How to get the most out of your relaxation massage

Relaxation is the gateway to healing and what better way to relax than with a full body massage? Since I specialize in pain relief and more therapeutic types of massage, I thought it could be helpful to talk about relaxation massages so you know what to expect. No surprises.

First, I want to talk a little bit about session length. If you want a full body massage your session should be AT LEAST 60 minutes. An hour for a full body massage is going to be a quick, general all over session possibly even leaving a few parts out. I always ask my clients if there is anything they would like me to leave out in a 60 minute session to spend more time on preferred areas (helloooo neck and shoulders? or a really great scalp massage?). If you don't want to leave anything out, consider going with a 75 or 90 minute session. This allows time for the full body and extra time spent in a few key areas. Time flies when you're on the table..trust me.

So, why do massage therapists say "Undress to your level of comfort"? Although, in many of my other more therapeutic sessions, I work with my clients fully clothed; for relaxation type massages working around/through clothing can be quite cumbersome. If I am able to work on skin, I can use more long gliding strokes that promote relaxation. I also will be able to feel more of what is going on in the body tissues. However, my upmost priority is your comfort. If leaving undergarments or clothing on during your session will help you to relax and feel more secure, I am happy to work around or over them, just understand that there may be a chance of getting lotion or oil on them, and that I will be slightly more limited in what techniques I can perform. I will leave the room while you undress and you can choose to leave as much or as little clothing on as comfortable for you. You will get on the massage table under a sheet, and I will knock before re-entering. You will always be modestly draped and secured under the sheet, until the session has ended and I leave the room for you to dress. 

There is a fine line between what feels good and is too much pressure. Communication is key, especially in the first few times we work together. Over time, I will learn what you prefer, what works for you and where that line is. To dial this in, I will periodically check in with you by asking where my pressure is on a scale of one to ten, and where you would like it to be. Massage should not ever hurt, if you find yourself holding your breath, clenching your jaw or fists this may be a sign that I am using too much pressure. I will usually notice, but please speak up. Too much pressure can be counterproductive to relaxation and releasing the tension, especially if you are tensing up other muscles because you are in pain. Do not ever feel bad about asking me to adjust my pressure, this session is for you and it will never hurt my feelings.  

Practicing mindfulness and being fully present during your session will help you get the most out of your massage. It is much easier for your body to let go of tension when you aren't going over your grocery list in your head. A great was to be present during your session is to focus on your inhales and exhales. Feel the cool air enter your nose and sweep across the back of your throat, feel your lungs expand... You get the idea. Feel the weight of your body on the table and what is going on under my hands. If you feel your self starting to drift off just gently bring yourself back. 

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback during your session, please always feel empowered to tell me. However, please understand that if my answers are short, it is because I am focusing on giving you the best massage. Just like it is important for you to be present, it is even more important for your therapist to be present. I personally, am not the best at multitasking when it comes to talking while focusing. I may ask you questions pertaining to the session, but that will be the extent of my initiating any conversation. I do understand that talking can help some people to feel at ease but it is your choice if you would like to chat. Again, I am here for you, this is your time and your session.

It is common after a massage to feel tired, slightly dazed, or even energized. Please, listen to your body and what it needs. If you are feeling tired take it easy and try to rest. If you feel energized, great. It is always a great practice to take a light walk after your massage to integrate changes, light stretching can also feel nice. I always suggest that you drink extra water after a massage to help prevent soreness, because can be normal to be sore for a day or 2 after a massage. Overall, just be gentle and loving with yourself!