First Massage Jitters
The benefits of massage therapy are all over the press and you’re thinking it’s about time you finally book your first massage. But for some reason you just can’t quite get yourself in the door. Well, you aren’t alone.
It turns out that the first appointment is about as intimidating, for most people, as going to gym class on the first day of junior high. So, we thought we would shed some light on the experience and help you find your comfort zone. Because, quite fortunately, once you get over the massage jitters it’s better than sunshine on a cloudy day!
How to Choose a Spa Wisely
First and foremost you need to eliminate the possibility of ending up in a questionable place. After all you are new to this and you want the environment to be comfortable. Jump online and do some homework. In today’s world a business with good site and good reviews tell it all. If a spa doesn’t have a web presence and a string of positive reviews think twice. Is their page active and up to date? Do they have a receptionist? Do they have specialties?
First Massage – Plan Ahead
It all starts with booking the appointment. Plan ahead, look over your calendar and have a few times in mind that would fit into your schedule. Remember, a good studio is going to be busy so have several options in mind and be flexible. It could take a week or more to get in if you are limited on your availability. Remember when scheduling an appointment you will need to have time to find the location, park, check in and use the facilities- a buffer in your schedule so you don’t show up late and frazzled. Believe me you’ll want to take a minute to relax before your first massage session.
So once you have some idea of your availability call and get a feel for the front desk. Are they friendly? Are they willing to answer questions? Be sure and tell them this is your first massage/spa experience so that they can assist you and make your first time AMAZING!
Keep it SIMPLE
Request a straight forward massage. Swedish massage is typically a good place to start. At The Therapy House we recommend you start with a Cloud 9 session. This style is relaxing and has many great health benefits. If the studio doesn’t have that as a menu item be sure to ask what they recommend for a beginning spa-goer.
It can be very helpful to look over the spa’s website to get a feel for the different types of experiences. But don’t get overwhelmed! There are many options these days as massage is very much in demand. No-one knows the options better than a good receptionist. Look for a place that is willing to fit you with the Right Therapist!
All the Answers to the Questions You’re Scared to Ask
Do I take it all off?
Well, for the most part people do remove ALL their clothing. As therapists we are accustomed to people going “commando”. This is totally accepted but NOT required. We (therapists) are professionals. You will at all times be properly draped. We only uncover the area that we are working on and address only one area at a time. Rest assured your modesty is our main priority.
That being said so is your comfort and the benefit of “going commando”. Therapists are trained in how to address the muscles in the hips, buttocks and thighs…oh and by the way it feels amazing! But it’s your call, if you wold prefer that area not be addressed a silent signal for “hands off” is to keep your undies on.
Do I talk or stay silent during my massage?
This one is completely up to you. And there are two very different schools of thought here:
Theory number one: silence during body work allows the body to rest, release and reconnect at a very deep level. A kind of way of communing with yourself. This is typically recommended, especially, if you are stressed and never get a moment to yourself. In this case consciously remind yourself to take deep breaths and concentrate on relaxing. Your therapist might ask you some questions in the beginning – be sure to answer these so you can set the tone of your massage. But as you quiet yourself your therapist will pick up on your ques as you drift away.
The second theory is that the healing space of massage is your zone. Often body pain is directly connected to emotional pain. You’ve heard the phrase “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders” well this is not just metaphorical. Pain often exhibits physically. Feel free to let your therapist in on the “why” of your stress. If you need someone to talk to your likely to find a hearing ear in a therapist and often talking through emotions helps the body let go as well. Just keep in mind that therapists are there to listen not to advise. That’s a different kind of therapy!
What if the massage is too deep for me?
Massage shouldn’t hurt. It should be firm enough to create a release but not so deep to bruise you or make you wince. A seasoned therapist can typically tell what your tolerance is by the way your muscles respond. If at any time it is too deep for your taste just say, “that’s a little much for me” and they should ease up and reassess your comfort level.
Do I have to tip and if so what is standard?
Tipping in a spa is similar to tipping at a restaurant. If you choose to tip do so according to your level of service. Typically a standard tip for a GOOD massage is 20% of the retail cost of your session. Most spas have an envelope in the room where you can leave cash or the ability to accept a tip in cash or credit card form at the front desk. Leaving a tip is a way of showing the therapist gratitude as well as a type of grade on their performance.
When the session is over what do I do?
When the massage is coming to an end you will notice the therapist slow things down and come to a stop. Once complete the therapist will quietly let you know they are leaving the room. At this point you will seriously NOT want to move! Take a few deep breaths… promise yourself another session in the very near future and wait for the door to close. Peel yourself off the table get dressed and exit the room.
That’s the program. Choose wisely and you will LOVE your first massage. It’s easy, peasy! The best advice I can give is to take the time to find a GREAT Studio/SPA. At The Therapy House we understand that the first massage is a little scary but we’ve got your back! We have your utmost comfort in mind and the reputation to prove it. If you are looking for a professional yet comfortable vibe be sure to give us a call. We will match you to the right therapist and guide you through the entire process. I assure you your body will thank you and we look forward to seeing you!