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When should I get a massage? 

Any time is a good time to get a massage. You don't need to wait until you're stressed or injured. Too often I see clients who wait until they reach this state to see me. Massage works wonders as preventive care for a person's body and mind. Instead of waiting until your back hurts from overwork or stress, or the headaches that start at the back of your skull begin to pound, or the stress of every day life makes you want to pop yourcork, get a massage before these things happen. A regular massage is a wonderful way to cope with stress, both physical and emotional, and to keep if from causing discomfort or harm to your body. If you've found yourself dealing with a nagging minor injury, sore muscles, or are completely stressed out, find a massage therapist and see what he or she can do for you. First, check out the next question in the FAQ. 

 

When should I NOT get a massage?

There are several contraindications for receiving a massage. If you have any of the following conditions, you should not get a massage:

  • Fever 

  • Any type of infectious disease 

  • Systemic infections 

  • Severe cold 

  • Fracture, bleeding, burns or other acute injury 

  • Liver and kidney diseases 

  • Blood clot 

  • Pregnancy-induced diabetes, toxemia, preeclampsia/eclampsia 

  • High blood pressure (unless under control with medication) 

  • Heart disease 

  • Cancer 

  • Open skin lesions or sores (therapist may work around them if localized) 

The guidelines here are pretty straightforward. You don't want the massage to make an underlying medical condition worse, and you don't want to pass anything contagious to the massage therapist. If you're unsure about whether a minor condition should prohibit you from getting a massage, call your therapist before your appointment. If you have a chronic medical condition, check with your doctor before proceeding on a course of massage therapy. For some illnesses, other bodywork modalities may work well. If you're suffering from fibromyalgia, lupus, and other conditions, try to find a bodyworker who has some experience with these, since they should know what works best under certain conditions. 

What types of massage are there?

There is a wide array of bodywork modalities. The most common, and probably the best known, is Swedish massage. If you see a movie or television show with someone getting a massage, this is usually what they show. The client is undressed, draped with a towel or sheet, oil is placed on the skin, and the muscles are kneaded, rubbed, vibrated, or tapped. 

 

There are many types of Oriental bodywork, Shiatsu and acupressure are the most common. These are often done with the client clothed, and concentrate on applying pressure to different points of the body. The primary body focus of these are energy meridians, and bringing them back into balance. Practitioners of these arts believe that an imbalance in these meridians affect the inner organs of the body and causes illness. Some bodyworkers may combine one of these therapies with a Swedish massage. There are a host of other types of bodywork: cranialsacral, myofacial release, postural or structural therapy (Rolfing, Hellerwork, and others), Reiki, and many, many more. They all have one goal in mind, to bring the body's systems back into balance. The accumulation of stress, misuse and overuse of the muscular-skeleton system, illness, poor posture, and just the normal routines of daily life bring the body out of balance, and some degree of suffering ensues. All bodyworkers try to bring the client back towards the state of natural equilibrium in their bodies. Note that this doesn't usually happen in one session. 

What is NOT INCLUDED in a therapeutic massage?

Anythininappropriate to be deemed "unprofessional"  Let me be direct.  We all know that there are tons of places that we refer to as massage parlors and the last thing you'll get there is a real massage. It is pretty obvious from the ads these places have and the way they present their businesses,  they are offering sex and/or "happy endings". They are not to be confused with therapeutic massage. These massage parlors may have licenses, they may have taken the minimum hours of training to become a professional therapist to get that license, but massage is not what they're selling. That's not the place to go complaining about tight hamstrings. Many phone books have listings for therapeutic massage, and most of the people or businesses listed there are serious bodyworkers, not prostitutes. If you're unsure, make the call and ask. They will be up front with you about what not to expect from the massage. Most practitioners of therapeutic massage call themselves massage therapists, because the titles masseur and masseuse have sexual connotations associated with massage parlors. Massage therapists work out of their studios or offices, not parlors. Don't even think about going to a serious bodyworker under the guise of wanting a therapeutic massage, and expect something sexual to happen. Don't ooh and aah and grind your hips into the table thinking they'll take pity on you and get you off. Don't think because they might catch sight of your genitals that they'll be unable to resist you. Don't ask for anything inappropriate, or indicate that you want sex in any way. Trust me, they can tell if that's what you're after. If you insist on any inappropriate behavior, the therapist is likely to end the session immediately, and you'll be required to pay the full price whether the massage lasted two minutes or an hour. Don't whine, "My penis is a muscle too!" or "I'd be even more relaxed after an orgasm!" Those won't get you anywhere but out the door, and other massage therapists in the area will be warned about you. If you want sex, go someplace that specializes in that. There are plenty of them. A prostitute is the expert in delivering those services. Don't insult a  massage therapist by naughty things from them. With all that said, I'm sure there are readers who will say, but can't massage be part of sex? Of course it can. Be respectful!

