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What to Expect at Your Massage Session

Preliminary Information

  • Your massage therapist will ask preliminary questions to determine your overall health and your 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.

Privacy

  • Before your massage, you’ll be asked to remove clothing to your level of comfort.
  • The therapist will leave the room while you undress and remove any jewelry or other articles that might interfere with the massage. 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.
  • Chair massages, which often are offered in public spaces and workplaces, are an exception. A specially-designed massage chair lets you lean forward and supports the front of the body. You remain clothed and no oil or lotion is used. Seated massages typically last from 10 to 30 minutes.

Environment

  • Music might be played during your massage session. If you find music distracting, let your massage therapist know. The same goes for talking during your session.
  • Your massage therapists should check on pressure and comfort throughout your session. If you're uncomfortable at any time, tell your massage therapist.
  • The massage table is padded, and may have extra attachments or cushions, such as a face cradle, which allows you to lie facedown without turning your head or neck.

Massage Therapy

  • Massage therapists often use oil or lotion, which reduces drag on the skin during massage. If you're allergic to oils or lotions, tell your massage therapist beforehand.
  • If you're receiving a hot stone massage, make sure you're comfortable with the temperature of the stones.
  • Depending on your needs, the massage therapist will massage either the full body (except private areas) or only specific areas that need attention, such as especially tight muscles.
  • Remember to breathe normally.
  • Table massage usually lasts beween 30 and 90 minutes.
  • After your massage, the massage therapist will allow you to slowly get up and get dressed in privacy. Usually your massage therapist will offer you water after you’re dressed.
  • Depending on the environment, tips are appreciated to recognize outstanding service, but not required.

Follow Up

  • The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so work with your massage therapist to develop a custom plan to meet your health and wellness goals.

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Teresa H., AMTA member since 2005

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AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

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