Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains several questions that are commonly asked of massage therapists. If your question is not here please feel free to email me and I will respond to you personally, as soon as possible. If your question is a frequently asked one, it will appear on this page. Naturally, for confidentiality, no names will be used when posting the frequently asked question.

FAQ Index
  1. What can I expect on my first visit to a Massage Therapist?
  2. Is massage safe during pregnancy?
  3. How can having a Massage relieve Stress?
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can I expect on my first visit to a Massage Therapist?

A. On your first visit to a Massage Therapist you will be asked to fill out a form which includes questions regarding your current state of health, any allergies you may have, medications that you are taking, details of previous injuries and previous and existing medical conditions which may affect your massage.  The massage therapist will review your case history with you and discuss a treatment plan based on the information you have provided and answer any questions you have regarding massage. 

When the therapist leaves the room, you will undress and lie down on the table as instructed by your therapist, covering yourself with the top sheet provided.  Many people choose to undress completely but it is perfectly fine if you choose to wear underwear.  It is more important that you are comfortable.  After a few minutes the Therapist will knock on the door and receive your permission to enter.  If you are on the table and covered up say, “OK” or “I’m ready”, your therapist will enter and your massage begins!

Your therapist may adjust the headrest or pillows to make you more comfortable.  Usually the room will be warm and dimly lit and soft music will add to your experience of relaxation.  Except for the part of your body that is being massaged, your body will remain covered by a sheet or blanket.  Massage usually begins with a light touch and broad strokes as a light oil or a lotion is smoothed over the skin.  These first strokes starts calming the nervous system and releases tension in the superficial muscles.  As your body becomes accustom to the touch the therapist gradually works more deeply, using a variety of techniques, to relieve muscle tightness in specific areas.  Be sure to let your therapist know if you experience and pain or discomfort so he or she can adjust the pressure to an appropriate level.  Deep natural breaths are very important to help the body relax.

Your massage therapist will try to make you as comfortable as possible by inviting your questions and giving you information to make your massage a beneficial experience.  During the massage you may wish to engage in conversation or choose to relax in silence, perhaps even fall asleep… and that is just fine!

When your massage is finished, the massage therapist will leave the room while you get dressed.  Get up slowly from the massage table.    Massage increases the circulation and slows the heart rate so you may feel a little ‘dizzy’ the first few minutes after your first massage.  This feeling of lightheadedness is less pronounced in subsequent visits.  Massage also moves metabolites from the tissue spaces into the bloodstream, so your massage therapist will advise you to drink extra water after a massage.

Most people find immediate favorable results after just one massage. Many massage therapists offer a choice of session length ranging from a half-hour session to a 2-hour session.  A one-hour massage is the most frequently requested length of time for a massage.  A one-hour massage is enough time for a full body relaxation massage or a more in-depth therapeutic massage for a particular region like the back, neck and shoulders.    A half-hour session is a good introduction to massage and 1 ½ hour massage is enough time for a full body massage and concentration to several problem areas.

How often you would like to get a massage is up to you but once a month is a good maintenance program to establish with your Massage Therapist.

Q. Is massage safe during pregnancy?

A. Yes. Massage is beneficial and safe for most women during all stages of pregnancy. However, it is recommended that you get permission from your doctor or midwife if you have a high-risk pregnancy. It is the responsibility of the patient to keep your massage therapist informed of any changes in your health or potential problems during pregnancy.

Massage is an extremely effective tool for promoting the health of mother and baby. Massage can reduce many of the discomforts experienced during pregnancy such as low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, decrease edema, decrease stress and anxiety, provide relief from headaches and improve sleep patterns. One study stated that: Women who receive massage during pregnancy have fewer complications and premature births. In addition, women who receive massage during labor experience shorter labors, shorter hospital stays and less postpartum depression.

Often, I am asked, "How can you massage someone with a big belly?" In the first trimester, massage can usually be performed with the patient face down as in regular massage. As the uterus expands, it is unsafe to have pressure on the belly and there are several other options for positioning. If the Body Cushion system is used, it is possible to perform the massage with the patient face down in all 3 trimesters of pregnancy. The body cushion's unique design allows for expansion so the belly is properly supported in a safe manner during all stages of pregnancy. There is no pressure on the breasts or abdomen and most women find the positioning extremely comfortable and natural. Some massage therapists have a special "pregnancy option" table which has a circular cut out for the belly to fit through and a 'sling' must be properly adjusted across the belly to give it support. The most common positioning for pregnancy massage is side-lying. The patient lies on her side and has one arm, one leg and her belly supported by pillows and the massage is performed in this position.

There are some contraindications during pregnancy and a massage therapist who has been trained in pregnancy massage will perform the massage in an appropriate manner. Massage Therapists with pregnancy massage training will recognize certain potential problems, and may advise you to visit your doctor if they have any concerns.

I have taken several pregnancy massage courses and have received certification in pregnancy massage. I consider it a privilege to provide my pregnant patients with massage to alleviate discomforts in the various stages of pregnancy and to provide them with information regarding pregnancy and infant massage. I use either the Body Cushion system or the side-lying position, depending on the individual and their specific needs.

Not all massage therapists are comfortable massaging pregnant women, so please check with your therapist. It is important that you BOTH are 'comfortable' during the massage!

Q. How can having a Massage relieve Stress?

Short- term stress response can be favorable for accomplishing a task; the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) causes the secretion of epinephrine (adrenalin) into the blood stream. Adrenalin elicits an immediate response to increased blood pressure, increase heart rate, increase blood sugar and decrease digestion.

Prolonged or chronic stress is unhealthy and can result in hypertension, arteriosclerosis, immune depression, muscle wasting and decreased tissue healing.

Massage can provide you with immediate relief by activating the parasympathetic system (relaxation response), which allows the heart rate to slow and blood pressure to decrease and increases circulation in the body and reduces muscle tension. The short- term increase in oxygen to the brain can reduce mental fatigue. Massage stimulates the release of endorphins/serotonin, which helps increase immunity.

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