 

Where do I find a massage therapist?

Well, you have landed on the page of a highly educated and experienced Neuromuscular Therapist, according to many.  However, people who are happy with their massage therapist are usually eager to recommend them to you. Ask your friends and family, and see who they recommend. If no one you know receives massage, do your research and look for the most credible reviews.  

What if I'm overweight or embarrassed about my body?

This is a common feeling among men and women.  It's very important to remember that no body is perfect and we all have imperfections. I am constantly told that I make my clients feel welcomed and I promise to make you feel as comfortable as I can.  Massage allows for us to be more aware and conscious of changes that need to take place for better health.  I believe this is a big step for anyone and I have seen so many of my overweight clients transform their bodies as they become more accepting and aware.  This is one of the reasons I am in this profession.  I am very passionate about helping people in all areas of life, become happier with who they are.  What a better world we would live in if we could all understand this and learn to encourage each other to better health.  This awareness is on the rise and  I'm happy to be a part of it. 

*Please dont let being overweight or other imperfections keep you from enjoying the experience

Massage therapists have seen bodies in every imaginable shape and size, from young to old, and they're not there trying to judge your physique or ogle your body. They're professionals who have found massage to be a wonderful gift to give to men and women alike, regardless of age and weight, and are proud of what they can offer to people in need of help or just wanting to luxuriate in the sense of touch. 

Does the gender of the massage therapist make a difference?

The short answer is no.In reality, many people are nervous about receiving a massage from one gender or the other. Most women prefer a massage from a woman, and most men prefer a massage from a woman. Some people are more comfortable receiving a massage from a person of the same gender, some from a person of the opposite gender. While no professional wants their services refused based upon their gender, they also realize that if you're too nervous about who is giving you the massage, then you won't be able to relax and enjoy it.

One result from the constant linking of touch or massage with sex, is a thought that hangs in the back of many people's minds that female massage therapists are there to service men's sexual needs, and that male massage therapists are on the prowl trying to bed their female clients. Fortunately this mindset appears on the wane as legitimate massage therapy takes hold and becomes more widespread and accepted. 

What does a massage therapist's license or certification mean?

A license means that a massage therapist has met the requirements and paid the fee to legally practice massage in that area. In some places the massage is regulated by the state, others are regulated by the town or municipality. Many places have no licensing requirements. To get a license, a massage therapist will usually have to have a minimum hours of training at an accredited or accepted school or training center. This varies widely, from 100 hours in some places to over 1000 hours in others. Certification means that the therapist has successfully passed a specific course or test and been granted a certificate to bear out that fact. This may range from courses in pregnancy and neo-natal massage, to different modalities like Rolfing or Hellerwork. There is also a written national certification test for massage therapists. Ask a group of massage therapists about licensing and certification, and you'll get a never-ending argument among them. Some are insistent that licensing and certification are a necessary protection for the public to ensure that every massage therapist has the correct training in massage methods, ethics, contraindications of massage, and understands all the local laws pertaining to massage in their area. Others are just as vociferous that licensing and certification are tools of those who would attempt to control the industry so that they can maximize their profit from it, driving up the prices for everyone, driving therapists out of business, and providing no real protection for consumers. Learning facts and passing a written test says nothing about a massage therapist's palpitation skills, interpersonal skills, personal ethics, or anything else that can't be measured on a written test. Some states that license do insist on an actual evaluation massage before granting that license. If a jurisdiction requires licensing, it also means that a set of laws governing massage exist. Some places still can't get out of the mindset that massage always equals sex. Massage therapists in these areas must have fingerprints and blood tests taken, and might be restricted to doing business in areas zoned for adult entertainment. Other places have laws that control nudity, draping, and even force the consumer to use a same-sex massage therapist. In most cases, these aren't laws that were drawn to protect the consumer, but are anti-sex laws used in an attempt to restrict massage parlors that are really offering sexual services. The number of hours of education required to obtain a license often is also used to make it difficult for sex workers to get a massage license, not to ensure that the therapist is properly educated. So I'll leave it to each person to draw their own conclusion as to what a license or certification means about any massage therapist. The bottom line is that a good recommendation from a therapist's clients actually says more than any piece of paper can. 

 

What happens during a massage?

 During the massage, you will be draped with a towel or sheet.  I usually start you in the "prone" position (face down)  Starting with a Swedish massage to warm up your muscles, is the best way to get your muscles use to my touch.  I will ask you for feedback on what you are feeling and educate you on what I notice as I work to relieve the stress.  It's always important to remember that less talk is best in order to completely relax but communication is also needed to ensure your comfort and for any concerns of pressure.  I dont hessitate to talk with my clients if that is what they like but I also value the quiet, more relaxing sessions for both client  and myself.   It's equally important that the therapist is relaxed.  It should be enjoyable for both parties. 

