As a massage therapist, I just want to share a few tips with you about how to receive the best possible massage!
#1 – Arrive Early
This one might seem like a given but people often show up late. If you are new to any massage place they will have paperwork for you to fill out. If you are not new, still show up early so you can get settled in, relax, and use the bathroom ahead of time. By being late, you are cutting into your massage time. Some places may not explicitly state that by showing up late you are losing your massage time, because they don’t want you to be upset. The truth of the matter is that you have paid for the massage therapist’s time. When you arrive late, you have wasted part of that time. Have respect for the time you have paid for by being early. There are some massage therapists that may give you extra time if they don’t have anyone booked immediately afterwards and if there was a good reason you were late, but don’t expect this to be the case. Depending on the way the massage therapist is scheduled, there is often little time for this level of going above and beyond the time you have paid for. If they give you this extra time, make sure to say “thank you.”
# 2 – Make Sure to Fill Out the Medical History Intake Forms Accurately and Completely
I say this because I have had people that try to skip the medical history section of the paperwork because they “just want to relax” so they believe the massage therapist doesn’t require that information, but we do. We are not asking to be nosy; we are asking for your safety. Massage Therapy is part science and part art. The science part is really important though and that is why Massage Therapist could really use your honestly and accuracy in filling out Medical Forms. Often you only have to fill out paperwork the first time you come in and then once a year so if something changes in your medical history, please tell your Massage Therapist as soon as possible. For each massage technique we use there are contraindications. This long word means the massage therapist should avoid some techniques because they potentially could cause more harm than good with certain conditions. See? I wasn’t joking about the safety part. 🙂
# 3 – You Don’t Have to Apologize for Unshaved Legs or Smelly Feet
You can apologize if you want to, but Massage Therapists are medical professionals. They should not care about whether you have shaved recently. I am much more likely to care if you have not bathed recently though. If you have showered in the last 3 days, I should be fine. 🙂 If you are someone that is self-conscious about having smelly feet (there are people that just have smelly feet regardless of what they do), you could see if they offer any add-on services like a foot scrub or aromatherapy. Not only will the scents from the foot scrub or aromatherapy soothe you, but they will make the whole treatment room smell nice too. Either way as massage therapists, we have encountered it all. Smelly feet and unshaved legs are no biggie. After the medical history, I am really only looking at the client to make sure there are no open cuts or contagious skin conditions.
# 4 – Take Deep Breaths
When I give a massage, I ask the client to take deep breaths as much as is comfortable throughout the course of the massage. Deep breathing puts your body into a relaxation and healing mode. A person may not realize it but at the beginning of the massage, the body is often still in a state of flight or fight. Deep breathing will helps the client receive the highest healing possible in that session by helping the body to relax. I also ask my clients to visualize themselves some place peaceful like laying on the beach listening to the waves or taking a walk in the woods by a stream. I also ask that if any thoughts pop into their head that they don’t want to think about throughout the course of the massage that they imagine taking that thought, dropping it in the water, and letting the current take it away.
# 5 – Please Tip
Yeah, I know this one sounds self serving for me to list, but I am being honest. I give my best massage to every person, every time. Throughout my career, I have met many massage therapists that say if a client doesn’t give them a good tip, the next time the client comes back they will not work as hard during the massage. Since that person didn’t give them a “good” tip, the massage therapist is not going to put all their heart and soul into the massage session. Massage Therapy is a very physically demanding job so when a person leaves a $5 tip, a lot of Massage Therapist feel insulted. It is just like the restaurant server’s saying, “if you can’t afford the tip, you can’t afford to eat out.” It can be frustrating to see a client get 3 add-on services and barely leave a tip. Spa owners are the ones keeping the majority of what the client pays so the Massage Therapist relies on good tips to pay their bills. Also, if you are receiving an introductory (discounted) price for your first massage, please tip on the true value of the massage. 20% of the sale price is often quite different than 20% of the regular price. If you valued the service, please show it.
Eva Borho, M.A., L.M.T., Owner-Operator of Ascension Holistic Healing and Holy Fire Reiki Master Teacher