As a massage therapist I'm always delighted to work on someone who has never received professional massage before. Why you ask? I get to see how they realize how awesome massage truly is. Some are excited they finally found something to help them with their pain. Some are in shock that they feel better than they have in years. Some...realizing how therapeutic massage is for the body, just want to go home and take a nap.
Have you ever received a massage? It really is an experience you need to have at least once in your life. Of course not all massage therapists are the best at massage (I wish!), if you decide to make that leap into getting your first massage, do some homework first. Just like you would looking for a doctor or dentist (I would hope). My advice? Look at review sites, get a recommendation from a friend or even contact me! I try my very best that someone's first massage experience is great. If you decide to try massage franchises, make sure you tell the associate over the phone of any specific requests you have such as gender preference, relaxation or deep tissue massage. If your first time getting a massage is at a franchise, just be prepared to be pitched a 6-12 month membership contract with them after the massage.
Your may be thinking; what kind of massage do I want? I've seen first timers ask for deep tissue on their first massage, which can be very intense. I generally recommend relaxation (Swedish) massage for someone just wanting to experience massage. If your trying massage because you are in pain, make sure you communicate that to your therapist, and put that on your initial intake form. A good therapist customizes the massage to what you need, but make sure you effectively communicate.
For most people, it can be a little nerve racking taking off all your clothes and letting a complete stranger touch you. As massage therapists we know this! Your comfort level is our concern. A good therapist will tell you to undress to your comfort level before leaving the massage room. I've had clients that took nothing off and climbed up on my table. Some people are comfortable leaving underwear on while some people take everything off. For the first timer, I would recommend at least undressing to your underwear as massage feels much better on skin than through clothing. Still nervous? That's ok, let me tell you about draping policies...
In New York anyone getting a legitimate massage has to be properly draped. Meaning at all times private areas such as breasts and genitals will always be covered. Draping can consist of towels going over those areas (many spa's will do this) or sheets & blankets. I use sheets and a blanket in my office. While massaging, the only area that is uncovered on my client is the area I am working on. Draping laws are different from state to state, so if your not in NY find out what draping policies your therapist will be using. Its a safe bet that massage franchises will be using blanket and sheet draping across the board all over the country.
Remember that the massage session is all about you. If you feel that your therapist can give more pressure, communicate that! Same goes if you feel your therapist is doing too much pressure. I've had first timers that wanted all the pressure I could give. I would educate them that having more pressure doesn't equal a better massage and could really hurt later in the day if the pressure is too deep.
Also, if you are uncomfortable at any time, let your therapist know! You do have the power to end your session, just as we retain the power to end our session with you. Remember that what we do is a profession which doesn't relate to the sex industry in any way. If you solicit your therapist in anyway, be prepared for the consequences. Honestly, that would be a bad way to end your first massage session.
I hope this helps clear up a few things for those who have never received professional massage. Massage should be included into a healthy lifestyle as the benefits are many for the body. Has anyone just received massage for the first time? Let us know how your experience was in the comments below! Anyone have first timer questions about massage? Ask Away and I'll be sure to answer them. Time for me to go get my own massage!