If you have a question about massage that is not listed here, please feel free to send a message. Below are some of the most common questions asked about massage therapy.
But first, here are a few tips about getting the most out of your session.
This is YOUR session. Speak up!
Why is this so important? If you want anything changed: pressure, areas worked, position or if you are too hot or too cold … speak up!
You will not hurt the therapist’s feelings by asking for something that will make you more comfortable. Your therapist wants this to be the best experience for you.
Also, what you requested in one session may be different in another. If you had a full body massage last time you had a session, but this time you only want your back/neck/shoulders/arms worked, it’s perfectly fine to ask. You will enjoy your sessions so much more!
Frequently Asked Questions:
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The terms massage and bodywork are often used interchangeably. However, bodywork is an ‘umbrella’ term which includes many techniques/styles including massage. Bodywork includes just about any form of touch/healing therapy aimed at improving one’s energy, physical structure or mind-body connection.
There are many, many types of massage and bodywork being practiced all over the world. Here’s a look at some of the more common types of massage and bodywork, starting with massage.
Swedish Massage – Probably the most common type of massage, a Swedish Massage uses five basic strokes to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation. An oil, lotion, or cream is applied to the skin to reduce friction.
Deep Tissue Massage – This form of massage uses techniques to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia. Sometimes called deep pressure massage, deep muscle massage, or even deep tissue sculpting, these techniques require that the therapist have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and myology. Superficial muscles need to be relaxed to reach the deeper layers, so other bodywork techniques are often mixed in throughout the session. Deep tissue massage can help relieve chronic muscular pain and help achieve better postural alignment.
Pregnancy Massage (or Prenatal Massage) – Perfect for the mother-to-be, pregnancy massage helps to decrease stress and swelling, reduce aches and pains and relieve muscle cramps/spasms all while helping prepare your body for labor. Your therapist should have additional training in this area to better understand the changes your body is going through and what techniques are safe to apply and how to properly position you throughout the nine months.
Sports Massage – Specific techniques are applied to enhance performance and speed recovery. Pre-event sports massage will focus on increasing circulation to warm up muscles (gentle stretching may be included as well). Post-event sports massage focuses more on calming and helping flush metabolic waste from muscle tissues to reduce recovery time. Sports massage can help to not only prevent sports related injuries (cramps, spasms, pulls) but can help reduce recovery time if any injury does occur.
Medically Prescribed Massage – Medically prescribed massage and manual therapy involves a different process than a standard massage session. There is a more lengthy intake, and an in depth consultation and assessment to understand and assess your condition. A strong knowledge of human body and the recovery process is required. Different modalities will be used depending on your condition.
Again, there are many types of Bodywork. I am only going to list the modalities I provide.
Myofascial Release (MFR) – This technique involves the application of sustained pressure and movement of the connective tissues in the body known as fascia. After an assessment of fascial movement a sustained pressure/traction is applied to the tissue to release areas of restriction and immobility. It is these areas of restriction and immobility of fascia that can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the body.
Shiatsu – A Japanese form of body work that literally translates to ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu practitioners use their fingers, hands, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points and sections of the body to correct imbalances and promote health. It can help adjust the body’s physical structure as well as its natural inner energies. When points are pressed, the body’s natural healing abilities are enhanced, releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation.
Body Drumming – Integrate the left and right hemispheres of your brain with shaking, rocking and percussion. The rhythmic techniques of percussion, body rocking, and jostling along with massage itself, integrate beautifully to release tension, stimulate healing energy and blood flow, release holding patterns, as well as mobilizing joints. A session can be very gentle and soothing to vigorous. The activation of the Healing Relaxation or Parasympathetic Mode of the Autonomic Nervous is also a very important benefit for the receiver.
Please arrive on time. You will be asked to fill out a health history form. Afterward the therapist will begin by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, if there are any conditions needing to be addressed, and to determine what type of massage is appropriate for you. Your massage therapist may perform certain assessments and testing to evaluate your condition and to see if you have any presenting complaints.
It is important to list all health concerns and medications so the therapist can adapt the session to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so the therapist is aware if he/she needs to use a different oil or lotion during the session.
Depending on the type of massage. you will either be fully clothed or undressed to the level of your optimum comfort. Shiatsu and some sports massage is done completely clothed. Thai pants are provided for Shiatsu sessions. For a full body integrative massage, you should undress to the level you are comfortable; many people get completely undressed. However, if you will be more comfortable during the session if you leave your underwear on, that’s fine. Draping will be provided and modesty will be maintained at all time. The therapist will work around the clothes you left on as best as he/she can. If removing all your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, then you are not getting the optimal benefit from the session.
Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress and get comfortable on the table. Draping with a sheet or towel is the law in Oregon. The therapist will only uncover the part of your body being worked on.
Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she/he will either move you or will ask you to move what is needed. Otherwise, change your position anytime to make yourself more comfortable.
Many people close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It’s up to you. It is your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
- Intake Paperwork (5mins-30mins)
- Consultation (5mins-30mins)
- Session (25mins, 55mins or 85mins)
The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session with focus to a specific area, such as neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60 , 75 or 90-minute session for optimal relaxation, integration and effectiveness. Only your first session will include intake paperwork, subsequent sessions will require 5-10minutes of consultation to talk about what your body needs and what you experienced since the last session.
