What to Expect

This page answers some common questions about massage therapy in general and Massage for Pain Relief specifically.  If you have any questions or concerns about receiving massage therapy, please read on.

Can Massage really help me with my pain?   There have been many people over the years who have found relief from a variety of painful conditions through massage.   Massage can promote relaxation and ease tension and spasm that lead to so much pain.  Many of the most common pain complaints are very responsive to appropriately applied massage therapy.  At the same time, many pain complaints do not respond well to massage. Whether massage will be able to resolve your pain condition depends on many factors: the source of your pain, the complexity of your condition, the skill of your massage practitioner.  I cannot promise that your pain will go away.  I can guarantee that I bring a high degree of professional skill and experience to my work.  I have helped many people over the years find relief from various pain conditions, all over the body.

I am not in pain and just want to relax.  Is this massage right for me?  Absolutely.  I have many clients who come for general relaxation massage without specific pain complaints.

Is it going to hurt?  Massage does not have to hurt to be effective.  Nor does massage need to use a lot of pressure to work.  The best massage is one that answers to your body’s needs without putting extra stress or strain on your body.  Massage that hurts a lot or is too aggressive can activate the same kind of guarding and defensive holding patterns that are at the root of many pain conditions.  Because of this, Massage for Pain Relief starts gently and works to the level of pressure and force that is right for you.  That might be very light and gentle, or deep and vigorous.  The massage itself should not be painful.  However, when working with tissue that is in distress and causing pain, we want to work into that tissue and see what is going on.  This process can often recreate the pain patterns that brought you in in the first place, and this discomfort can be therapeutic.  In this case, the massage is bringing your attention to pain and discomfort that is already being held in the body, and that can be very beneficial.  The standard I give is that if the discomfort is preventing you from breathing easily, or is preventing you from relaxing into the work, then the massage is not being effective and we need to back up to a more gentle technique.

What can I expect from my first session?  When you come up to the building, ring the doorbell and I will come and greet you at the door.  At your first session I will ask you to fill out an intake form with some basic information and health history.  After filling out the intake, we will go to the treatment room, where we will talk about the goals you have for massage therapy and how we can meet those goals.  I will do an evaluation, which will include asking questions about your health history, observing your posture and movement, and possible doing some orthopedic testing.  After we complete the assessment, I will leave the room to allow you to get on the treatment table.

Do I have to get undressed in front of my massage therapist?  No.  When it is time for you to get on the table, I will leave the room.  You will undress down to your comfort level and then get underneath an opaque sheet and blanket.  I will knock before entering and will not come in until I hear you say that it is ok.  When I enter the room, I will see you lying completely covered on the treatment table and the session will start from there.

Will I stay covered during the session?  Yes.    During a massage, we uncover only the area we are working on, and leave the rest of the body covered by a sheet and, if it is cool, a blanket.  I hold myself to a high standard of draping, and ensure that you stay modest and protected during the entire session.

Do I have to get naked?  Not unless you want to.  Some people choose to be completely naked.  Others leave on underwear or clothing.  We can work with whatever level of disrobing your are comfortable with.

What do I have to do during a massage?   During the massage, your job is to relax and breathe.  As we work, it is helpful if you bring your attention and breath into the areas holding tension.

What if I feel uncomfortable during a session?  Please communicate any discomfort you feel during a session.  This is your bodywork session, and if you are uncomfortable or anxious, it will decrease the effectiveness of the work, so please speak up.  Asking me to modify the work will not hurt my feelings, and some of the best sessions happen when there is open communication between me and a client.  Also, you can ask me to work more on areas that need it, and you can ask for things that you want to get out of your session.