you feel between sessions, and adjust accordingly. We’ll discuss the frequency of sessions after your treatment once I have a better hands-on understanding of your particular muscular issues.
Resolving a pain issue: When the goal is corrective therapy to address acute pain, flexibility or to treat a long-term condition I ask clients to commit to about three sessions close together, usually about a week apart so that each session can build upon the previous one. This dramatically improves client outcomes, and allows us to address painful problems in a shorter time frame. After a few sessions we’ll evaluate progress and adjust the session frequency.
Chronic issues: When working to lessen the effects of a chronic (long term) pain issue I usually begin with a few sessions close together then increase the time between visits as we move into a maintenance and pain prevention program of 1 or 2 sessions a month, depending upon how you feel between sessions.
Can I talk during my session?
Sure, if you'd like to talk go right ahead. The important thing to remember is that this treatment is all about you relaxing. Many people feel more relaxed starting off talking, and as the massage progresses, enter quiet states of relaxation. I encourage you to rest at ease, let your mind float free and enter a state of massage bliss. I can also take you through some breathing or meditation exercises. There are times when you need to speak up. If there is something making you uncomfortable or if you just want something done differently please let me know.
Do I have to listen to whale calls or flutes during my massage?
No. Not at all. I have a large variety of music and streaming services and can play whatever you’d like to hear. Many of my regular clients have their own music channels. Studies have shown that music under 60 beats-per-minute has a calming, relaxing effect on the body and can enhance your massage experience. Any music you like to listen to while you relax can be played during your massage session.
How will I feel after my massage treatment?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience a significant decrease or freedom from long-term aches and pains. Many feel a little slowed down for a short period and then notice an increase in energy, heightened awareness and increased productivity which can last for days. If you received a deep massage, you may be slightly sore the next day - much like a good workout at the gym. Sometimes a hot shower or a soak in the tub can ease this soreness. After your session you should increase your water intake a bit. Just a glass or two more than normal is usually fine. This helps keep your body's tissues hydrated and healthy.
When should I not get a massage?
There are a few conditions which would prevent you from enjoying the massage. You should not book a massage if you have a fever, cold/flu or contagious skin infection.
There are many other conditions in which I may need to adapt techniques (e.g. arthritis or osteoporosis, recent injuries or surgeries) or to avoid an area completely (e.g. cuts or burns). With some conditions, it is a good idea to get an approval from your physician before you receive massage (cancer, certain heart conditions, pregnancy). This doesn't mean you can't get a massage. But it's always better to err on the side of caution.
What if I get an erection during my massage?
Sometimes men get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic, full body massage. Touch administered to any part of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can result in a partial or complete erection. It happens and it’s normal.
An educated, professional massage therapist understands this and it will not be an issue for them. If you are still concerned, I recommend wearing more fitted underwear (briefs or boxer briefs) which provide more support than traditional boxers.
What is corrective work?
Corrective work is massage with the intention of changing something. For example, you might come in with shoulder pain: I would assess your body, look and feel for asymmetries and imbalance and then, determine which techniques I’d use. Some massage techniques are called structural, which means that they try to change the structure of your body – e.g. level your hips or help your shoulder rotate a different way. A corrective massage would work in the realm of those techniques. I use corrective techniques in the majority of my sessions.
How long do the effects of a massage last?
The duration of the effects of a massage vary greatly from person to person depending on your physical and mental condition, activities, ability to relax, and ability to heal. If you are receiving massage to help heal injury or to get rid of chronic pain, you usually need to receive more frequent treatment until you reach that goal. Our clinic will often assign home-care and exercises as part of your healing program. Compliance with these assignments will help the effects of the massage last.
If you are receiving massage for prevention, health maintenance, or just to feel better, you have more leeway in how often you receive massage. The effects of regular massage are cumulative. A massage every few weeks can make a big difference in your overall health and tension levels. Even a monthly massage is beneficial. Make regular massage part of your health maintenance program (along with good nutrition and exercise), and you’ll feel better.
Can massage help my specific condition?
Massage has scientifically-proven effects for many kinds of muscular issues, has significant impacts for things like depression and headaches, and is a great way to manage stress. Please contact me about your specific condition, and to see how massage might help you.
One caveat: If you haven't been in before, the answer I can provide at this stage is pretty general. Every person I see has a unique mix of issues - and therefore, a unique response to massage. Because of this, I can't always predict your outcomes with certainty, or how many sessions it might take to get you to where you want to be. On your first visit, we will get a medical history, do assessments, and hands-on work. Over your first couple of sessions, we will monitor the impacts of massage for you, and make adjustments accordingly. All of these things will help give more specific, informed answers that are relevant to your exact situation.
I think I'm coming down with a cold; will getting a massage help me to fight it off?
No. Massage can be taxing to an over-burdened immune system. Massage causes body-wide changes. And it requires your immune system to expend energy to adapt to those changes, even though they are positive ones. Getting a massage at a pivotal time like this is likely to result in a more severe and long-lasting cold. If you are fighting a cold, a better strategy would be extra rest, and gentle de-stressing (ex. stretching and meditation.)
Equally as important is the safety and well-being of your massage practitioner and our other clients. Many of our other clients have compromised immune systems from long-term health issues. Meaning, what is a small cold for you, can quickly become a serious and life threatening issue for them. A good rule of thumb: people are typically contagious 24 hours before symptoms begin, and remain that way until 5-7 days after onset.
If you think you might be getting sick and already have an appointment, please cancel or reschedule the appointment.
I'm feeling sore after my massage. Did something go wrong? What can I do about it?
Sometimes people are sore for a day or two after their massage, or in rare cases, they may even feel worse for a short period of adjustment. Typically the soreness fades in 1 to 2 days, and they'll find that their issue is improved. Icing the sore area can reduce the symptoms and duration. Be sure to tell me about the issue at your next session. It's something we can take into consideration as we create your treatment plan.