How to Prepare for a Massage
A massage can be an intense experience. From full-body, deep tissue work to short, chair-based sessions, massage affects every system of the body. Millions use it to heal from accidents or illnesses, or for regular health maintenance. Your massage therapist will work with you to focus on your special needs. Get the most out of your massage by knowing its modality and preparing your body and mind for treatment.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
- Information on Eastern and Western massage techniques
- Extra towel (optional)
- Hair products (optional)
Step 1 - Abstain from alcohol the day of your massage treatment. Alcohol can contribute to high levels of toxins in the blood, which massage seeks to reduce.
Step 2 - Eat lightly before any type of massage. An overly full stomach will be painful to lie on, and an empty stomach won’t allow you to focus on the good effects of the massage.
Step 3 - Drink less caffeine than normal or abstain from it altogether the day of your massage. Caffeine directly affects the nervous system, which is the therapist’s primary health focus.
Step 4 - Prepare for an unclothed massage with a cleansing shower before you leave home. Some Eastern modalities request no bath or shower ahead of time, so ask to be sure.
Step 5 - Prepare for your day with less makeup, perfume or other applications to your skin or hair than usual.
Step 6 - Bring extra hair products to restyle your hair after your treatment if you will be in public. Head and neck massages, especially those that use oils or lotions, can do a number on your hairstyle.
Step 7 - Disrobe, if required, when your therapist leaves the room. You will lie face up or down on the massage table under a sheet, as instructed. Only the body area that is being massaged will be uncovered at any given time.
TIPS AND WARNINGS
- Learn which modalities require you to undress and drape and which require you to wear loose, comfortable clothing. If you’re not sure, ask the therapist when you make your appointment.
- Don’t be shy about unclothed massage. Like physicians, therapists are use to seeing bodies of all types, and a sheet drape is required of most state-licensed practitioners.
- See a doctor before you prepare for any massage treatment if you have epilepsy, heart trouble or another condition that might be exacerbated by bodywork.
- If you have to cancel a massage appointment, do so as soon as you know about it. Many therapists charge in full for dates that are not canceled at least 24 hours ahead of time.