Frequently Asked Questions  

 

Any day is a great time to get a massage. To prevent injury or pain caused by stress, get a massage before these conditions occur. It is a lot easier to keep yourself pain-free with preventative massage than it is to treat the pain after an injury has occurred. Keep in mind that you are much more likely to injure yourself when you are under stress, and that stress is a major factor in an incredible number of disorders of the human body. Regular massage is a great way to cope with the mental and physical stresses of life, and to help keep your body running the way it should.

There are several contraindications for receiving a massage - some are general, meaning you should avoid a massage completely, and some are regional, meaning the massage therapist will avoid the area. We have seen everything, so don't worry that we will judge you based upon your condition. If you have any of the following conditions, you should not get a massage (and if you develop any prior to your appointment, let us know and we will be happy to reschedule you):

General

  • Fever
  • Any type of infectious disease
  • Immediately following chemotherapy or radiation - however, it is great idea to have a massage before these treatments (ask your doctor first)
  • Systemic infections
  • Severe cold
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Blood clot/clotting disorder
  • Pregnancy-induced diabetes, toxemia, preeclampsia/eclampsia
  • High blood pressure (unless under control with medication)
  • Heart disease
  • Fracture, sprains, strains - see your physician first. Once the fracture/injury is no longer in the acute stage, massage can help reduce the loss of mobility, reduce scar tissue formation and reduce edema/swelling that frequently occurs with a fracture, strain or sprain.
  • Bleeding, burns or other acute injury - see your physician first – he/she may recommend massage therapy later to help manage scar tissue formation or swelling

Regional - please make your therapist aware of these conditions so that she will take proper precautions:

  • Sores/open wounds/warts/similar conditions - therapist will avoid area
  • Varicose veins - therapist can only massage above the varicosity in order to avoid releasing a potential blood clot

These guidelines are provided to protect you and your massage therapist. You don't want the massage to make an underlying medical condition worse, and you don't want to pass anything contagious to the massage therapist. If you're unsure about whether a minor condition should prohibit you from getting a massage, call your therapist before your appointment. For some illnesses, other bodywork modalities, such as chiropractic, may work well. At your initial visit, you will be asked to fill out a client intake form. Not only does it provide the massage therapist with your name and basic information, it will also have a place to list any underlying medical conditions. The therapist should be aware of any of these. You will be asked at any subsequent visits about any new medical or physical conditions. If you're not asked, volunteer that information if there is anything the therapist should know.

Too many to list here!!! Aside from a few conditions which contraindicate massage(listed in previous answer), most conditions which occur to body and mind can benefit from massage therapy. It is common knowledge that massage is relaxing and decreases stress levels; however, the benefits of reduced stress are usually wildly underestimated. Any stress to be the body, be it on a mental, physical, or chemical level, causes the body to operate in a less-than-ideal state. This is why many practitioners refer to disease as "dis-ease"- they recognize that the body as a whole needs an optimal balance to provide "ease" in the body's natural ability to heal itself. The body puts some of its healing ability on hold when it perceives "danger" (stress of any kind), so stress reducing activities make the body more capable of staying healthy.

With a better understanding of the sweeping benefits of reducing stress levels, it is easy to see how truly beneficial massage therapy can be for oh-so-many conditions. For a few examples of specific benefits, please see the answer to the next question below.

The Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine has been performing research on the effects of massage for several years, and they have had some wonderful results, such as:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Immediately following massage therapy, depressed mood, anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels were reduced. Following 10 days of massage therapy, fatigue related symptoms, particularly anxiety and somatic symptoms, were reduced, as were depression, difficulty sleeping and pain. Stress hormone (cortisol) also decreased and dopamine increased.
  • Diabetes Following one month of parents massaging their children with diabetes, the children's glucose levels decreased to the normal range and their dietary compliance increased. Also the parents' and children's anxiety and depression levels decreased.
  • Fibromyalgia Syndrome Massage therapy (as compared to transcutaneous electrical stimulation) improved sleep patterns and decreased pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and cortisol levels in adults with fibromyalgia.
  • Hypertension Massage therapy decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in adults with hypertension.
  • Job Performance/Stress Massaged adults showed 1) decreased frontal EEG alpha and beta power and increased delta power consistent with enhanced alertness; 2) math problems were completed in significantly less time with significantly fewer errors after the massage; and 3) anxiety, cortisol (stress hormone) and job stress levels were lower at the end of the 5 week period.
  • Migraine Headaches Massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms and increased serotonin levels in adults with migraine headaches.
  • Multiple Sclerosis Massage therapy decreased anxiety and depressed mood, and improved hand strength, self-esteem, body image and social functioning in adults with multiple sclerosis.

This list could go on and on - please visit the Touch Research Institute to view the other disorders that have been studied.

Sex in any size, shape or form is not included. Do not ask, and do not make an appointment if that is what you are looking for. If it becomes clear that this is what you are looking for, the massage will be terminated and you will pay the cost of the entire massage even though it was cut short; the police may be called as well. We are licensed massage therapists, which means that we are medical professionals who treat non-sexual disorders of the human body.

This is an interesting question which prompts two answers.

Yes, massage therapists are trained to use leverage techniques and their own body weight to produce very deep pressure when necessary.

