WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST MASSAGE APPOINTMENT – PART 1 – BEFORE THE MASSAGE
Most people receive massages in a place that is designated for massage. The environments vary, but the most common is a commercial setting, such as a spa, wellness center, or massage clinic. Here at A Compassionate Hart Massage Therapy, we are considered a Professional Massage Clinic. However, massage is becoming increasing common in other settings such as hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. On site chair massage is also offered in environments such as malls or airports, sporting events, or private parties.
This section describes a visit to our office. The experience may be different in other environments.
Before the massage
First of all, make sure it is a good time for you to have a massage. Reschedule your visit if you are starting to feel sick, have skin irritations (such as poison ivy or sunburn), or if you are trying to stabilize your 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.
Generally, first appointments begin with an intake process, starting with a health history. If it is your first appointment to the office, arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow ample time to complete the forms and to discuss with your therapist. Generally, a health history will ask about:
- 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
You will also likely be asked to sign forms that explain your right to privacy such as HIPAA Consent and Disclosure.
You will also be asked to read and sign the Rescheduling Policy.
The massage therapist will review your health history and ask questions. Because massage can affect multiple body systems, such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems, be honest with the massage therapist about your health. You should also let the therapist know about any pharmaceutical drugs or botanical medicines you are taking, because massage can enhance or reduce the effect of pharmaceutical drugs, such as blood pressure medication. Knowing your history allows a therapist to determine if there are any reasons you should avoid massage or a particular technique.
The massage therapist will ask you questions to better design a session that meets your needs and goals within the time allotted. Let the therapist know what areas of your body you would like worked on, if there are any areas to avoid, and if you have any techniques that you would like to use or avoid. If you are concerned about undressing, discuss it with the therapist, who should be able to offer you some options. Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. All information you give is confidential.
The therapist will outline what will happen in the session and then leave the room so you can get comfortable on the massage table.
When you are ready, lie down on the massage table and cover yourself with the sheet or other draping on the table. The therapist will knock before re-entering.
Take some nice deep breaths and settle into the table. Focus on your breathing, in and out and try to leave the day’s “to do” list behind you. It’s not easy, but once the therapist starts working on you, you’ll notice your brain will stop chattering.
Part 2 will cover “What Happens During a Massage.”