What To Expect On Your First Massage


So you are thinking about getting your first massage, but you have a few questions about what to expect. Like which type of massage should you ask for? And do you really have to take off your underwear? Here are some tips to make your first massage a great experience.

When You Call for Your Appointment, Ask a Few Questions So You Know What To Expect

  • What types of massage therapy are available and how much do they cost? Some types of massage may be more expensive, such as Deep Tissue or Hot Stone Massage Therapy. Spas also may offer add-ons for an additional fee, such as Aromatherapy.

  • How long are the sessions? Sessions will typically be 50-90 minutes in length. Clarify whether a 60 minute session is 60 minutes hands-on or 50 minutes hands-on with 10 minutes to undress, dress and speak to the therapist before the session.

  • You may be able to request either a male or female massage therapist, if that matters to you.

Before Leaving For Your Massage Appointment

  • Avoid eating a heavy meal just before your massage.

  • Drink fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes early to give yourself time to fill out the intake form.

What To Expect When You Arrive

  • You will be asked to fill out an intake form that will ask about medical conditions and medications so the therapist will know what to expect.

  • Tell your therapist about any concerns or issues you may have. Be specific. If you have a "bad back", does that mean you want extra time spent on a sore area or that you've had a spinal fusion and you are not to be bent or twisted near the fusion.

  • What are your goals for the session? Feeling tired and stressed and need to rejuvenate? Looking for pain relief for your aching neck and shoulders after working on the computer all day? There are many reasons people seek the benefits of massage therapy.

  • Sharing your goals with your therapist will allow her/him to customize your session to your needs.

  • It's a good idea to use the restroom before your massage.

What To Expect During the Massage

  • After you discuss your intake form, your therapist will leave the room so you can get undressed and get under the covers on the massage table. It is entirely up to you whether you undress completely. Some people are more comfortable leaving their underpants on.

There are some types of massage that don't require you to undress such as Reflexology, Shiatsu and Thai Massage.

You will need to undress if you want an oil massage. Many types of massage therapy, such as Swedish Massage, are done directly on the skin using cream or oil to allow the massage therapist's hands to glide smoothly over the skin.

Oil massage is nourishing for your skin and feels really great, too!

  • So now you are warm and cozy under the covers. Your therapist returns, knocking before entering. Your session begins.

  • Usually, your therapist won't talk much except to check on your comfort. This is to allow you to become deeply relaxed and even doze off a bit if you like.

  • During the massage, you will be kept draped except for the area being worked on.

  • If you are too warm or cold or you want more or less pressure, be sure to speak up. Each person perceives pressure and temperature differently. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to massage therapy.

  • Tell you therapist if you really like something (s)he is doing, also. Remember, your therapist wants to know what you like or don't like so (s)he can give you the best experience.

  • A typical full body massage will include work on the head, neck, shoulders, arms, back, legs and feet. Hip, gluteal and abdominal massage may also be included, depending on your needs and preferences.

What to Expect After Your Massage

  • Take your time getting up. You may feel slightly groggy or disoriented if you were deeply relaxed. Don't be afraid to ask for help getting up if you need it.

  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids afterwards. Massage moves a lot of blood and lymph around in your systems and can free up toxins and cellular waste products that need to be excreted in the urine.

  • If you have a lot of toxins and waste built up in your system, you may feel slightly nauseous or headachy temporarily as they flush through. This is actually a good thing even though it may not feel like it at the moment!

  • You may feel a little sore for a day or two afterwards if you had a lot of deep tissue work done. Let you therapist know if you are more than a little sore.

  • If possible, plan to take it easy for a few hours after your massage to enjoy the maximum benefit of the massage.

  • A relaxing massage in the evening, followed by a hot bath can help you fall asleep if you have insomnia. Hot Stone Massage Therapy is a great choice for insomniacs.

  • People often ask about tipping. It is customary to tip massage therapists 15-20%. When massage therapists work in a medical setting, they may be compensated differently so you could inquire if it is appropriate to tip there.