That being said, please keep in mind that overlying surface tissues need to be warmed and softened properly before the therapist works deeper with any effectiveness. When the deeper underlying tissues are massaged without first warming/relaxing the layers above, the relief provided by the massage session tends to be fairly short-lived. We've worked with lots of clients that were adamant that deep tissue massage was the only way they got any relief- and almost every single one of those clients have been experiencing more long-lasting results since receiving massage with a more balanced, work-through-the-layers approach.

This is a common reason lots of people are missing out on massage therapy. Remember this - massage therapists have seen bodies in every imaginable shape and size, from young to old, and we aren't there to judge your body. We are professionals who have found massage to be a wonderful gift to give to men and women alike, regardless of age and weight, and are proud of what we can offer to people in need of help or just wanting to enjoy the delight found in massage.

When you arrive for your first visit, you'll be asked to fill out a client intake form. This will give the therapist information about your areas of complaint, health history, and so on. Don't hesitate to ask questions about anything of which you're unsure, or any concerns you might have. Once you've finished with the intake, the therapist will take you to the massage room and briefly chat with you. Once both of you have discussed what your specific concerns or goals are, the therapist will outline her basic plan for the session, and address any concerns or questions you may still have before the session begins. At this point the therapist will leave the room to allow you to disrobe and get settled on the table. Don't worry, she will give you plenty of time, and will always knock before entering the room.

Your therapist will have advised you to start the massage lying on your stomach or on your back. If you're to start on your stomach, there will be a cushioned doughnut-shaped device at one end of the table. This is a face rest, and you should place your face there. This allows you to be face down, and keep your shoulder and neck muscles relaxed. If you lay your head on the table and turn it to one side, the muscles in your neck and shoulders won't be in their relaxed state and won't be able to receive the best benefits of the massage. This face rest is adjustable and can be moved to find a comfortable level just for you. There may also be a pillow or bolster on the table. A bolster is a padded, cylindrical device. These are to be used for your ankles and knees. If you're lying face down, the pillow or bolster goes under your ankles, so you're not hyperextending your feet while lying that way for an extended period of time. If you're lying on your back, it goes under the knees to prevent any hyperextension of your knee joint.

Once you're undressed and under the sheets, the therapist will come back into the room. For the most part, your work is done, and all you have to do is relax and enjoy. The therapist will undrape the section of the body that she will work on, and will re-drape the area before moving on to a different area. She will use a variety of strokes, some rubbing, kneading, vibration, percussion, whatever she thinks will work best for your muscles. Stretching, rocking, myofascial or trigger point work may all be added. If the therapist gives you directions for slow exhales, just follow along. If she stretches or rotates any joint, don't try to help. Just stay as relaxed and limp as you can and let the therapist move that part of your body, unless you are given directions otherwise.

The parts of your body that will be massaged may change from one massage to the next, due to the type of massage you are receiving and the area of your body that is being focused on; the sexually charged areas are the only areas that will never be massaged. The abdomen may be massaged if you are having issues such as constipation, or if you request it. The hips and buttocks are frequently massaged as they are often a culprit in lower back pain, and the armpit/upper breast area may be rubbed to help relieve upper back/neck pain. However, if you are uncomfortable being touched in any area, please let the therapist know ahead of time, if possible. Sometimes a client may not realize they are sensitive about being touched in a particular area until the therapists touches them there - just let your therapist know how you feel; she will be sensitive to your feelings and will avoid the area.

You should undress to your comfort level. The massage therapist will work around the clothes left on as best she can. You should realize that this may mean that certain areas of the body may not be massaged at all, or may only receive minimal work there. Leave on whatever clothes are necessary to be relaxed during the massage, but if removing most of your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, then receiving a massage that way won't allow you to obtain the optimal benefits from it. An extended chair massage, which is done fully clothed, may be your best option until you feel more comfortable with the whole process.

The key to a massage is relaxation and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience. Many therapists will discourage you from talking during the massage. They want you to relax, to just let your mind float free, and let the massage transport you to an almost subconscious bliss. However, it's not uncommon for many people to be more relaxed talking. After all, they're lying undressed on a table with a stranger touching their skin. Talking makes the therapist become more human and personal to them, and having this interaction makes it easier for them to place their trust in the therapist, and therefore make it easier for them to relax. Many clients talk in the initial stages of a massage, and as the massage progresses, they slip farther into a state of total relaxation and become quiet. If you do enjoy chatting, your therapist is happy to chat with you, but she will try to keep the conversation at your comfort level throughout the entire session.

Typically no. The techniques used by the massage therapist will always be more effective if the massage is welcome and the client isn't resisting- that being said, this is also true on a tissue level as well. Communication is the key here- on a pain scale of 1-10(1 being minimal, 10 being extreme), you should never feel pain above a 5 during a massage. The therapist will ask how the pressure is, but you don't have to wait for the question to give feedback at any point- sometimes a particular area is very sensitive and the therapist will adjust the pressure accordingly.

The answer here depends on the reasons for receiving the massage. If you are coming in for some injury relief, or to relieve chronic tightness that is interfering with your daily life in some way, weekly or twice weekly sessions may be necessary for a while to build on each session's improvement in their relief and healing. For those who use massage as preventive care and managing the daily stress in their lives, once or twice a month is about the norm. They may shorten the time between massages during stressful periods. Many people decide to try a weekly massage for a month just to see how well it will work for them, and realize that they feel so much better physically and emotionally that they continue to come in that frequently.