Touch of Excellence
Excellence in health through informed touch
Frequently Asked Questions

Here's a quick video that covers some of the questions most people have about getting their first massage:

 

 

Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?
Must I be completely undressed?
Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
Will I be covered during the session?
What parts of my body will be massaged?
What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?
What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
I've never done this, can you describe a full session?
What about tipping?



Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?
Your massage or bodywork 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.

Must I be completely undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped during the entire session.

Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
The practitioner will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.

Will I be covered during the session?
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?
A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders.

What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
A relaxing Swedish massage is often a baseline for clients. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate 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 basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. We can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.

What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
Prior to the massage, feel free to ask the practitioner any questions about the technique or the upcoming session. During the massage, make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask.

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. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.

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 is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.

Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.

I've never done this, can you describe a full massage session?
[Many of the details of a session have been covered in the questions above, this is meant to help fill-in any blanks]
You should come in for you appointment a few miuntes early, if possible.  There is an intake form to fill out with contact information and some important health questions (see previous question).  Your practitioner will ask some additional questions - such as your expected results from the session; this is also a good time to ask any questions you may have.  Don't feel embarrased, there are no dumb questions - having questions answered will help you feel less apprehensive and relaxed, and relxaed is always good in a massage.

The practitioner will leave the room to wash up and allow you privacy to disrobe to your level of comfort.  As mentioned above, you can choose how much you care to wear - it is helpful to remove jewlery: watches, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc.  Lie on the table, between the sheets, face up (usually - prior to the session you and your practitioner may decide that a different position will be more effective). The practitioner will return and begin with the session, undraping and working on bosy part at a time.  When one limb is finished it is re-covered and the next part is undraped, this goes on for the whole side of the body.  The practitioner will adjust the headrest and remove any bolsters, he will then hold the sheet to allow you to turn over without concern for twisting up in the sheet or exposing yourself. 

When the massage is completed on the other side of your body, the practitioner will again leave the room to wash up again and allow you to dress.  Take your time getting up from the table!  If you feel like you might need assistance getting up please ask.  After dressing, exit the room and meet with the practitioner back in the recpetion area to pay.

What about tipping?
I personally think there are three ways therapists regard tips:

The first type of therapist is the spa worker or massage school student therapist who sees little (if any, in the case of the student) of the cost of the service.  Tipping for them helps close the difference between what they get from their employer and what they might get in their own practice.

The second type views themselves as heath care providers on par with medical doctors and are dismissive of tipping; Do you ever tip your doctor or dentist?  No, but I do pay him $150 for a 15-minute office visit.

I am of the third type: I own my own business and I set my prices according to what I feel I offer and what the market will support, so I don't feel that clients should feel required to include a tip on top of my fees.  On the other hand, if the client feels that my services were out of this world and wants to give a little extra, I won't turn my nose up at it.

So, in a nutshell: tip if you feel like it, otherwise don't.

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