How to get the most out of your massage appointment in five easy steps

Let's face it, massages can be expensive!  It is important to know how to get the best massage for your money.  I know from personal experience how disappointing it can be when you save up all month for what turns out to be a dismal mediocre bodywork session.  Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your massage.

Massage therapy targeting the shoulders in Haleiwa, Hawaii

1. Think about your needs

            Before your appointment, take some time to reflect on what ails you.  Are you recovering from an injury?  Do you suffer from chronic tension?  Where?  What are your short and long term health goals?  Are you suffering from a large amount of stress?  Do you get headaches?  Be able to describe your areas of pain and tension.  Why are you getting the massage?  The answers to questions such as these will serve as a good starting point.

2.  Include necessary back ground information

            Tell the therapist a little bit about yourself.  What kind of work do you do?  What are your hobbies and physical activities?  It is important for your massage therapist to know what your day to day life is like in order to address it's effects on your body.

3.  What are your preferences for massage

            Do you like firm or soft pressure?  Do you like a lot of time spent on a particular part of the body?  Is there anywhere that you do not want to be touched?  (For example, some people are ticklish on the abdomen.)  Is there a particular type of massage technique that you are interested in?  Is there a style of massage that you dislike?  Any information will be of help to your therapist and will better ensure that you get exactly what you want during your service.  Don't hesitate to keep the lines of communication open at all points of the session.  If you think of anything that might help your therapist do a better job, tell them right away!

4.  Include your medical history

            It is very important for your safety that you inform your therapist of any medical conditions or past injuries.  There are some instances where massage can cause more damage than good.  Your therapist will also be able to give a more effective treatment if they have an overview of your medical history.

5.  Take care of yourself before and after your massage

            This is a no-brainer.  Don't drink a double shot espresso on your way to the appointment.  Don't go out and down a bunch of mai tais right afterwards.  Get plenty of rest.  Eat sensibly.  Stay hydrated. It is normal to feel a little sore after a deep massage because your muscles have just gotten a passive workout. Now is a great time to enjoy a little r&r. You have earned it!

To summarize:  Communicate, communicate, communicate!  Be prepared to tell your therapist what you need when you walk into the appointment.  With a little thought beforehand, you won't draw a blank when you get to the clinic and your therapist asks, "What can I do for you?"  A good MT will keep notes on each of your visits,  so they are able to compile a comprehensive picture of your needs and preferences.  With this information, they should be able to offer you an effective outcome-based series of massages that is customized to suit you specifically.