Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is massage therapy?
2. What is bodywork?
3. What are the benefits of massage therapy and related modalities?
4. Which technique is right for me? Swedish? Deep/Myofascial? Sports? and more...
5. Are there any medical conditions or contraindications that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
6. How do I find a good massage therapist?
7. Is massage painful?
8. How do I prepare for a session?
9. What happens during a session?
10. What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
11. How will I feel after a session?
12. How long will the session last?
13. Do I remove my clothing?
14. Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
15. Will oil or lotion be used?
16. What parts of my body will be massaged?
17. Will I be covered during the session?
18. What about hygiene?
19. What if I want more or less pressure?
20. Can I have the therapist work on just one area?
21. Am I expected to tip?
22. I'm pregnant. Can I still get a table/chair massage?
23. What is a chair massage?
24. What can I expect in a 15, 20 or 30 minute chair massage?
25. How much space is needed for a chair massage?
26. What about residential in-home visits?

WHAT IS MASSAGE THERAPY?
It is difficult to capture the definition and benefits of massage therapy in one definition. Each definition is often linked to the type of treatment you are receiving (see techniques).

Massage therapy incorporates any number of hands-on treatments of applied pressure to the skin, muscle and/or joints with the goal to release tension, pain, muscle stiffness, spasms, or cramps and to relieve anxiety and tension or stored energy from the body.

There are many different types of massage. Massage is often generalized to its origin (Eastern and Western). Some of the most common Eastern types are: Shiatsu, Acupressure, Acupuncture and Polarity. Eastern types of massages involve an understanding of the body's energy.

Popular Western modalities are: Swedish, Neuromuscular and Myofascial Release massage therapy. Western types are based in an anatomical understanding of our body, that is where the muscles are located in the body.

There are several other types of bodywork: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Alexander Technique, CranioSacral, Feldenkrais, Metamorphosis, OneBrain, Reiki, Reflexology, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Trager...just to name a few!
Each person responds differently to massage and there isn't just one style which is best for all.

WHAT IS BODYWORK?
Bodywork is a general term encompassing both traditional massage methods and any other form of working with the body. These bodywork methods, also called modalities, are used in a preventative capacity for prolonged periods of wellness and to bring about healing for those who are in varying states of injury or dis-ease.

Bodywork modalities share the common goals of relaxation, cessation of pain, improved function and mobility, a heightened sense of well-being, and increased body awareness.

Most bodywork modalities involve touch. In some forms of energetic healing, this is all that is done. In other bodywork forms, the therapist will deeply manipulate soft tissues, assist you with stretching or range of motion exercises, or merely offer support. In other instances, such as Yoga sessions, the bodyworker is present primarily as teacher or coach.

Bodywork can be very beneficial to many people, but it is not a substitute for supervised medical care where needed.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY AND RELATED MODALITIES?
These few short sentences state benefits of massage without getting too scientific:

Massage stimulates the brain to reduce pain, fatigue, depression and improves sleep.

Massage is the oldest form of healing: the Chinese, Egyptians and Romans practiced various forms of it.

Massage has been shown to reduce asthma attacks in children suffering from asthma.
Mothers massaged before, during and after labor experience back pain relief, less agitation, faster delivery, and less postpartum depression.

More and more major corporations provide massage therapy as an employment benefit.
Hippocrates, the 5th century BC Greek physician, advised that healers should be experienced, "in rubbing for rubbing can bind a joint that is loose, and loosen a joint that is too ridged." That is increased flexibility and range of motion.

Massage is one of the oldest and simplest forms of medical care used to provide a variety of benefits including to ease pain and anxiety and promote good health.

Gentle massage affects the nervous system through nerve endings in the skin, stimulating the release of endorphins, the body's natural 'feel good' chemicals, to help induce relaxation and a sense of well-being, to relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenalin. It helps reverse the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.

Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps the lymphatic system to flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility.

