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What To Expect During a Massage or Bodywork Session

While each massage or bodywork session will be unique to the place and the practitioner, here are some things you can expect:

Where Will My Massage or Bodywork Session Take Place? There are many different settings in which you might receive massage or bodywork, from a clinical office to a luxurious spa. But generally your session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.

Who Will Perform The Massage or Bodywork? Your session will be conducted by a professional who has received proper training, often in a variety of techniques. Some massage and bodywork practitioners are licensed by the state - as in Texas - while others are locally regulated. Although no two massages are exactly alike, you may request a certain technique or modality.

Must I Be Completely Undressed? Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, you may decide what amount of clothing you prefer to wear for your own comfort. Be aware that keeping certain clothing items on will affect the massage - i.e. wearing a bra will restrict techniques used for the back and shoulders, underpants may be stained with oil or lotion. Talk to your practitioner about your comfort level beforehand, and keep in mind that you will always be properly draped during the session.

Will The Practitioner Be Present When I Disrobe? Your practitioner will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet and blanket.

Will I Be Covered During The Session? Texas law requires draping. You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.

What Parts Of My Body Will Be Massaged? You and your practitioner will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This and the length of your session will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full-body session will include work on your back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, hips, glutes, legs, and feet.

Will Oil or Lotion Be Used? A light oil or lotion is used in most modalities to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. It should hydrate the skin and be readily absorbed. Be sure to inform your practitioner of any allergies or sensitivities prior to your session so they can be prepared with the appropriate product.

What Will the Massage Or Bodywork Feel Like? It depends on the goals of the session and the techniques used. In a general massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help to calm your nervous system and ease exterior muscle tension. As your body unwinds, pressure may gradually be increased to relax and relieve specific areas of muscular tension. You should communicate with your practitioner immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.

Are There Different Kinds Of Massage And Bodywork? There are numerous types of massage and bodywork. Various techniques utilize different strokes, including kneading, rocking movements, posture and movement reeducation, application of pressure to specific points, passive and active stretching, and more. Ask your practitioner about the methods she or he uses.

How Long Will The Session Last? Most practitioners offer sessions in 30 minute increments. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, for instance the neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet. A one hour session will generally focus on upper or lower body with two to three problem areas. Many people prefer a one and a half to two hour session for a full body treatment with optimal results.

What Should I Do During The Massage Or Bodywork Session? Make yourself comfortable. Your practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as turning over). When your practitioner is moving you, keep your body loose and don't try to "help." Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. A good therapist will follow your cues. Feel free to ask your practitioner questions about massage and bodywork in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.

How Will I Feel After The Massage Or Bodywork Session? Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. Localized soreness is not uncommon in the day or two after if deep tissue or trigger point techniques were used - this is generally likened to a "good" sore, such as the feeling one gets after a workout. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity, which can last for days.

What Are The Benefits Of Massage And Bodywork? Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork are also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety, and create an overall sense of well-being.

Are There Medical Conditions That Would Make Massage Or Bodywork Inadvisable? Yes. That’s why it’s imperative that before you begin your session, your practitioner ask general health questions. This is usually done with a Client Intake Form. It is very important that you inform your practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor’s care for a specific condition, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Many practitioners will require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.

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