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How Should I Prepare to Get a Massage?

Sitting in a sauna before a massage can help you relax.
A man getting a massage.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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Many people seek out massage therapy to treat tension, pain, and stress. Several professional massage organizations agree that massage therapy at least once a month can have positive long term effects, especially if clients prepare to get a massage with care, rather than treating it like an ordinary medical appointment. To get the most out of of the experience, it is an excellent idea to take some time out of your schedule to relax, focus on your body, and make it a special day.

When you prepare to get a massage, the first decision you need to make is what type of massage you would like to get. There are a number of massage therapy options available including traditional Swedish, acupressure, deep tissue, Watsu, and trigger point. Do some reading about the different types of massage therapy and decide which one you think will be best for you. Then seek out a reputable massage therapist or day spa to make an appointment.

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While making the massage appointment, think about other obligations you may have in your schedule. It is not a good idea to schedule a massage in the middle of a busy day — try to get an appointment in the afternoon, for example, so that you can work and then go home afterwards. Better yet, schedule an appointment for a day you are not working at all so that you can prepare before the appointment by relaxing. If possible, schedule a hot tub or sauna before your massage to loosen up your muscles and begin the unwinding process.

On the day of your appointment, prepare to get a massage by eating lightly at least an hour before your session. Having a small amount of food in your stomach will prevent you from feeling hungry without causing you to feel bloated. If you have been physically active, shower and dress in fresh clothing for the comfort of your massage therapist. Set aside time before your appointment to relax, drink some tea or water, and read a book or magazine. You do not want to enter the appointment keyed up from your day.

If this is your first visit to the massage therapist or spa, plan on arriving at least 20 minutes early to fill out a client release form. Many spas will cut into your appointment time if you are running late, so even repeat clients should arrive five to 10 minutes early. Being early for your appointment will also help to reduce feelings of stress and nervousness. Most day spas have a waiting room area; take a few moments in the waiting room to prepare by breathing deeply and relaxing.

Your massage therapist will usually come to collect you for your massage. This is a great time to bring up areas you would like special work on, as well as sensitive spots on your body which you would prefer to avoid. The therapist will show you to the room where you will be working together and step out, allowing you to prepare to get a massage by undressing to your level of comfort and getting settled on the massage table. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and enjoy your massage.

During the massage, communicate with your massage therapist. Make sure that he or she is aware of your comfort level with the intensity of the pressure, and remember that massage should never be painful. You will have a more positive massage experience if you offer feedback to the therapist, who would like to see you leaving the session feeling refreshed and renewed.

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Discuss this Article

StreamFinder
Post 4

How can I prepare appropriately for a pre natal massage? I know that I need to tell the massage therapist ahead of time that I'm pregnant, but is there anything else I need to do?

FirstViolin
Post 3

An excellent point about how to plan your day when you get a massage -- nothing's worse than rushing to a massage and getting all tensed up, then having to get up and rush to something else right afterwards.

As a side note, my favorite school of massage is neuromuscular massage therapy -- what's yours?

TunaLine
Post 2

Although it is a good idea to research some massage therapy techniques, I really wouldn't stress over it.

There's really no way to know exactly what it's going to be like with a certain massage therapist before you go. Bear in mind, massage is not a cut and dried thing. Different massage schools teach different methods of therapeutic massage, and each massage therapist tailors techniques to their own style.

However, it is good to know the difference between say, neuromuscular therapy and a relaxation massage. You don't want to go in for a relaxing massage and come out massaged to within an inch of your life with a deep tissue massage!

janie
Post 1

Is swimming okay after having a sauna?

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