Are you considering massage therapy for the first time?
Here is some helpful information to give you an overview of a typical treatment session. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Natural Balance Massage Therapy Centre.
What are some of the types of massages?
Swedish massage is what many people think of when massage is mentioned. Techniques include long flowing strokes, deep kneading, surface frictions, light tappings and joint movements.
Massage therapists are trained in specialized techniques which they may use in combination with their regular massage. For example, there are special techniques to relieve painful trigger points, relax contracted fascia (the muscles’ protective coverings), realign and heal injured tissue, aid lymphatic drainage, or restore the natural balance and flow of energy in the body.
What is a massage therapist?
The term “Massage Therapist” is a protected title in Ontario, reserved for those who have completed at least 2,200 hours of education and passed a provincially set written and oral exam. A massage therapist’s knowledge includes a variety of bodywork techniques, extensive anatomy and physiology, and knowledge of when massage is or is not appropriate.
The practice of massage therapy in Ontario is regulated by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. When you are seeking massage treatments, ask for proof of registration identifying a government-licensed therapist.
What is the first appointment like?
Your massage therapist will begin by asking you general health questions, since there are some conditions for which massage is not appropriate.
For a full-body massage, most people undress completely, though you may choose to wear underwear. Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress, and you are always covered with a sheet, except for the area currently being treated.
You will relax on a padded table designed for stability and comfort. Your massage therapist will offer cushions and an adjustable face rest for support. The room will be warm and quiet, often with music to create a relaxing environment.
It is important to remember that you are in control of your treatment, and if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the treatment, your therapist expects you to voice your concerns.
What should I do during a massage?
Make sure you are comfortable. If your therapist wants to adjust your position, he/she will tell you what is needed. Otherwise, you can change your position at any time to make yourself more comfortable.
Deep, natural breaths can help you relax. In fact, the desire to sigh or take deep breaths is a sign that you are now relaxing.
How will a massage feel?
Massage on healthy tissue feels good. The normal response is to slow down, breathe deeply, and relax.
Your massage therapist will begin using a lighter touch, preparing you for deeper pressure. The most effective and deepest massage works with the body’s natural responses, not against them. Working in the area of injury or chronic pain may at first cause some discomfort, which usually lessens as the treatment progresses.
Your massage therapist knows how to minimize pain, and will work carefully within what feels right to you. Always tell your therapist if you feel discomfort so he/she can adjust.
It is important to remember that you are in control of your treatment and if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of the treatment, your therapist expects you to voice your concerns.
How long is a session?
An hour is a common session length. This gives time for a deeply relaxing full-body massage, or more in-depth work on a particular area like the back, neck and shoulders. A forty-five minute treatment can be an excellent introduction to bodywork, with plenty of time for a specific area such as back, legs and feet. An hour and a half is usually enough time to address the whole body, with special attention to a problem area.
What should I expect afterwards?
Massage and bodywork can be profoundly relaxing, affecting all your body’s systems. Take a moment to slowly reorient yourself before getting up.
After a session, most people feel very relaxed. Many experience freedom from aches and pains that have built up over months of tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience an increase in energy that can last for several days.
However, with a deep treatment, some people may react with symptoms of tenderness in the area that was treated, which may last a day or so. This is a normal reaction. However, if you are concerned, don’t hesitate to contact your therapist.
Sometimes you may not feel dramatic results right away. Watch for changes over the next few days, such as pain relief, increased mobility, or reduced stress.