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Massage Quips

When in doubt, apply common sense

Massage practitioners experience people in many states of dress, undress, stress and delusion. Clients sometimes get assailed by ideas like do I tip? Am I supposed to be nude? Do I say anything during the massage, or if the pressure's too deep or not deep enough? How do I cope with self-consciousness about my body? What if I get an erection? What if I get aroused? What to do if I want to fart, burp or my tummy rumbles?

There are so many questions and often fears caused by not knowing, so here we list some tips to guide you through some of the cultural gaps in our education when it come to touch and being touched.

There are many different styles and approaches to massage, so avoid embarrassment and for ease of decision making, decide first why you want a massage and what sort of massage you want.

Common reasons to have a massage include:

  • Relaxation and recreation
    Massage is one of the best relaxation and recreational therapies which has made massage such a popular treat.
    As for massage styles - you can select almost any except remedial therapy.
  • Stress release
    Massage is one of the most practical methods of reducing stress and assisting recovery from the effects of stress.
    As for massage styles - you can select almost any except remedial therapy.
  • Relief of physical aches and pains
    Massage is one of the most practical methods of relieving physical aches and pains.
    As for massage styles - select almost any including remedial therapy.
  • Physical contact
    We live in a touch deprived world and massage is one of the safest ways of being touched and reconnected to life.
    Swedish / relaxation massage is good for this.

Answers to common massage questions clients want to ask, but may be too embarrassed to.

Punctuality  - Am I supposed to be early, tactfully late or punctual?

  • Most therapists prefer you to be punctual or a few minutes early.
  • If you are going to be more than 5 mins late, its nice to call and let your therapist know.
  • If you just don't arrive, you are liable for the therapists time and expenses in relation to your booking.

Am I supposed to take off my underwear when I get a massage?
Many shy people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage while others prefer to be completely nude.

  • If your reasons for massage are back ache or any medical problem you are best to completely undress. Its a bit like taking your car for a service and not allowing the mechanic to inspect under the hood.
  • If problem areas you want treated are your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, underwear gets in the way of massage work, but a thong is an acceptable compromise.
  • If you are shy, let the therapist know and they will use appropriate towel/ draping methods to keep your private bits covered and realise that most massage therapists are as professionally well trained and familiar with the human body as a gynaecologist or prostate examiner - don't be shy.

Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?

  • The massage therapist will generally leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and lie on the massage table (usually face down) under the top sheet.
  • Don’t rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you – the massage therapist always knocks and asks if you are ready before entering the massage room.

What if I realize I’m about to drool during the massage?

  • Many people find their sinuses get congested and their nose may run. This is very common and often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table. Don’t be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.

Should I talk to the massage therapist during the massage?

  • Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the therapist. After all, you’re having a treatment; you’re not at a party! Feel free to close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do. Deep tissue massage requires more feedback. The therapist works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable.
  • If you do want to talk, discuss the massage and your feelings, as this may help bring clarity and relaxation.

Be sure to speak up if:

  • You experience discomfort
  • The room is too hot or too cold.
  • You experience pain
  • The method feels really good
  • You have any questions related to the massage.
  • There’s anything you forgot to mention during the pre massage consultation.

I don’t feel comfortable having a massage by a male therapist.

  • Within the industry it is well known that men prefer being massaged by a woman, its less embarrassing if they get an erection and they generally prefer a woman's touch.
  • Woman generally prefer a woman as they say the feel safer - yet those same women go to a male doctor and gynaecologist.
  • Despite the prejudice against men, male therapists are often better trained, stronger and as competent as the best females.
    • Due to outdated social and media stereotypes, many men who choose to become massage therapists are often unprepared for the discrimination they face. When clients request female over male therapists, spas stop hiring them, however skilled they are, that’s why I believe it’s important to challenge your preconceptions.

What if I get sexually aroused during the massage?
bananaaMassage is a sensory experience and anyone who is not touched very often can commonly feel aroused and this is an issue faced by men and women.

  • For men, arousal is hard to hide, however its natural, your therapist should be trained to understand and will not be offended. However many men don't get massage therapy because they worry that they'll get an erection, or they get a massage, but are unable to relax because of this fear.
    So men, overcome your fears, erections are normal and as long as you're not trying to hit on your therapist or draw unnecessary attention to the fact, don't worry and don't let the fear of this put you off getting a massage.
  • For women, few therapists will notice your arousal unless you tell them, you can simply enjoy that inner glow.
  • Gentle touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will generally ignore it.

Am I supposed to tip my massage therapist?

  • If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the service. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you don’t want to do it face to face.

Massage anxiety
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