So, you’ve decided to get your first-ever massage! As the date on the calendar approaches, you might feel apprehensive or uncertain. That’s natural. Disrobing and being touched by a stranger? That’s not so natural. The first thing you should know is that a good massage session can work wonders. A registered massage therapist can help you to untangle knotted, tight muscles and reinvigorate your sluggish, stalled energy.
Some people are nervous the first time they go for a massage, and that’s understandable. Questions come to mind like: What am I supposed to wear? Should I be speaking? Should the therapist? Will the therapist judge me on my physical appearance?
Here’s the thing: massage is meant to be therapeutic and enjoyable. You should be able to quickly get to the point of looking forward to a massage in much the same way you’d look forward to a holiday! It’s your moment to relax, rejuvenate and let go of stress. Here’s what you can expect..
MEET & GREET
If it’s your first time with us at 4 Elements, first of all, welcome! You’ll find our reception and our ambiance to be warm, inviting, and soothing. We believe in creating good first impressions and if you’re new to the area or don’t have any experience visiting a massage clinic, know that we’ll get you situated in a comfortable manner once you walk through our doors. Once you arrive, you will be asked to fill out intake forms to record any relevant medical history, injuries or physical conditions we should be aware of. We recommend arriving 15 minutes early for your first appointment to complete these forms. (Proper etiquette suggests you should still arrive slightly early as a regular client & freshly showered)
STARTING YOUR SESSION
Once your initial questionnaire is completed, you’ll be greeted by your therapist. Your therapist will review the forms with you, and discuss the reasons for your visit and any specific areas you would like to address during your massage. Your therapist will ask you about any areas of the body that you do or do not want massaged. Typically, the feet, stomach, and glute areas are more of a special request, while the arms, legs, back, neck, and head are standard for a basic full body massage. They’ll take you to your private massage room and you’ll immediately be soothed and calmed by gentle music. The warmly-lit atmosphere prompts your body and mind to simply relax knowing that all you have to do is, more or less, take it easy.
Your therapist will leave the room to allow you to disrobe and lay down on the table under the top sheet. You may prefer to completely disrobe or remain partially clothed. During your session, your therapist will only uncover the area of your body being worked on.
DURING YOUR MASSAGE
It’s all about you. Communication is key to receiving the most effective treatment for achieving your relaxation and wellness goals. You can receive either a customized full-body massage for general relaxation or stress reduction or a treatment focusing on specific parts of your body such as your neck or back.
During your massage, relax your muscles and your mind. Breathe normally and try not to tighten or contract your muscles. Your therapist will ask you to let them know if any of the techniques are causing discomfort or pain.
AFTER YOUR MASSAGE
When your massage is complete, your therapist will give you self care advice if applicable to help you between appointments. Your therapist will also recommend how often you should be receiving a massage based on your injury or needs. Your therapist will leave the room, allowing you time to get dressed.
The receptionist will help you check out and help you to rebook future appointments. To show your therapist how much you appreciate their service, you may want to leave a gratuity. Make sure you help yourself to some water before leaving!
LEAVING YOUR THERAPIST A REVIEW AFTER YOUR EXPERIENCE
Once everything is said and done and you’re on your way, please don’t forget to leave a review for the therapist who worked with you. Online reputation is integral to the success of businesses such as 4 Elements and it means the world to us and our staff when customers go out of their way to leave a positive review of their experience via Google, Facebook Vagaro or TripAdvisor. Surveys are also emailed to clients that provide us an email address 24 hours after your massage. Please utilize this form to leave us any constructive feedback or if there was something that you were unsatisfied with during your visit with us. We look forward to welcoming you on your first visit!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What if I get cold?
As the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, the heart rate typically slows, and body temperature may lower. Our treatment rooms have bed warmers readily available if you feel chilled during the session.
Should I talk during the session?
Conversation is led by the client. While some small talk may occur at the beginning of a massage session, once the client is quiet, the massage therapist typically doesn’t engage in conversation except to occasionally ensure pressure and temperature are okay. You can also request on your intake form whether you prefer conversation or not.
What if I fall asleep?
It is a common response as the sympathetic nervous system (stressed, “fight/flight”) quiets and the body relaxes. The massage therapist will gently wake you when it is time to turn over or the session has ended.
Will the massage be painful?
Although some areas may be tender, therapeutic massage should not be painful. The “no pain, no gain” theory typically does not apply and is often counterproductive. Though “deep pressure” may sound like the only way to address tight muscles, chronic muscular adhesions and structural imbalances may resist direct deep pressure. A qualified massage therapist is trained in a variety of modalities/techniques and is able to address deep muscle tissue without causing pain (or bruising!) for the client.
Will I be sore the next day?
Since therapeutic massage increases circulation and eliminates cellular waste from muscular tissue, it is possible to feel a little sore the next day. However, it is suggested to increase water intake post session to reduce any soreness. It is also possible to feel subtle shifts in the body in the 24 hours following a massage session as compensation patterns are changing.
How often should I get a therapeutic massage?
The frequency of massage sessions is unique to every client. For those rehabbing injuries, surgery recovery, or incorporating therapeutic massage into an athletic training program, sessions tend to be more frequent: weekly/bi-weekly. If the goal is general relaxation and health maintenance, the frequency is determined by how long beneficial effects last based on the client’s lifestyle and daily stress patterns: monthly/bi-monthly is fairly common. Just as no two therapeutic massage sessions are never exactly alike, neither are two massage therapists. It may take a few sessions to find a massage therapist and/or massage modality that best suits your specific needs.