What does a massage therapist do?
Massage therapists typically do the following:
- Talk with clients about symptoms, medical history, and desired results
- Evaluate clients to locate painful or tense areas of the body
- Manipulate muscles or other soft tissues of the body
- Provide clients with guidance on how to improve posture, stretching, strengthening, and overall relaxation
Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes feet to knead muscles and soft tissue of the body in order to treat injuries and to promote general wellness. A massage can be as short as fifteen minutes or could last for more than an hour.
Massage therapists may use lotions and oils, massage tables or chairs, and hydrotherapy when treating a client. They may offer clients information about additional relaxation techniques or exercises to practice between sessions.
What Will I Expect on My First Therapy Session?
Preliminary information. Your massage therapist will ask preliminary questions to determine your overall health and wellness goals. The massage therapist will consider information about your physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels, medications and any areas of physical pain that could affect your massage therapy outcome.
This information will help the massage therapist structure the session to achieve your health and wellness goals.
Before your massage, you’ll be asked to remove clothing to your level of comfort. The therapist will leave the room while you undress. Take off only as much as you are comfortable removing. Lie on the massage table, underneath the provided sheet or towel, which will cover your body except for the part being massaged.
After your Massage
Take your time getting up. You may feel slightly groggy or disoriented if you were deeply relaxed. Don't be afraid to ask for help getting up if you need it.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids afterwards. If you have a lot of toxins and waste built up in your system, you may feel slightly nauseous or headachy temporarily as they flush through. You may feel a little sore for a day or two afterwards if you had a lot of deep tissue work done. Let your therapist know if you are more than a little sore.
If possible, plan to take it easy for a few hours after your massage to enjoy the maximum benefit of the massage.
A relaxing massage in the evening, followed by a hot bath can help you fall asleep if you have insomnia.
Why Do You Have to Drink Water After a Massage?
If you’ve ever gotten a massage, whether at a spa, a sports medicine facility, or a kiosk at the airport, chances are that your masseuse instructed you to drink a lot of water when you got home (or wherever your travels may have taken you). The reasons for this are twofold.
First off, massages are dehydrating. Kneading and working muscle gets fluid pumping out of the soft tissue and into your circulatory system, where it heads toward your kidneys. That’s why many people have to pee right after a massage. (Naumann Carlstrom says some of her clients can’t get up from the table fast enough.) You have to replenish all that lost water – by drinking more.
Then there’s the issue of metabolic waste, which is produced by muscles in the course of everyday function. When your muscles are tight or you’ve got a major knot, it constricts circulation in those areas, inhibiting the body’s ability to flush out this waste. And, since tight muscles are probably what prompted you to make a massage appointment in the first place, chances are you’ve got some compromised circulation happening. Massage relaxes the tension, releasing the circulatory pathways and allowing nitrogenous metabolic waste to dump into the system. Drinking provides your kidneys with the water they need to effectively eliminate the newly liberated waste. So, once again, it comes back to pee.
It's a Stretch Feel better with flexibility exercises and massage therapy?
Muscle injuries are more common now than they were 50 years ago. That's not because we're exercising harder. It's because we're more sedentary.
As a result, stretching is more important than ever, says Erin McGill, a certified personal trainer and training and development manager for the National Academy of Sports Medicine. A lot of people think, 'Oh, I should stretch because I don't want to pull muscles or be injured,' she says. But stretching is also one of the best ways to undo the damage caused by inactivity.
Stretching has benefits similar to massage's. It gets the blood flowing to overactive muscles that have contracted because of stress or immobility. Without a good stretch, these muscles can spasm and shut down-and then show up as the marblelike knots that get extra attention from your massage therapist.
In fact, regular massage improves your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone. McGill recommends 10 to 15 minutes of stretching before each workout to rebalance your body. And if you don't exercise, stretch anyway. "It's hard on your body to sit at a desk all day, so stretch anytime you can.
Can a single massage therapy session “fix” me?
There’s no definite answer to this question – clients vary with different ailments, some chronic, some intermittent. The therapies to alleviate these conditions varies as well.
Many clients have walked away from a single massage therapy sessions feeling immediate relief, others have felt a physical improvement from their massage session the next day or a few days later, and some clients have required a series of regularly scheduled massage therapy sessions in order to notice significant improvements.
It’s important to speak with your massage therapist about your ailments and your expectation, so they can help you understand the benefits they anticipate you’ll receive and how soon you can expect those benefits from your massage therapy treatments.
While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you want a single session or a series of sessions, if you plan to return more frequently you can take advantage of discounted series packages or ask your therapist if there is any discount on follow up sessions.