skip to main content
What to Expect for Your First Massage

What to Expect for Your First Massage

Monday, April 03, 2023

If you're anything like me, looking forward to getting a massage might seem a lot like planning a fantastic vacation. Yet instead of a lengthy weekend, you're in for a relaxing afternoon that has numerous health advantages, from a reduction in back discomfort to an improvement in the signs of anxiety and depression. It's a nice getaway from the outside world.

Although the advantages—both mental and physical—are evident, scheduling your first appointment can be a little unnerving, especially if you don't know what to anticipate. 

The idea that massage is a one-size-fits-all therapy is a widespread one. The fact that it's meant to be a highly customized and tailored experience based on each person's preferences and comfort level is something that many people are unaware of.

A massage is meant to be a soothing and peaceful experience. But, if this is your first massage, you could feel a little nervous. Don't allow that to hinder you. You'll enter your appointment feeling like a pro with some knowledge of what to expect! 

What You Should Expect for Your First Massage

So, what can you anticipate from your first massage session, and how can you make sure it's as pleasurable as possible?

1. Pre-Massage Consultation

Before your massage, the therapist will ask you some questions about your health history, discuss what you hope to achieve out of the session, and how your body feels to you. During this conversation, you get the chance to express your concerns, needs, and any specific areas you'd like the therapist to focus on, as well as any places you'd like them to steer clear of.

You will be guided through the process by your massage therapist so you will know what to anticipate. Before the massage, you and your therapist will select what to prioritize and how you should position yourself on the table (facing up, face down, or on your side). Your therapist will also inform you to give feedback on things like pressure and technique.

This pre-massage consultation will help determine the best approach to your massage.

2. Be Prepared to Dress or Undress According to Your Comfort Level

Many people worry that getting a massage will require them to undress. Depending on the type of massage you're receiving, the therapist may ask you to undress to your comfort level. Although the majority of massage techniques generally involve you being undressed, you are free to wear whatever you like. You act in a way that is most comfortable for you, to put it simply. 

With regard to the underwear situation, many people are concerned. It is fine to take off all clothing, including underwear, if you feel comfortable doing so, but you don't have to.

The massage therapist will leave the room so you can take off your clothes, get on the super-comfy massage table, and settle in with the sheet and blanket hanging over you.

You will typically be draped with a sheet or blanket to maintain your privacy and keep you warm. Your entire body is covered by the sheets. Throughout the massage, you won't be completely exposed. The therapist will simply undrape the area of your body they are currently massaging.

In the end, appropriate draping should make you feel secure and at ease, and you shouldn't ever wonder whether you are being excessively exposed. This is frequently the biggest concern for clients, but a safe drape will remove all doubt in your mind that the portions of your body you want to be covered are covered, and the only part of your body that isn't covered is the part they are currently massaging.

3. Different Techniques and Different Types of Massages

There are numerous methods and approaches to massage. The technique and type of massage used depends on you and the kind of touch that delivers the outcomes you are looking for while still being personally meaningful and useful.

The therapist may use a variety of techniques. A few of the techniques they may use are:

  • Kneading
  • Long strokes
  • Tapping
  • Circular movements

They may also apply pressure to specific areas of your body, known as trigger points, to help release tension.

Massage can be done in a variety of ways. Swedish massage, which is also sometimes called sports massage, is more of a gliding massage that uses lubricants made of oil, so the therapist is actually gliding and kneading the tissue.

Myofascial massage involves static gripping of the skin and a light stretch with little to no lotion on the hands, engaging the tissue more directly without the glide.

Then there are different types of bodywork, such as shiatsu, in which digital compression is performed from the thumbs without the use of any lotion or oil, and Thai massage, in which you remain completely clothed during the treatment.

4. Communication Throughout the Massage

You and the massage therapist will want to communicate throughout the massage to get the most out of your massage. 

Let your massage therapist know if the pressure is okay or if any of the massage techniques hurt you. You should not be in pain. If your therapist is focusing on a trouble spot, there can be some level of discomfort. It is critical that you share that information with your therapist as well so that they may modify the massage to be as helpful as possible without harming you.

Your therapist will check in with you with leading questions. For instance, while discussing pressure, the therapist should ask you whether you would want more, less, or the same amount of pressure instead of simply asking how the pressure is on the table. This will help you express your needs. 

If you feel uncomfortable on the table or if it gets too hot or cold, or if the pressure is not just right, please speak up. It is typical to initially feel a little nervous speaking with your massage therapist, just like in any new relationship. You can ask for what you need with confidence because the therapist will provide it as a routine part of their service. Hopefully, this will help ease your anxiety.

5. Post-Massage Care

Most people feel incredibly relaxed, calm, and at peace after their massage. The therapist will leave the room to give you privacy to put your clothes back on. Once you are finished dressing, the therapist will see how you are feeling and communicate your next steps. 

The after-massage communication may include:

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out any toxins released during the massage. 
  • You may feel a little sore the next day, but this is normal and should subside within a day or two.
  • A professional recommendation that includes how frequently you should receive a massage and the advantages of routine massage.
  • Self-care tips and stretches you can use after the appointment to maximize the overall benefits of your massage, such as:
    • Stretching a particular muscle group
    • Rolling a golf ball or tennis ball under your foot
    • Foam rolling muscle groups
    • Taking an Epsom salt bath
    • Seeking Chiropractic care
    • Strength train
  • You might see a decrease in pain right away if we tackle a pain-related issue, or you might not experience relief for a day or two.

Hawk Ridge Therapeutic

Our philosophy at Hawk Ridge Therapeutic is simple: We believe our bodies have the innate ability to heal themselves. Through our hectic work schedules, our overwhelming home lives, and all aspects in between, we can lose touch with ourselves. 

Our goal at Hawk Ridge is to help facilitate the natural healing process with active listening and therapeutic touch. Each person who walks through our doors has different needs and goals. We believe in working collaboratively to develop a unique and individualized treatment plan based on history and desired outcome. 

This can be achieved through many avenues, whether it's through pure relaxation techniques, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, postural education, breathing, or exercise, we will be working together to help you optimize your innate health and well-being. 

Please contact us today to start your medical massage and wellness journey!