Receiving natural therapies are perfect for maintaining health. A massage as little as once a month will dramatically decrease your chance of illness or injury. Receiving bodywork on a regular basis promotes circulation, boosts the immune system, and promotes proper posture which all contribute to general health and the ability to fight disease. By acting to create self-awareness and relieve common aches, bodywork allows a person to be more aware in each moment with higher concentration. And perhaps most importantly, bodywork reduces stress, thus reducing the incidence of stress-related illness and injury, one of the most significant contributors to time off work and lost wages.

WHICH TECHNIQUE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
There are many terms for types of massage. Your massage therapist will discuss with you which massage modality will give you the results you are looking for.

While there are many types of bodywork, no one modality will work for all people. Any one therapy, when applied to the same person may work at times and not at others. Each person and situation is highly individualized. You and your therapist will discuss your therapeutic goals and customize your session to determine what type of treatment might best suit your needs.

ARE THERE ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS OR CONTRAINDICATIONS THAT WOULD MAKE MASSAGE OR BODYWORK INADVISABLE?
Yes. That is why it is imperative that before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Many practitioners may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.

Medical contraindications include but are not limited to: uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, fractures, herniated discs, malignancy, numbness or tingling in any part of the body especially the hands and feet. Please inform your massage therapist of any acute or ongoing health conditions before the massage.

IS MASSAGE PAINFUL?
Most massage and bodywork is not painful. However depending upon the reason for your appointment and the type of bodywork you are receiving there is the possibility that during a session you may or mat not experience some pain or bruising.

If the massage is addressing back pain, neck pain, or sciatic pain, there is the possibility that you will experience some discomfort during the massage, especially on your first visit. The more contracted a muscle is, the more sensitive it is to touch, therefore creating a level of pain. However, the client is ultimately at all times in control of the session and should communicate with the therapist to let them know how you are feeling. It may take two or five sessions to reach the most therapeutic depth to relieve pain.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A SESSION?
In brief...make yourself comfortable, that is arrive on time, do not eat just before a session, use the restroom before a session and remember to breathe and welcome the process of massage into your session.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SESSION?
In brief the therapist will ask you some questions and you will fill out a full medical history form. Next, you will be asked to remove your clothing. The therapist will either leave the room. The massage therapist will tell you what position to lie in on the table. Expect a peaceful and comfortable environment for the massage. The massage therapist may play music during the massage.

Before the massage begins, the massage therapist may offer some advice that will improve the quality of your massage. A common one is to breathe, especially if a sensitive area is being massaged. The massage therapist may use oil or lotion, which reduces drag on the skin while performing the massage strokes. After the massage is finished, you will once again be provided with privacy in order to get dressed.

The following are normal responses to relaxation and may occur during massage. Trust your body to express what it needs to: need to move or change position, sighing, yawning, change in breathing stomach gurgling, emotional feelings and/or expression movement of intestinal gas, energy shifts, falling asleep, memories.

An exception to the above description would be a seated massage. In this case, you sit in a specially designed massage chair. The chair supports the front of the body, which allows access to most of the body. You remain clothed and oil or lotion is generally not used. Seated massages are usually shorter sessions that typically run from 10 to 30 minutes. Since the chairs are highly portable, seated massages can take place in a variety of settings, including the workplace.

WHAT SHOULD I DO DURING THE SESSION?
The best thing for you to do is concentrate on your breath. Breathe deeply and fully to help yourself relax. This helps your muscles to relax at a deeper level and allows for more effective treatment.

Make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm or initiating a stretch). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, while others may talk during their session. Feel free to ask the practitioner questions about massage and bodywork in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.

HOW WILL I FEEL AFTER A SESSION?
Most people feel very relaxed. Massage recipients are more alert and focused then ever. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity, which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water following your massage.

It's easy to mistake a sense of relaxation for fatigue. In our experience, your body will adjust to what it needs most: for some it is increased relaxation and for others it is increased invigoration. After a few minutes you will "re-adjust" to your surroundings.

