According to national surveys, most Americans know that massage therapy can help relieve stress and pain and benefit their overall health. If you've decided to get a massage but haven't had one before, you may have questions about what to expect during your session.
The American Massage Therapy Association offers the following information for first-time recipients of massage:
* Massage is beneficial whether fully or partially clothed. It's your choice whether to remove some of your clothing for your massage. Choosing not to remove your clothes does not affect the massage's benefits.
* Massage should not be painful. Give the massage therapist complete and accurate health information and communicate your needs. If you experience discomfort from either the massage or the environment around you, tell your therapist immediately.
* Different techniques can provide relief for various types of pain and stress. Each massage technique or modality is used to achieve specific results for pain relief, flexibility, relaxation or overall health. Discuss your health goals with your therapist to help choose a massage therapy program that works for you. Massage therapist members of the AMTA are trained to recommend massage modalities suited to your health and physical needs.
* It's perfectly OK to talk to your massage therapist or remain silent. Sometimes talking can be a way of unburdening oneself or opening up. Other times, remaining silent can be a way of letting go of thoughts or concentrating. Sometimes, people fall asleep during their session.
* Take your time getting your body adjusted at the end of your massage. Sit up slowly and drink plenty of water.
* Always look for a qualified massage therapist. AMTA's "Find a Massage Therapist" national locator service can help you find a massage therapist in your area. Access the service online at www.amtamassage.org or call (888) THE-AMTA.