I see it all the time. Someone comes in for a massage appointment and they just have the "look". A little nervous, a little unsure, a little wide-eyed. It's ok! We've all been there. I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you my best advice for how to receive a massage and get the most benefit out of it.
Do I have to undress completely?
In short... No, you do not have to undress. If you are uncomfortable, let your massage therapist know and they can do work over your clothing to help relax you and ease your aches and pains. If you do not want to undress, please wear clothing that is light weight and close fitting like yoga pants or a tank top.
Most people undress for their massage. It is easiest to address your issues if your LMT can contact and glide on your skin. About half of our clients chose to leave their underwear on and the other half choose to remove them. It's totally up to you. That being said, all areas of modesty (breasts, genitals, gluteal cleft) will be covered by a sheet during your entire massage. Your massage therapist will ask if there are any areas you do NOT want to touched and it is a great time to say "Don't touch my feet" or "I don't like work on my glutes (aka rear end)". It's your body and your choice!
Do take your jewelry off
Remove your jewelry before you get on the massage table and leave it on the side table next to your chair. It is difficult to address the muscles of your neck while trying not to pull a necklace or avoid getting massage cream on it. If you have trouble with the clasp, we are happy to help! Rings are not terribly obtrusive to work around, if you prefer to leave them on.
Do breathe and pretend your are jello
This is your time to be cared for. If your LMT needs your arm in a different position, she/he will move it. You don't need to help! Just let every part of your body be heavy and sink into the table. If we lift your arm, we will continue to hold it for you. No need to hold it up! Sometimes, your massage therapist may wiggle or gently rock a part of your body to bring attention to the tension you are holding there. It can be hard to let go and we understand. You can even say "I can't let go!" and we can talk about it a little bit to see if we can help.
Do tell your massage therapist if you are taking medications
There are some medications that affect your ability to feel pain and discomfort. Totally awesome when you need it, but not so great for massage time. If you are unable to feel the true level of your pain or discomfort, you aren't able to give your massage therapist feedback if they are working with too much pressure or if a stretch is too much. Being on medication doesn't mean you can't have massage! It just means your LMT needs to know and adjust the work accordingly.
Don't be afraid to talk
If something is uncomfortable to you, please speak up! Your massage therapist is an expert in anatomy, but only you know how their work feels in your body. This isn't a "no pain, no gain" situation.
Is the table warmer too hot? Speak up! Music too loud? Let us know! Do you like aromatherapy? Holler! Your massage therapist is here to be the best part of your day. We try to set everything up to your liking, but everyone is different. Don't ever hesitate to speak up if there is something we can adjust to make you more comfortable.
Don't be afraid of silence
You do not need to entertain your massage therapist. We are very entertained with the work we are doing to help you feel great! Of course, we welcome the chance to chat and get to know you a bit if that is what helps you get the most out of your treatment. On the flip side, you do not need to make small talk. It is ok to close your eyes, stay quiet and let your mind rest.
Don't worry. I've done this before!
Your massage therapist is there to help. It's ok to tell your LMT that you are nervous and not sure what to expect! We want to be able to answer your questions and help you feel at ease. If I have someone that seems a little timid, I like to tell them, "Don't worry. I've done this before, so I'll get us through this!" It usually gets a laugh and helps set them at ease.
So, as my mom used to tell me when I was a teenager, "Just remember, Do, Do, Don't, Don't and you'll be just fine."
Take good care!
A few weeks ago, we were excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Erin Whitworth. With experience providing sports massage, deep tissue therapy, and prenatal massage, we knew she would bring some awesome knowledge and techniques to the table - literally. Since we’re still pretty excited about her joining Body of Work Wellness, I thought it would be great to interview her for our new blog series, “20 Questions with Lindsay”.
What made you decide on a career in massage therapy?
I wanted to become a massage therapist because I wanted to be able to work for myself, and help others at the same time. I have always been fascinated with the human body and how our muscles hold us all together.
How long have you lived in Oregon? Have you lived in any other states?
I have lived in Oregon for 3 years. I grew up in Idaho, moved to Montana, and then Washington.
Tell me three of your favorite restaurants in the area, and your go-to menu item from each.
Gin Thai - Green curry
Pho Gabo - Chicken Pho with lots of spice
Any Indian buffet.
What music do you enjoy listening to when you’re not giving a massage?
Dance mixes - anything upbeat to help me stay motivated.
Aside from being a Massage Therapist Extraordinaire, do you have any other hobbies or talents?
I was once a dental assistant, a wild-land firefighter (college years), and I love to refurbish old furniture.
What was the last good book you read, and why did you enjoy it?
The last thing I read was an acupressure book. I enjoy educational science books.
How do you usually spend your days off from work?
My days off are spent being a mom and working out.
What is your spirit animal and why?
A horse. I love them!
What is your perfect way to spend a rainy day in Oregon?
Snugged on the couch watching a movie with a big cup of coffee.
What is your favorite quote?
“You are where you are supposed to be, just breathe.”
What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Zombie” by The Cranberries.
Describe the perfect pizza.
The perfect pizza is made with simple, great ingredients. Pesto, Mozzarella, basil, and in an outdoor pizza oven.
What is your favorite kind of tea?
I love black tea with a little sugar.
What was the last TV show that you binge-watched?
I’m currently binge-watching This Is Us.
Tell me the corniest joke you know.
How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it! (I got that one from my son)
Before you started studying massage therapy, what was your favorite subject in school?
Science - A&P.
Do you have a favorite stand-up comedian?
If you could pick any fashion fad to make a comeback, what would you choose?
MC Hammer pants!
What is your favorite vacation spot?
My dream vacation is in Olgiasca, Italy. This is where my family is from.
Finally, what is a weird/fun/little-known fact about you?
In high school, I was in FFA (Future Farmers of America).
So there you have it! Be sure to book an appointment with Erin soon - she is available Monday 9-2, Tuesday 8:30-1:30, and Thursday 8:30-12. And stay tuned for the next “20 Questions”!
Oprah has her favorite things.....
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