There are some questions that a brave few are willing to ask, but the rest go on just wondering. So I have taken the pressure off and answered them for you here.
1. Should You Feel Soreness or Pain During a Massage?
My view on pain is that there need not be any. The practitioner or therapist should be following your comfort levels. So many people wait too long before going for a massage and then believe that a hard massage is the only way to go. This often just leads to bruising for several days afterwards.
It's rubbish that a massage must be painful to be effective. If you are in pain most people contract the muscle against the pressure making working the muscle significantly more difficult and painful.
Trigger point therapy will cause pain and resolving a soft tissue issue like adhesions, tight attachments, and trigger points will cause some discomfort during the massage and you may even feel tender for a few days afterwards. However, if you don't have a soft tissue condition, a massage shouldn't cause soreness or pain.
Being upfront and open with your massage therapist is key to having your massage meet your needs. If you have an injury or chronically tight or painful areas, be sure that your therapist is aware of it before the start of the session. If the pressure is too intense, tell your massage therapist immediately so they can ease up.
2. How Much Clothing Should You Remove for a Massage?
Typically, a massage therapist will ask you to undress to your level of comfort. If you take everything off you should be covered with a towel over the groin. Ladies when you are rolled over and you don't want your breasts exposed make sure you let the therapist know beforehand.
A lot of clients prefer to keep their underwear on during a massage, while removing their bras so as to avoid getting massage oil or lotion on the bra.
If your problem area is your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting or large underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work. Therapist should check before pulling them down to work in the area and then pull them back up when done. The crease of your groin should remain covered at all times though. You can ask your massage therapist before getting changed.
The massage therapist normally explains where to put clothes and how to lie on the bed, either stomach or back depending on what you have asked for. The they will leave the room so that you can undressed and onto the plinth (massage table) usually face down under the top sheet, towel or blanket.
If you prefer to stay clothed book a sports massage and then arrive in your sporting gear. Thai massage is also performed clothed.
3. What If I am Self-Conscious About my Body?
Depending on how self conscious you feel, just bear in mind that a well seasoned professional has most likely encountered whatever you are self conscious about and is far more concerned about you relaxing and letting go so that muscles can be stretched and massaged.
Its too easy to say it shouldn't keep you away, I understand that for some this is a debilitating condition. In this case perhaps a Doctor should be your first port of call to prepare you for lying undressed while a stranger touches you.
From a practical point of view don't choose an Hawaiian style massage as this requires significant undraping choose a clothed massage or do back neck and shoulders first. Choose an area that you are more comfortable having worked and a well seasoned professional that you feel comfortable with before the massage. Its not uncommon for a client to request a SPA tour to get a feel of the venue and the therapist. Just don't ask us to line up :-)!
4. Should I Talk During a Massage?
This depends on the venue, what massage you are going for and the therapists personal style. Some therapists are chatty and some are not, so find someone you connect with.
Some venues have isolated rooms where you can talk without disturbing others where some have open booths where someone next door may be trying to enjoy a tranquil experience and would be disturbed but a conversation next door, do be mindful of your neighbours and if in don't whisper. If your therapist gives short non committal answers they are quietly trying to tell you not to talk.
They type of massage may require a bit of conversation. In a sports massage you may be asked to push or pull, let the therapist know as soon as you can feel the stretch or if there is discomfort. A reflexology or Kinesiology session would definitely need both therapist and client to speak.
5. What If I Fall Asleep and Snore or Drool?
Falling asleep during a massage is very common. If you have booked a massage its most likely that you are tired and sore. So soothing music, hot oil and stones taking away the pain and discomfort, one can only be expected to fall asleep. You definitely won't be judged because of it!
The slipping hazard of a drool patch on floor where your face was in the cradle is common. We don't need you to clean it up the room will get sanitized once you leave anyway and there are normally tissues in the room if you are super worried about it.
6. What If I need to Pee or Pass Gas?
Please do not lie on a massage table thinking about how bad you need the bathroom, you only waste your experience. So just ask! Do make use of the bathroom before going though and try to avoid having eaten a meal shortly before rather eat afterwards.
As far as passing gas, let it out let it out, nothing worse than trying to loosen up clenched gluteal muscles. If you just cant bring yourself to do it then ask for a bathroom break.
7. What If I Get Aroused?
A relaxed para-sympathetic nervous system often results in an erection which means that the body is properly relaxed. Seasoned professionals just carry on working without getting concerned about it. Don't reach out to hold yourself this could be interpreted the wrong way. Definitely do not believe that just because you have become aroused that the therapist is also, that's just a rubbish fallousy. We see it all the time and we aren't excited by it. Try to just enjoy your massage without any judgement.
8. What If I Feels Ticklish?
Experiencing the feeling of being tickled is also quite common. It could just mean that you are always ticklish, or that you are unsure of what the therapist is about to do, or perhaps the pressure is too light.
Let your therapist so that they know and can adjust what is happening to discover a non ticklish way of working that area. You can then inform and future therapist of how you prefer that area to be worked.
9. Do You Tip a Massage Therapist?
A tip is never expected, if you do want to offer one, 20% tip is standard. Just take a look at the fine print though, some SPAs have an all-inclusive rate and then again some have a no-tip policy. If you were given a gift certificate or purchased a deal through a discount site, a tip based on the original price is customary.
Presenting cash at the start of a massage will be seen as an insult in professional SPAs and studios. This is commonly used as a way of asking for a happy ending and if you don't know what that is you need to look it up to avoid insulting your therapist and getting booted out!
Some salons or studio provide named envelopes, tins or boxes with the therapists name on for tipping, you can put the money in there. The most common way is to give the therapist cash once you are ready to leave or add the tip when you are paying.
If your massage is in a medical or clinical environment, tips may not be expected or even accepted. If you're unsure, ask the receptionist or massage therapist whether tipping is customary. If you don't want to ask in person, call ahead to ask. Tipping is not expected if you are buying a regular massage program or bulk buy deal.
This best way to a great massage experience is to do a little homework. find out about they venues approach to massage, the experience of the therapists and their normal protocols. Visit the venue if you need to and try something small before committing to regular packages. I wish you success in finding the right venue and therapist.