Heading into your first massage therapy session, you probably feel a bit nervous. So let’s break down what you need to do in advance, and what happens during and after the treatment session.
Before Your Appointment
In the days leading up to your appointment, be sure to drink plenty of water. Massage really works you over and it can actually dehydrate you. So be hydrated when you come in. But don’t drink a huge amount of water right before your appointment. Otherwise you might have to interrupt your massage session just to visit the bathroom.
Also don’t eat a big meal right beforehand either. That can lead to unpleasant effects.
Check your current health too. If you have skin irritation, now might not be the time for a massage. If you have a fever or other health issues, wait until you feel better.
During Your Massage Treatment
When you arrive, your massage therapist will ask about your concerns and current health status. Be honest when answering them, as it will allow them to provide the best possible treatment.
Talk about pain, tightness, stress, areas you want to focus on and ones you want to avoid. Mention allergies if you have any, and medications you are taking. Some medications can be affected by massage, and not in a good way – such as blood pressure medication. Your therapist can advise you on the best course of action once they know your specific situation.
Once your assessment is complete, the massage therapist will ask you to dress down for your treatment.
Do you have to undress completely for your massage? No. Just dress down in whatever way is most comfortable. You will get the most out of your massage if the parts the therapist works on are exposed. But your therapist will leave the room while you get ready and will knock before re-entering.
If you feel embarrassed or nervous about your body, remember that RMTs are professional healthcare practitioners. They work with all kinds of people and with all kinds of body types. Your health is their concern, and you will not be judged or criticized in any way.
You will be covered with sheets throughout the massage. The therapist will only expose the parts of your body being worked on, and the rest will be covered using the ‘draping’ technique, which is part of their training.
No registered massage therapist will ever expose or touch your private areas.
In most cases you’ll begin by laying face down. During the treatment, try to relax your muscles. For the full benefit of the treatment, keep breathing deeply and try not to tense up.
Massages can go from as little as 30 minutes to as long as two hours.