If you’re new to massage and bodywork, you may have a few questions… for any not answered here, please contact me.
what are the benefits of massage and Bodywork therapy?
The most common benefits include:
Immune System support
Increased Range of Motion (Flexibility)
I would also note that massage and bodywork teaches us how to receive, in a culture that puts so much emphasis on giving. Taking time for yourself, letting your (physical and mental) guard down in a safe space, can be extremely therapeutic in itself. This learning to “allow” can be transformative for those to whom it does not come naturally.
Additionally, and maybe most importantly, receiving good bodywork gives our body a reset- both in soft tissue tension and alignment. This allows us to move freely, pain free- something those in chronic pain have not done in months to years. This not only makes a huge impact on one’s movement patterns for days to weeks after the appointment, but emotionally and spiritually, we are no longer as burdened in our bodies with constant pain, making space for renewed energy and a more positive outlook.
what can i expect during my first appointment?
I will have paperwork (just 2 pages!) waiting for you to complete, asking some brief information on you and your health history, along with informed consent for massage therapy. Once you’re ready, we’ll have a consultation in the private treatment room to go over your health, goals for treatment, and any concerns or questions you may have. From this we can decide what modalities (types of massage and bodywork) are needed to best suit your body that day.
I will leave the room while you undress to your most comfortable level and lay down on the table. Sheets and blankets will cover you at all times, apart from the area of the body I’m working on. During the session it is completely up to you whether we talk, or you can drift off in your mind (even to sleep if you prefer!) At any point in the session, if you are not absolutely comfortable, whether it be with the depth of massage, bolstering, or temperature, you are encouraged to let me know and we will modify as needed.
After the session I will leave the room, allowing you to spend a few moments to come back to the world and dress. Water and follow-up consult will be provided prior to payment.
how often should I get bodywork?
This will always depend most on your budget- both financial and time. I have clients I see weekly, and some only once a year. Everyone’s body is unique, and you may find your own schedule that works best for your wellbeing. The average massage schedule for my clients is every 4 weeks; however, many begin with weekly massages to undo chronic tension patterns, and over the course of a few months space appointments out until they hit the monthly maintenance schedule.
Should I take all my clothes off or just some?
Short answer: The less you are wearing, nothing being best, the better your experience will be and the easier I can get to areas of concern and connect your muscular and fascial chains in single strokes.
Long answer: My standard instruction is “undress to your most comfortable.” This is because, even with my preference stated previously, if you are not comfortable being naked, even in only underwear, during a massage, you will be worried and stressed and that is completely counter to the goal of massage. It is my job, over time, to gain your trust with secure draping and professionalism, to where you will build up to wearing less while receiving treatment. I will occasionally suggest to someone to move an article of clothing away from an area I need to work on, if the area is one that has been requested to receive work (examples would be: boxer waist band for low back/SI joint issues, or bra strap for mid back tightness.)
How do I find the best-fit Therapist for me?
(This answer comes from a blog post I wrote in 2017, while working at Refreshology Aesthetics & Massage Therapy in Greenville, NC)
All too often I have clients come to me with stories of how their last massage was less-than-perfect (or worse!) While there may be some inexperienced bodyworkers out there, I think the problem usually is that the therapists were just a poor fit for these particular clients’ needs; even in cases where a client does some homework, looking at reviews and asking friends for recommendations, if they don’t assert-or know- their specific needs, they may find that the massage session falls short of addressing them.
So, how do you find a great massage therapist for you?
Know your needs, and how to explain them. Some questions to ask yourself prior to your search:
Why am I seeking massage therapy?
Do you simply need to relax (physically or emotionally), or are you looking for bodywork to manage chronic pain, enhance recovery from injury, prevent neuromuscular pain from overuse, etc.
What areas of my body do I want worked on?
Are you looking for a full body massage for maintaining general health, or do you have specific problem areas that will require the therapist to spend all (or the lion’s share) of the massage on one area?
What is my experience with massage?
Are you looking for a specific modality (type of bodywork) or have you had a negative experience in the past with a specific modality?
What level of pressure/depth is therapeutic to my body?
Some do not like the soreness deep tissue can cause the day after a massage, while others may have pain in the deeper muscle layers and will not gain the same benefit from lighter work
How do I prioritize bodywork in my budget? How often am I planning to receive massage therapy?
First of all, paying for one session with your best-fit therapist is a better deal than going for a cheap alternative, not feeling better, and having to make another appointment with someone else. Also, the idea of ‘you get what you pay for’ is not always correct- if a therapist is on either extreme end of the pricing spectrum, it’s worth questioning. With that said, look at what you can afford, and factor in whether you are looking to spend this amount monthly, or if you are the type to wait until you are in an SOS situation and maybe spend this amount 3-5 times a year.
Does my schedule allow flexibility, or do I need a specific day/time?
Therapists (typically) are neither available 7 days a week, nor at all times on any given day. If you need a specific day and time, keep that in mind when searching for a therapist, it will make regular scheduling an option for you.
How does the distance from my home/work affect my stress level and ability to keep appointments?
Consider your commute, as well as what the traffic may be like at the time you would like to make appointments- is it feasible for you to be on time? Waiting in traffic when you are late to an appointment can cause additional stress, which is only harming your body. Alternatively, finding a great therapist may make being on the road an additional 10-20 minutes completely worth the trip.
Research and ask for recommendations based on your particular needs.
Asking friends, family, and coworkers can be a great way to find a massage therapist, but if their needs are not yours, you may come away from a session lacking results. Be open about why you are seeking bodywork, and ask them why they sought massage and what they gained from their session with a particular therapist.
If you are seeking massage for a medical issue, ask your doctor during your next appointment if they know of any therapists who specialize in your needs that they would recommend.
Check out the website and/or Facebook page of any prospective therapist or massage therapy office. Some things to look for are:
About us- do they highlight individual therapists and list their credentials, experience, and modalities?
Do they have a blog? Do the blog topics relate to your interests/needs?
Are the photos of the business’ actual office or stock photos? If real, you can get a feel of what the space looks like and the clientele they are serving.
If it’s a business rather than a private practice, is it owned by a massage therapist? This can give you a sense of the priorities of the business, as those owned by therapists typically include a consultation time in addition to the treatment time- allowing your needs and goals to be discussed and addressed, without cutting into your actual bodywork time.
Once you’ve found a promising lead, give them a call! It’s worth your while to be a little high-maintenance with any potential therapists, especially if you have specific conditions that need addressing. If you are going to an office with multiple therapists, ask the receptionist or manager who would fit your needs best. It is in everyone’s best interest that you have a great experience!