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  • Aaron Cygnarowicz

What to Expect From Your First Massage

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

If you are like the majority of the population, getting your first massage can be a bit scary.

I know my first massage 15+ years ago had a ton of questions going through my head. Will the massage therapist be male or female? What clothes should I remove? What if I feel uncomfortable?

Hopefully, this post will help put your mind at ease and give you a little insight into what to expect when you arrive for your first massage.

Service provider massaging clients temples while they get steam on their face.

Communication Is Key for Your First Massage

Before your appointment begins, your massage therapist should get to know you a little better.

Common topics are what brings you in today, what does your daily routine look like any ailments I should know about, and any past surgeries/medications. They then will discuss what you are looking to get out of your massage session that day.

This is a perfect time to discuss your needs, concerns, any areas you want your massage therapist to focus on, and any areas you would like them to avoid.

If this is your first massage, you will find that there are areas you like and dislike massaged. Definitely address this with your massage therapist. As a massage therapist, I can tell you, we are not offended by you communicating your needs!

This helps us understand how we can best help you so your first massage turns into many more to follow.

Things to communicate to your therapist:

  • Do you need more or less pressure

  • Do you need volume adjusting on the music

  • Would you like additional draping - *this is always to keep that line of communication open between you and your therapist.

We want you to be as comfortable as possible during your full session.

Learn What Massage Types You Like

Please know that you are not expected to know which one you want. When making your appointment feel free to explain to the receptionist what you are looking for and they will be happy to recommend some different types.

When scheduling clients for the first time, I like to recommend either the Swedish Massage or the Deep Tissue Massage. These are the two types that people are most familiar with.

A Swedish Massage is a more relaxing massage, where the therapist uses long gliding strokes to help elongate the muscles. The pressure is light to medium. The Deep Tissue Massage is more spot-specific. The massage therapist will warm up the superficial layers of muscle before going into the deeper layer of muscles.

Some other types of massage that you may want to look into more are Thai Massage, Shiatsu Massage, Sports Massage, or Craniosacral Therapy. They all have their place in the healing process and each is very important!

Recommended first massages:

  • Swedish Massage

  • Deep Tissue Massage

  • Sports Massage

  • Hot Stone

You Should Always Be Comfortable

Whether you are face up or face down on the massage table, you should always be comfortable.

The massage therapist has many tools to help you. Wherever you decide to have your first massage know that they can use bolsters, pillows, or adjust the headrest to help keep you comfortable. They can also change how you are lying.

The therapist can use a wedge to make you more inclined or massage you lying on your side. If you know ahead of time that you may need to be side-lying or on an incline, it is a good idea to mention it when you make your appointment. That way your therapist can make these accommodations before you arrive.

*Something to note: your sinuses will most likely drain when you are face down. This is completely normal. Some clients will turn their heads to the side to be more comfortable and that is fine.

Will I Be Naked?

You will be draped 100% of the time by a sheet throughout the massage. There are many reasons for this. First, is for protecting your modesty, second is for warmth and comfort and finally, the drape is a physical boundary between client and therapist. This defines where a therapist can and cannot touch.

Dressing down to your comfort level should be one of the first instructions you are given when getting on the massage table.

Dressing down to your comfort level looks different for every person. Regardless of how much clothing you choose to take off or keep on, the drape should only uncover the area being worked on. It should always cover the nether regions that you would like to keep covered.

The draping should make you feel safe and comfortable. You should never question being exposed.

What to Do After the Massage?

These recommendations could include how regular you should get massages, the benefits of regular massage, as well as self-care ideas that could increase the effectiveness of your message. Massage is not usually just a one-time thing to get rid of an ailment. It is cumulative so the more you make it a regular thing the better you should feel.

Examples of self-care ideas might include freezing a water bottle and rolling it on the bottom of your foot, postural awareness, or particular stretching depending on what was found during your massage session.

A good massage should be meaningful, enjoyable, and helpful. It’s important you know that you can speak up during your massage session, you are in control of the amount of clothing you keep on, the pressure you want, and even the temperature of the table (if their massage table is heated).

I can say the most important thing to keep in mind is that you know your body better than anyone, and by communicating with your massage therapist you will get the most possible out of your session. Hopefully, it will be one that you will want to repeat again and again.

What is your experience?

Let me know if the comments - have you had a great experience with your first massage or did it go somewhat sideways. Perhaps you've had both! I want to hear what experiences or things you wish you would have known going into your first massage.

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