This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light, relaxing massage that doesn’t probe very deep into the muscles, shouldn’t hurt. With that being said, there is a ‘feels good’ hurt and an ‘ouch, stop it’ hurt. A good massage, even a really deep tissue massage, should always stay in the ‘feels good’ hurt range.
Pain can be an indication that the muscle is possibly injured or inflamed and pressure should be adjusted. Also, pain can cause you to tighten up and negate the relaxing effects of the massage. The most effective and deepest massage always works with your body’s natural response, not against it.
“Some is better than none.”
What does that mean? Well, it varies from person to person. If you are just looking for some occasional relaxation, then a session every 3-6 weeks may be fine for you.
However, if you are looking to address a specific condition, then it is recommended to go more frequently at first and then slowly taper down to a maintenance schedule. Sometimes more frequent sessions can be effective until your goals are met and a maintenance schedule is in place.
Frequency of sessions should be discussed with your massage therapist after your treatment when he/she has a better hands-on understanding of your particular muscular issues.
Sure, if you’d like to talk go right ahead. The important thing to remember is that this treatment is all about you relaxing into the experience. Many therapists discourage talking in hopes that you will relax, let your mind float free and enter a state of massage bliss.
In many instances, people may feel more relaxed starting off talking, and as the massage progresses, enter quiet states of relaxation.
The important issue here is that there are times when you need to speak up. If the therapist is doing anything to make you uncomfortable, you should let her/him know immediately. Also, let him/her know if you get too warm or too cold, if the room is too bright, or if the pressure needs to be changed (lighter or deeper). If something is not working for you – speak up! It’s OK!
No. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
While many therapists play slower, quieter, ‘new age’ type music, you can choose to have different music or no music at all. Studies have shown that music at under 60 beats-per-minute has a calming, relaxing effect on the body and therefore can enhance your experience.
However, while this may be true, any music you like to listen to while you relax can be listened to while you get a massage. If it relaxes you and you enjoy it at home, why wouldn’t it do the same during your treatment? Ask your therapist what music he/she has to offer or if it is ok to bring your own from home.
This is one of the most frequently asked and difficult questions to answer. In short… it depends on you. Since everyone’s injury is unique, along with their individual body’s natural ability to heal, the length can vary greatly. Commonly, those who were more active before the injury occurred seem to heal more rapidly due to their better overall health. That being said, even the healthiest amongst us will need ample time to heal from an accident with a lot of velocity. The key to a rapid recovery starts with getting treatment as soon as possible after the injury. The body’s amazing ability to heal and adjust can be both a blessing and a curse. If left on its own, without proper guidance, the body may mask over the pain and immobilize the affected area with scar tissue. At times this happens without notice since our body will naturally adapt to its new circumstances. If left for too long, these adaptations may become permanent. The sooner we can get the body healing itself correctly the sooner you can return to your normal way of life. You and your therapist will be able to talk more specifically about this after your first session and he/she has had a chance to evaluate your body’s tissues.
There are different schools of thought for exercises and stretching. Some professionals will tell you that all you need to recover from an injury is exercise and stretch. But natural instinct tells us that right after we hurt ourselves we need to rest the injured area. While exercising and stretching are key factors in a complete recovery they should only come after the affected area is healed. Then exercising to restore strength and stretching to restore flexibility would be indicated.
This has been a question that many healthcare providers have vacillated on. In past 10 years or more there has been a change from using varying hot and cold packs every 24 hours. Now the understanding is that heat should be used for chronic muscle stiffness and ice should be used for acute muscle pain. To understand how and when to use these modalities we need to understand the basic functions of hot and cold on the human body. Cold constricts while heat inflames. When considering an injury we first and foremost need to control the inflammatory response. Using ice for 10-15 minutes will decrease the inflammation and decrease the pain response. Using ice for more than 15 minutes increases the chance for frostbite and will also trigger the body’s natural protective response to sustained cold by increasing blood flow to the affected area. This increased blood flow will undue the positive affects by again increasing inflammation. Heat should only be used with a chronic problem area in order to temporarily increase blood flow. For example, before stretching or exercising. As a rule of thumb, never use heat after any activities since the body temperature and ensuing inflammatory response is already heightened.
In my opinion there are few conditions which would prevent you from enjoying massage. You should not book a massage if you have a fever, cold/flu, or contagious skin infection. That’s it.
There are many other conditions in which your therapist may need to adapt his/her techniques (i.e. arthritis or osteoporosis) or avoid an area completely (i.e. cuts or burns). With some conditions it is a good idea to get an approval from your physician before you receive massage (cancer, certain heart conditions, pregnancy). This doesn’t mean you can’t get massage. But its always better to err on the side of caution.
Your therapist can advise you about your specific needs.
When someone goes to a massage therapist for a massage:
- Minimal intake paperwork
- Client in charge of their own options
- Client pays at time of service
- No paperwork made after session
- No support given after session
- Minimal education level needed
When someone goes to a massage therapist for treatment from a car accident:
- Lengthy intake paperwork
- In depth consultation and assessment of injury
- Understanding and ability to follow closely the treating Doctor’s prescription
- Constant contact with referring physician’s office
- Treatment or “SOAP notes” made after every treatment session to include Subjective and Objective findings along with Assessment and Plan of action
- Billing is filed and sent to insurance company
- Continual contact with insurance company for reimbursement (3-4 month process)
- Support given to any legal services rendered
- In depth knowledge of human body in the recovery process
- Understanding of medical and insurance terminologies
Medically prescribed manual therapy: 15 min.– $45.00