Receiving a massage ranks up there for many people as one of the greatest joys in life. For others, it is a painful yet necessary treatment to fix a problem in the body. If you haven’t been for a massage with a registered massage therapist (RMT) before, you might be wondering which category you fit into — someone who loves it or someone who dreads it.
Of course you won’t know until you experience it for yourself, and you might not form a solid opinion until after a few treatments. But if you’re new to the world of massage, there are some things you can do to prepare so that you know what to expect before going in and so that you can get the most out of your treatment.
Know your body
Whether you find yourself booking an appointment with an RMT through a doctor’s referral or because you are spending a day at the spa, make sure you have an understanding of your health history and your body’s current condition.
When you arrive for your first treatment with a registered massage therapist, you will be asked to disclose some information to the reception desk, and then again later to the RMT. It’s a good idea to be honest about what, if any, medications you are on as the massage can affect the dosage and how it reacts in your body. Further, if you’ve had injuries or experience chronic pain, you should let the RMT know so that they know how to proceed without the risk of injuring you further.
Don’t push your comfort limits too far
Receiving a massage can be an awkward experience for those who are not entirely comfortable with
strangers touching them. If you are at first unsure of how much you’d like to disrobe or how to remain covered, take the time to communicate your preferences with the RMT. A massage therapist should respect your privacy and only expose the part of your body they are treating, but if you are more modest than others, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Remember, you are there to relax, unwind and receive a treatment for an issue in your body, and that can’t happen if you are tense, stressed and uncomfortable. If the registered massage therapist has reached a sore spot on your body and is pushing too far, you should communicate what you are feeling, especially if something is painful.
Concentrate on relaxing
You will get the most out of your treatment if you can remain aware and pay attention to what is going on in your body. Try to relax, breathing deeply through the more uncomfortable parts, and not letting your mind wander to stressful lists of things that need doing or your work day or your housework or…
By focusing on what your RMT is doing to your body, you will be able to consciously participate in helping to let go of muscle tension and stress. This will help you integrate the effects of the treatment so that later in the day if you feel your shoulders tensing up, for example, you’ll be able to remember what it felt like to relax them and you’ll be more likely to repeat the process of letting go of tension.
If there are things that are distracting to you during the massage, like the style of music playing, the scent of the massage oil, or even your own chattering brain, it’s a good idea to make the changes necessary so that you can focus on the treatment at hand.
Prepare for after
Sometimes during a massage, the RMT will loosen long held tension, and in doing so, you might feel waves of emotions that you weren’t expecting. This can be sadness or joy, or sometimes even memories you’d long forgotten. You might feel fatigued and sore, or invigorated and loosened up, every case is different. Therefore, allow yourself some time and space afterward to let the treatment run its course.
No matter what, a massage is meant to be beneficial to your body, and even if it’s a slightly painful experience, the effects afterward should feel good. But you may need some patience as it can take several treatments to reach the goals of massage, so try not to rush the process.
The best advice is to go into the appointment with an open mind and some idea of what you hope to gain from the treatment with a registered massage therapist. From there, be clear and honest, and then see where it goes and enjoy the ride.
If you are in Vancouver and are looking for a treatment with an experienced, professional and highly trained RMT, contact us with any questions or for an appointment today.