Have you experienced a bad massage? Unfortunately, the reality is most of you reading this have probably experienced a fairly average massage in your lifetime. Some of you may have even experienced a massage that has caused more than before treatment. And if you’re anything like me you cringe at the idea of wasting $80-100 on a massage treatment that did not meet your expectations. There is an increase in expectation of massage therapists these days to provide quality service, and so they should. So, how do you get the most out of your massage and what do you need to ask yourself before booking in a massage?
- Ask Questions – before booking in for a massage, ask the therapist what they specialise in. Finding out more about the therapist will help you gain more of an understanding about them to see if it’s the right fit.
- Identify Goals – think about what you want most from the end of the session. Do you want to simply switch off and relax for an hour? Or do you want firm pressure to eliminate pain?
- Communicate – your massage therapist should be communicating with you on the table. Therapists are not ‘mind readers’, nor can they feel what you feel. Communication is key to ensure you get the most out of your massage. Are they being too soft? Are they being too firm? They are providing a service – give them feedback and allow them the chance to provide you with a quality massage. A good therapist will always check the pressure with you. Continue this communication through the entire relationship between you and your therapist, some days we need a little more or less pressure depending on our weekly or daily stressors.
- Be Realistic – identify how long you have had your pain for, or how long you have been carrying around a particular stress. Has it been weeks, months or years? Your massage therapist cannot resolve these issues within an hour – it can take a while for your body to get back into alignment.
- Make a Treatment Plan – a good therapist will be encouraging you to make a commitment depending on your presenting complaints. If you want to resolve or manage the pain you have been having for years, it may take ongoing sessions to get your body to a place of balance where the underlying issues can be identified.
- Pain is not “normal” – whilst massage can be therapeutic and alleviate pain for a short period, if you are presenting to your therapist for the same issues time and time again, give them that feedback. Your pain is not a result of “old age” and it is not “normal”. Pain is your body’s way of telling you to change something. Find a therapist who is willing to make referrals to relevant health professionals when massage is no longer able to serve you. There are some great therapists out there, they will use resources such as physiotherapists, psychologists or dietitians to help you get your body back to a place of peace.