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1. I've never had a massage before. What kind should I try first? --You have several choices. Make an appointment for a relaxing Swedish massage for your back, neck, and shoulders. Or try foot reflexology. You take off only your shoes and socks and receive a relaxing session on your feet. When you get up, it feels like you've just had a full body massage! Each massage is tailored to your specific needs (relaxation, muscle pain, surgery, geriatric, illness) and may involve several modalities. There are over 200 different types of massage, so don't worry about the "name". I ask questions and offer you the massage you are looking for to help you heal.
2. How often should I get a massage? --This is a great question, one that I am asked often. Bob Hope got a massage every day! We all should be so lucky! How often you have a session is up to you and how your body feels. Massage is preventive medicine, and the effects (such as improved circulation, tension release, overall feelings of goodwill) accumulate over time, so it's a good idea to have regular sessions. Some of my clients see me every week, others 2x/month, others occasionally. I recommend making an appointment at least every 4-6 weeks.
3. Should I tip? --Tipping for any service, especially one brought to your home, is very much appreciated, though it's not required. Most people give 10%-20%. One great way to show gratitude is to write a review online (Yelp or Angie's List), buy gift certificates, and refer others to me. For every new client you refer, you'll receive a free 20 extra mins on your next massage.
4. How much time should I allow for my appointment?--All new clients are asked to fill out a Health Information/Consent Form, have a consultation with me, plus have the massage itself. I will sit and discuss the form with you and learn your goals for the session before the massage begins. Allow 5-10 minutes after the massage to get up slowly from the table, dress, have some water, pay, reschedule, etc. Please note that late arrivals will be given only the remaining time of their appointment slot.
5. Do I have to get naked when I have a table massage? --No. In fact, there really is no reason for you to be naked on the table. I prefer clients to leave their panties/shorts on. If you are coming in for a back massage, then you can leave your slacks on. Of course, you will be under a sheet at all times. I uncover only the specific body part I am working on at that moment, and redrape, keeping your modesty protected. My massages are professional and respectful.
6. Do you massage EVERY body part?--No. During a regular massage (Swedish) the general pattern includes work on the neck, back, arms/hands, legs/feet. The abdomen, rib cage, and face/scalp are not normally included, but can be added by the request of the client. Work on the buttocks is only done on athletes or if a client has verifiable sciatica-related problems. Massaging the breasts or genital region is absolutely NEVER allowed.
7. I'm pregnant. Is it OK for me to get a massage?--Absolutely! I am certified in pregnancy massage. I know which points of the body to avoid so as not to induce early labor. Before your appointment, I will have your doctor/midwife give me verbal or written approval stating that you are cleared for massage sessions. I have the Prego Pillow to use during your appointment, too. I cover the Prego Pillow with two sheets. This allows you to lie comfortably and safely on your stomach or back. I will only massage your abdomen if you give permission. Click HERE for more information on pregnancy massage.
8. I have cancer. Is massage OK for me?--Definitely, during all stages of treatment. Just be sure and see a therapist trained in oncology massage and/or lymphatic drainage massage. (I have taken many classes in both modalities). To find such a therapist, go to www.s4om.org, (Society for Oncology Massage). Oncology massage reduces pain, anxiety, and nausea, and helps the person feel positive about their body again. About half my clients are cancer survivors.
9. Are there ever times when massage is inadvisable? --Yes. If you have a fever, phlebitis, untreated high blood pressure, untreated heart disease, or open wounds you should wait to get a massage. If you are coughing or sneezing from a cold, please wait until you're better. Even if I personally don't catch your germs, remember I work with clients who have compromised immune systems. I wouldn't want to be a carrier. There are some other health issues where massage is contraindicated. If you are not sure if massage sessions are safe for you, ask your doctor for clearance first and then call me for an appointment. As a side note, I always require a physician's/midwife's clearance before taking on pregnant clients. Your health & safety are my utmost concern!
10. I'm worried that massage will hurt/I was sore after a massage once. --Massage should never hurt. If you had a lot of soreness during or after a previous massage, you didn't go to a professional masseuse! He or she should have asked you what kind of pressure you wanted during the massage. If it is too firm, speak up! Seniors should be especially careful that they see a therapist who is certified in Geriatric massage so they receive a more gentle treatment. (My specialty certification in this area is called Medical & Geriatric Massage). Another reason for a sore/heavy feeling after a massage could be substances like normal metabolic wastes that were stagnating in and around muscle tissue & were causing muscle tightness or stiffness that have been pushed into the lymphatic system, in which case one should drink lots of water for the rest of the day to flush them out. Click HERE for more discussion on soreness during or after a massage.
11. What should I do during my massage? --I usually tell my clients to close their eyes & concentrate on thinking about nothing! This sounds like an oxymoron, but "floating away", stopping the mental chatter, ignoring what I'm doing is exactly what you should attempt to do. If you are "helping" by holding your arm up, then you are tightening your muscles again and that's not what we want. Definitely tell me if some point I'm working on is sensitive or hurts, or needs more pressure, but other than that try to drift off to a meditative place, perhaps just listening to the soothing music. It's OK not to talk. You decide how much conversation you want during the session. It is also helpful if my female clients tie their hair off their necks and remove necklaces.
12. What is a first appointment like? --Whether I come to your home or you come to see me, please freshen up by showering (remembering to scrub your feet with a washcloth) & brushing your teeth. At the first visit I'll have you fill out a Health Information and Consent Form, which asks questions about your health status, such as how often you exercise, do you have skin cancer/arthritis/high blood pressure...I sit & discuss the form with you after you fill it out and discuss your goals for the massage. Then I will leave the room & let you get undressed and under the sheet on the table. When you are settled I will perform the massage, & when your time is up I leave the room and allow you time to dress. At that time I will collect payment and leave you to enjoy the rest of your relaxed day!
13. Why do spas charge a lot more/less? -- Some day spas charge a lot more so you feel you're getting more value for your money by offering bathrobes, tea, sauna...You are also helping them pay their overhead. But you are not necessarily getting better quality by paying more. Also, if you sign up for a 1-hour massage, it usually is only 50 minutes. On the other side of the spectrum, be wary of low-cost or chain massage centers. They may not be licensed by the city or they may hire students or those on a 3-month work Visa who haven't had legitimate training, both of which is illegal.