“Connecting MIND and BODY means learning to listen, learning to understand the messages your body is sending you, and giving your body what it needs.” Cameron Diaz, The Body Book
Before I went on maternity leave and had my baby daughter, I was a Registered Massage Therapist. I practiced for almost a whole decade and man, was it ever a life changing experience. To be able to provide others with such a sense of health and relaxation in one of the most holistic of ways, was such an honor. As a professional in this field, I personally find that these following tips are a sure way to fully take advantage of all the benefits a massage treatment has to offer. These tips can most likely be applied to all forms of holistic treatments out there so read on to be sure you are getting the most out of your alternative care.
I promise you with every fiber of my being that we as practitioners do not care one bit what you look like coming into your appointment. If I had a nickel for every time a client “warned me” that they hadn’t yet showered, or shaved their legs, or washed their hair, I would literally be a ga-zillionaire. We don’t question a darn thing. We have seen it all and at the end of the day, a body is a body. Go in your pajamas, go without putting on a bra, go without drawing on your eyebrows. Save yourself all that effort because we really won’t even bat an eye. Be yourself, be comfortable, and arrive at your appointment knowing that no judgements will be made. I promise.
Take Care of Business
Before arriving for your appointment, make sure you have taken care of business. If you have emails, texts, or phone calls to return-do it before your session. Turn your phone off and leave it across the room with the rest of your belongings. I have seen countless amounts of people tuck their phones right beside them on the table and answer calls mid-massage. They chat away as if they were just sitting on the couch watching Netflix. What does one really get out of a treatment if they are glued to their phone? Put aside all distractions and make the most of your “me time.”
Take care of biological business as well. Eat before arriving to avoid entering an undeniable state of hunger. Come well hydrated. And minutes before starting, be sure to void the bladder and bowels, if need be. Trust me, you will not be able to concentrate fully on a treatment if you are impatiently counting down the minutes until you can eat or go to the washroom.
Time and time again whenever a new client came through my doors, I unfortunately heard a similar story. Most of these new patients admitted to really liking the technique and location of their previous therapist but there was one flaw that eventually presented as a deal breaker; they wouldn’t shut the hell up. I truly believe this is the number one mistake Registered Massage Therapists make. The rule of thumb is, and always has been, that if the client engages in conversation we can of course, carry on. However, if the patient is as silent as the night, we zip it. It really is that simple and I apologize if you have encountered this deal breaker yourself.
There are clients who are super chatty and find it beneficial and therapeutic to unload and that is totally fine. However, there are also those (myself included) who wish to relax, shut off their minds, and even drift in and out of sleep. That should be respected, no questions asked. So, should you have found a care giver that you really do enjoy but who is a little too chatty for you, please don’t be shy-speak up. As professionals in this field, we cannot and will not be offended should you want to relax in peace and quiet. It is an understandable wish and frankly is important for the well-being of most. If you aren’t sure how to ask for silence, you can even start off with a quick two minute conversation at the beginning of the session and follow up with “Okay, I’m just going to relax now.” That line is forward yet gentle and leaves no room for a misunderstanding on the therapist’s part.
Aside from this very common issue, there are other factors that are equally as important to bring up if they are affecting your treatment. The amount of pressure the therapist is using plays a huge role in how a client responds to a treatment. Is the pressure too light for you? Too heavy? Again, a lot of clients admit to appreciating the technique of a practitioner but often aren’t completely satisfied with the pressure used. Registered Massage Therapists should be asking for your feedback on this subject throughout the massage but there is never a wrong time to bring it up yourself. Other factors can include the lighting in the room, the temperature, the volume of and the type of music being played, any scents, and the type of lotions or oils the therapist uses. These details may seem minimal but for some, they make a huge difference and for many different reasons. Allergies, sensitivities, certain medical conditions, certain mental disorders, and/or physical changes a client is going through (Ex: pregnancy or menopause) are all examples that must be considered.
We want you to feel your absolute best once you leave our treatment room. If any of these factors are playing a part in how you are responding to our massage, please let us know. We cannot read your minds and we will be happy to make any accommodations to better suit your needs.
Follow Through With Any Self-Care Recommendations
During a massage therapy session, a therapist is able to visually and manually asses your body. We can pinpoint any areas of tension, misalignment, and compromise. Should your practitioner have anything to say in relation to your posture, your body composition, or an injury, please take these words to heart. We are here to aid your wellbeing beyond the allotted massage session. We want you to feel your best and we really want you to take your health seriously so you can do so. Should we demonstrate a stretch and you know you will forget how to do perform it the second you walk out the door, ask for a diagram to take home. Should we speak too fast or use terms you aren’t familiar with, ask us to explain it in simpler terms. And most importantly, if you have any questions at all or wish for further self-care instructions, ask!
And no matter what tips you are given for your individual case, there is one general rule for every massage therapy client across the globe and that is to drink plenty of water after your treatment. Avoid going across the street to Starbucks and grabbing a venti latte to wake up. Massage therapy is a very detoxifying process. Without proper hydration (and further dehydration caused by caffeine), a headache or migraine could arise which is the last thing you want and the last thing we, as therapists want. We really, truly want you to feel your absolute best after receiving our treatment.
Massage and other forms of holistic treatments are not cheap. We spend good and hard earned money in hopes of bettering both our mental and physical health. Don’t settle for an atmosphere or a therapist/practitioner if you feel it doesn’t fully suit your needs. If after bringing up any concerns you may have and no changes are made, move on. The search can be long and tedious, but I promise you that once you find your match, it really will be worth it.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”