It really IS all about you.

Having spoken recently to a few people who have had bad experiences with massage and having had one myself, I thought it was about time to set something straight. When you go for a massage, it absolutely is all about you.

You are the one who has decided to have this experience and you are the one paying for it. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and order something you know you don’t like so why settle for a massage that you don’t enjoy?

A while back, due to having some muscles spasms, I went for a massage. It was a bit last minute and I had to just go for a therapist I hadn’t tried before. Having looked around a bit, I picked a therapist that had 15 years experience and who, according to their ‘blurb’, was passionate about helping people feel better. Yet afterwards I was left feeling insulted, stupid and uncared for. Not an experience I would wish to repeat.

So here are some simple tips for all of you to help you avoid having a bad massage experience.

The Basics
Dull as it may seem, do a little bit of research about what treatment you want to have and the place you are thinking of going to. Don’t be afraid to call and ask questions about the venue and what the treatment involves and ask for their advice if you are unsure what treatment to have. If you can’t see the exact treatment you want, ask if they do it. Don’t feel pressured to book if they don’t offer what you want but be open to their advice if they can suggest an alternative that is reasonable.

Ask about the therapist. It’s not unreasonable to want to know how experienced someone is, especially if you have a specific problem or if you are nervous about having a treatment.

Check the price and the treatment time. Salons and clinics commonly advertise an hours massage but that is your appointment time, not you treatment time. In other words, your hour includes your consultation and the time it takes you to undress and dress, so your actual treatment will be around 50 minutes. Mobile therapists may work differently.

If it is your first time going to a particular salon or clinic, get there a few minutes early. Most places will want you to fill out a client form for insurance purposes and you don’t want this to use up any of your treatment time.
The treatment
Your therapist should introduce themself and make you feel welcome. If they haven’t seen you before, they should ask if there is anything specific you want them to do and explain the treatment to you. If you are unsure about anything, ask them. This is your chance to specify how you want your treatment to go. For example, if you don’t like your tummy being massaged, tell the therapist. As much as it is our responsibility to give you a good treatment, very few of us are telepathic and we need to know if there is something you don’t enjoy!

If you are nervous or it is your first massage, let your therapist know. A therapist should always take care of a client no matter how many massages they have had but extra care needs to be taken in some circumstances.

When you are on the couch, let the therapist know if you could be more comfortable; you should be warm (remember parts of you will be uncovered) and supported with pillows. Let the therapist know if you need extra covers or cushions. If you are uncomfortable in any way, the massage will not be as effective.

Pressure – some therapists will ask if the pressure is ok, some won’t. Either way, you can tell them at any point if it needs to be altered, especially if they are working on muscles that feel tender. Equally, you can ask them to move on or to do more work on an area depending on how you feel. Don’t stay silent if you want the pressure altered as you will leave feeling dissatisfied and your therapist won’t have had the chance to change the treatment to suit you.

Sometimes a therapists will suggesting altering the treatment after they have started; for example if they find you need a lot of work on your shoulders, they may suggest that they spend more time on that area rather than other parts of your body. This can be very beneficial but don’t be afraid to say no if this isn’t what you want.

This is YOUR treatment time. If you want to talk, then feel free to do so. Most therapists will engage in a conversation but they should not start one as you may wish to be quiet.

The therapist’s focus should be on you for the entire treatment. For example,unless it is part of the treatment or absolutely necessary, they should not leave the room. And under NO circumstances should they be texting or taking calls on a mobile whilst you are having a massage.
Depending on the treatment you have had, your therapist should ask how you feel and let you know of any after effects you may feel and any other recommendations they have for you. They may suggest that you book another appointment and when they think this should be. It is up to you whether you want to book again. Don’t feel obliged to book further appointments but if you found the treatment beneficial / enjoyable (and there can be a difference between the two!), consider your therapists advice. You may find there are discounts for buying a course of treatments and the therapist (or receptionist) should make you aware of these.

Therapists value feedback. If you enjoyed the treatment, tell them and tell others. Many therapists rely on word of mouth to build up clients. Equally, if there was something you didn’t like, try and let them know. If you don’t find you can tell the therapist, you can tell the receptionist or manager or you can email feedback. However, please be fair in any criticism. It’s unreasonable to say a therapist didn’t use enough pressure if they checked this with you during a massage and you didn’t ask for it to be altered.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does give you a starting place towards having an enjoyable, beneficial massage experience. Something I truly believe everyone should have. If you have had a bad experience or you have any questions about massage, different types of treatment, or where to go, please feel free to ask. I am always happy to help.

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