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  • Writer's pictureTania Cucciniello

Expect the Absolute Best Out of Your Next Massage

Today's article was inspired by some astonishing facts I heard from several new clients. I have been practicing the art of touch, specifically massage therapy, for 15 years and some things still surprise me after all this time. For instance, how they have never gotten shoulder bolsters before! They were bolstered only at the knees or feet, even though some of them were diagnosed and sought treatment for shoulder impingement syndrome or a retracted capsule/capsulitis, most referred to as a "frozen shoulder". With pathologies such as these, a simple yet effective bolstering can provide relief and comfort for the client throughout the entire massage without having to stop, as this can occur at times.

Are you someone who has experienced something like this before? Did you go into a massage with goals that were clearly communicated to the massage therapist but that were not adhered to? Are you wasting time and money due to poor massages that yield little to no results?

Are you a massage therapist, osteopath or physiotherapist who feels they might be making these major mistakes? Not to worry, my goal here is to help. If you want to learn about these conditions and how they can be treated successfully, please consider downloading my e-book Connect: A Practical Guide to Fascia.

Follow chapter 3 to understand muscular and capsular pathologies our clients get diagnosed with every day; then dive into chapter 5 to learn how to treat these conditions with ease and victory, specifically through the power of Fascia Therapy.

Find a description of Fascia Therapy HERE.

Standards A standard is defined as something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison; an approved model and/or a normal requirement, quality, quantity, level, grade, etc.

All professionals, whether it be massage therapists, osteopaths, physiotherapists, chiropractors or acupuncturists, are taught practice standards. Basic guidelines, principles and the minimum level of expected performance to be practiced with each client.

This constitutes what an ethical and competent delivery of care should be. When an individual comes to us with pain, it is our responsibility to apply the standards to the situations faced in the practice.

What to Expect at Your Next Massage

Preliminary Information: Your massage therapist should ask you to fill out a health status form which includes questions to determine your overall health, lifestyle habits, medical history, medications, stress levels, activity levels, occupation and areas of pain you would like attention on during the massage.

Privacy: Once a conversation about your medical conditions and your expectations for the massage is conducted, the massage therapist will tell the client to get undressed and how to get installed on the massage table once they leave the room, giving the client some privacy. Most massage therapists will allow you to undress to level of your comfort, with or without your underwear on. Stay relaxed and remember that you will be draped appropriately by a sheet, towel or blanket, with only the area being massaged exposed.

During the Massage: The massage therapist should create an initial touch or contact over the sheets. At this point, they should introduce bolsters, which supports and eases pressure off the joints. The client should be asked if the lighting, temperature and music are all to their liking. During the massage, pressure and comfort should be checked on throughout the appointment. If you're uncomfortable at any time, tell your massage therapist. Most importantly, the massage therapist should be focused on the quality of the maneuvers and the improvements achieved, aka- standards.

Follow-Up: Once the massage is over, the massage therapist will have a better idea of what the needs of the client are, how fast to progress and how many sessions they will need. Basically, creating a customized plan of intervention to meet the health and wellness goals of everyone. This point is by far one the most important expectations to have after a massage. Scheduling a follow-up appointment is the responsibility of the massage therapist using their professional judgement as to when the next session should be.

The best results of massage therapy are cumulative, meaning accumulated, therefore if the massage therapist creates a plan for you, stick to it and you will see the results in no-time.

What You Can Do as a Client to Prepare for Your Next Massage

As mentioned, this article was inspired due to the fact that I am still hearing from new clients that certain standards of massage therapy are not being practiced; I say that not only because they didn’t get shoulder bolsters, but because the clients “get massaged regularly” yet still have the same symptoms after months and/or years. This means the professional is unfortunately not achieving the releases the body needs. This may be because their training is just not as advanced in dealing with all the numerous conditions one can be diagnosed with. Make sure to choose a professional with the right credentials to fit your needs. Here are some more simple tips on you can do as a client to get the most out of your next massage!

Arrive early: there are many questions to be asked and you don't want that cutting into the actual massage time.

Go to the bathroom: a clear bladder will make the massage more comfortable, especially if the massage needs to be performed in and around that area. Going to the bathroom before the massage begins will also ensure you don't need to get up during the massage, causing an interruption.

Drink water: laying face down can cause congestion and dehydration so make sure to be hydrated and you will be more comfortable. However, do not consume any alcohol before a massage as it can amplify the ill effects alcohol can have on the body.

Don't sunbathe/suntan: Staying out of direct sunlight prior to a massage helps prevent sunburn, therefore there will be no redness or inflammation and the massage therapist will not be prevented from massaging a certain area.

Reschedule if you're feeling ill: Although a massage would feel good when you are not feeling well, simply tell your massage therapist that you're ill and avoid the possibility spreading germs.

Finally, here's a fun one: Shower and shave. Yes please! Hygiene is important as massage therapy includes touching one another. Follow the best practices of hygiene such as washing your hands, avoid harsh perfumes and deodorants, and wear clean clothes to your session to stay safe and avoid spreading germs.

Here's my recommendation for an all-natural deodorant you could wear to your next appointment without all the harsh odors and chemicals. My favorite for men & women is Tom's Natural deodorant:

Will your next massage check off all these boxes? Leave me a comment or get in touch to let me know!

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