 

What parts of my body will be massaged?

You can be assured the one area that will not be massaged is the genitals.  Other than this area, I cover everything thoroughly.  I do work the inner thighs, glutes, chest, and abdominals.  I feel these areas are very important and should be addressed for totally relaxation.  I am aware that other therapists tend to skip over a wide range of areas. Although I disagree with this, every therapist has his/her reasons and ways to handle their sessions.  Some therapists only work on the back side.  I dont feel that is an affective massage.  You should know what is best for your needs when seeking a therapist.

 

Do I have to be completely undressed?  

 I prefer my clients to receive a massage draped.   Some of the time,  I'll come back into the room after the client has gotten undressed and on the table, and find them on top of the drape instead of underneath it. I check to make sure that they know they should use it .If the therapist insists on draping, accept it and comply. It's essential to build a bond of trust between the therapist and the client. Neither should be forced to exceed their own comfort level during the massage. The key to all facets of massage is relaxation, and if the client or the therapist is uncomfortable, the benefits of the massage will be lost.  If someone comes in and prefers a bit more coverage, that is absolutely welcomed as well. It's vitally important that you are comfortable and it's perfectly normal to be a bit cautious. 

 

Can I talk during a massage?

The key to a massage is relaxation and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience. Many therapists will discourage you from talking during the massage. They want you to relax, to just let your mind float free, and let the massage transport you to an almost subconscious bliss. It's not uncommon for many people to be more relaxed talking. After all, they're lying undressed on a table with a stranger touching their skin. Talking makes the therapist become more human and personal to them, and having this interaction makes it easier for them to place their trust in the therapist, and therefore make it easier for them to relax. Many clients talk in the initial stages of a massage, and as the massage progresses, they slip farther into a state of total relaxation and become quiet. There are times when you should speak up during a massage. If anything makes you uncomfortable, bring it to the therapist's attention. If you're too cold or too hot, the room is too bright and hard on your eyes, or if you prefer the strokes to be deeper or lighter, mention it to the therapist. Bear in mind that some therapists only do a light massage, so they may not go deeper even if you request it. It is just not their style of massage. Feel free to speak up, if something about the massage isn't working for you. 

 

Will a massage hurt?

That depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light massage that doesn't probe very deep into muscles shouldn't hurt. At the same time, the light massage won't be able to work out any stress that's deep within those muscles. A muscle that is relaxed will be supple and soft and won't hurt when rubbed. Muscles that are tight, and in many cases have been chronically tight for a long time, may have that "good hurt" feeling with a deeper massage. Think of that "good hurt" as the feeling you get when you stretch a sore muscle during exercise or a yawn. Muscles can be very sore from overuse or tightness, and that good hurt can become painful. A sharp pain may indicate a muscle that has been injured and has some sort of inflammation. In this case, you don't want the deep work to continue in this area. A deep massage with tight muscles may leave some residual soreness the next day. Everyone has different thresholds of pain. The depth of a stroke may not be deep enough for one person's liking and may cause pain for another. Some people want the massage as deep as possible regardless of the soreness. Others want something much lighter, more sensual and pleasing, to help them relax rather than deeper work that might be sore. So make your preference known to the therapist, and give feedback at any time during a massage that the depth of the strokes is more than you'd like. 

 

What if a massage wasn't quite what I wanted?

Every massage therapist has their own style, their own approach to massage, the strokes they like to use, and the depth they like to work. Some prefer a more clinical approach, some a more personal approach. Not every client clicks with every massage therapist. The key is to find one who can deliver the type of massage you like best. When you find one you like, stick with them and sing their praises. I've had many massages over the years from both men and women. Some have been astoundingly good, others just so-so. Some have skipped areas that I would have would have preferred to have been massaged. Others have had a quiet, impersonal approach and I prefer it the other way around. This doesn't mean they've given you a bad massage, or that you haven't reaped any benefits from it, just that it wasn't quite what you're looking for. This is one reason why personal recommendations from friends and family can be so valuable. You can get a good sense of the therapist's style from them, and know how well it matches your expectations before you visit them. 

 

How often should I receive a massage?

The answer here depends on the reasons for receiving the massage. If a client comes for some injury relief, and to relieve chronic tightness that is interfering with their daily lives in some way, weekly sessions may be necessary for a while to build on each session's improvement in their relief and healing. For those who use massage as preventive care and managing the daily stress in their lives, once a month is about the norm. They may shorten the time between massages during stressful periods. Some come more often just because they enjoy it that much. 

For most people, the frequency of the massages they receive is limited by their pocketbook. It's an unfortunate fact, but once many people realize the benefits it provides them, and the pleasure they receive from it, they find a way to incorporate a regular session into their budget. 

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