Q: Will I Be Naked During My Massage?
A: No matter what type of massage you receive, you’re in charge of how much you undress during your massage therapy session. Talk with your practitioner before your massage and specify the areas of your body on which you want them to work—and which to avoid. Your massage therapist will only expose the parts of your body they’re working on—never your breasts or genitals. If you feel uncomfortable with your massage, you can pause or stop it at any time.
Before your massage, your therapist will give you a sheet to cover yourself with and allow you to undress privately and employ proper “draping” techniques once they begin your massage.
Additionally, it should be noted that not all massage and bodywork techniques require the client to undress.
Q: What’s the Difference Between Massage Therapy and Bodywork Therapy?
A: Both massage and bodywork therapists manipulate their clients’ soft tissues to promote and maintain health. Though these practices have a great deal in common, bodyworkers tend to focus on pain relief and restoring body function. Massage therapists can also help clients meet these goals but place a greater emphasis on relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-being.
Q: Does My Health Insurance Cover Massage Therapy?
A: Some insurers cover alternative therapies like massage, chiropractic care, and acupuncture. However, you may face higher out-of-pocket expenses than one might expect. Before making your first massage appointment, check with your insurer and your therapist to make sure you’re covered. Ask if you need a prescription or a referral from your physician, if you must pay a deductible or a copay, or if you have coverage only for a limited number of visits.
Q: What Are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?
A: People get massages for many reasons:
- Injury recovery
- Athletic massage
- Pain reduction
- Stress relief
- Physical therapy
- Migraine headache mitigation
- Improved digestion
- Fibromyalgia treatment
- Insomnia prevention
- Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer symptom reduction
Q: When Should I Avoid Massage Therapy?
A: Massage therapists offer non-invasive, non-narcotic treatments for many types of injuries and pain. However, massage isn’t for everyone. People with high blood pressure, deep-vein thrombosis, and certain skin conditions should check with a doctor before getting a massage. If you have a fever, feel dizzy, or have recently been in an accident, you may want to postpone your massage appointment.
Q: What If I Don’t Want a Massage Therapist to Work on a Certain Part of My Body?
A: Before your massage, let your therapist know which parts of your body you want them to avoid. For example, many clients aren’t comfortable with having their abdominal area massaged. Your massage therapist will know how to avoid any sensitive areas you identify and still give you a therapeutic experience.
Q: Is It Okay to Talk During a Massage Session?
A: You should always feel free to express any discomfort when undergoing a massage. However, avoid intense chatting with your massage therapist during your session; this can lead to increased muscular tension and limit the effectiveness of your massage experience.
The amount of communication you should engage in during your massage depends on your goals for the session. If you want a relaxing massage, talk as little as necessary and let your mind and body enter a meditative state. You can even practice mindful breathing, which lowers muscular tension and increases the benefits of your massage. On the other hand, if you’ve asked your massage therapist to use increased pressure and deep-tissue techniques to help you recover from an injury, communication is key. Be sure to give your practitioner regular feedback on the amount of pressure you need and which specific areas feel painful or tight.
Q: What Happens If I Fall Asleep during My Massage?
A: It’s quite common for people to fall asleep during relaxing massages. Massage therapists typically take this as a compliment and a sign that they’re providing maximum relaxation to their clients. Enjoy your massage experience and don’t expect yourself to stay awake and alert at all times. Many clients allow their bodies and minds to “reset” in deeply relaxing states.
Q: What If My Stomach Growls During a Massage—or Worse?
A: Massage therapists create “judgment-free zones” with their clients and understand that massages can sometimes lead to clients making strange noises, passing gas, or even have deeply emotional experiences. If you feel the need to laugh, cry, or even tremble, your practitioner will understand and may ask you if you want to continue the massage or take a break.
Q: Can I Stop a Massage If I Feel Uncomfortable?
A: Absolutely! You are always in control of your massage therapy session. Feel free to ask your practitioner to pause or stop your massage if you’re uncomfortable with any aspect of this treatment.
Remember, by discussing potential issues with your therapist before they arise, you can help ensure a positive experience. Most practitioners interview their clients when they arrive to find out about their health histories and needs. Take some time to share any and all concerns you have, including any shyness about your body, worries about privacy and procedure, and—of course—your goals for the session.
With a little honest communication, you can enjoy a wonderful first massage and set the stage for many more to come!
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