HOW LONG WILL THE SESSION LAST?
An average therapeutic massage or bodywork session lasts one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60-to-120 minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session. Hot tubs, steam baths, and saunas can assist in the relaxation process.

DO I REMOVE MY CLOTHING?
You should take off only as much as you are comfortable removing. A sheet is provided for draping during the massage. The therapist will uncover only the part of the body being massaged, insuring that modesty is respected at all times. The draping also keeps the person receiving the massage warm. You should also remove any jewelry or other articles that might interfere with the massage.

For chair massage the massage recipients remain fully clothed. At most, you may be asked to remove any jacket or obstructive jewelry during the massage.

WILL THE THERAPIST BE PRESENT WHEN I DISROBE?
The therapist will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.

WILL OIL OR LOTION BE USED?
A light oil or lotion may be used to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin. The lubricants used hydrate the skin and are readily absorbed. Please let the therapist know if you have a preference for or allergy to any scents or ingredients. Please feel free to also bring your own oil or lotion. You can ask the therapist if your product will be suitable for the type of therapy you will be receiving.

No oils are used in chair massage. Sometimes lotion is applied during hand massage. Please let your therapist know if you prefer no lotion.

WHAT PARTS OF MY BODY WILL BE MASSAGED?
A typical hour session will cover most of the body including work on your face, scalp, arms, legs, feet, hands, neck, shoulders, gluteals and back. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).

WILL I BE COVERED DURING THE SESSION?
You will be properly draped at all times. Only the area of the body being worked on will be exposed at one time. The rest of your body will remain covered in comfort.

WHAT ABOUT HYGIENE?
The therapist cleans & disinfects the massage table/chair and headrest and washes their hands/arms between each massage. Each massage recipient also receives fresh sheets/towels for every session.

WHAT IF I WANT MORE OR LESS PRESSURE?
Just ask! Your therapist is trained to adapt to a wide variety of body types and sensitivities to pressure. Your therapist will check in with you during the massage, but never hesitate to let your therapist know your preference.

CAN I HAVE THE THERAPIST WORK ON JUST ONE AREA?
If you'd like the massage therapist to focus on one specific area just let them know. At the beginning of the massage you will be asked if you have any specific concerns. Keep in mind that the more time spent on this specific area, the less time spent on the other areas.

AM I EXPECTED TO TIP?
Gratuities are not expected or necessary but are appreciated by your therapist. If you choose to tip, the average amount is 15-20%, but has been our experience to receive between 15-50%.

I'M PREGNANT. CAN I STILL GET A MASSAGE?
Massage can be very beneficial for women during pregnancy. However, be sure to let the massage therapist know you are pregnant so they can assure your safety and comfort.

WHAT IS A CHAIR MASSAGE?
Chair massage ranges from 10-30 minute massage that focuses on the high tension areas of the neck, back, shoulders, arms & hands. Chair massage is often performed on a specially designed portable massage chair. Massage therapists must be specially trained in chair massage technique. Chair massage is especially effective at producing therapeutic results in a brief period of time by concentrating the massage on the areas of greatest tension.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A CHAIR MASSAGE?
Generally chair massage may last from 10-30 minutes.

During a chair massage session, and depending on the length of the chair massage, the therapist can focus on relieving muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, back, arms & hands. Also any specific areas of concern can be thoroughly addressed.

HOW MUCH SPACE IS NEEDED FOR A CHAIR MASSAGE?
Space requirements are minimal - only a small 5' x 6' area is needed for the therapist to set up their massage chair and have enough room to move around comfortably.

WHAT ABOUT RESIDENTIAL IN-HOME VISITS?
Formerly called "house calls" residential in-home visits are perfect for relaxing in the comfort and convenience of your own home. A massage therapy session is ideal in the evening preparing the body for ultimate relaxation before retiring, or first thing in the morning to jump start your day.