Massage is a great way to manage pain, improve circulation, or relax.
Massage is something you either hate or love. I've never heard anyone say
they can take it or leave it. Have you?
I remember my first massage very clearly. A back
injury I had in 1991 resulted in months of chiropractic and massage care. I was a bit nervous, mostly scared of the unknown. . .so let me break down the mystique for you.
If possible, start with a referral for a massage
therapist from your physician, or from a friend. You can also use the yellow pages to
call and ask some questions (for example, In the U.S., Massage Therapists should be licensed by the
state.) Ask if the therapist is licensed. Perhaps ask where he or she
studied massage. (Some of the massage schools with the best reputations in the world are in
Florida. But ultimately a person's gift for the job is certainly more
important than where they were trained.) My two main questions are:
- How long has
he or she been in business?"
- "What kind of massage does
that individual perform?" (This is a biggie to me.)
If you look in the yellow pages, you can often learn the basics about a
given therapist. In my experience (nine different therapists over eight years), the best ones
evaluate your tight muscles with their fingertips and use whichever method
will bring you the best relief.
I was satisfied with the first massage therapist I went to. But after I moved
out of state, I found out what a massage should be like! If you come out
thinking, "That was nice," maybe you should consider shopping around. Try
several. Your body will tell you when you want to become a regular
A massage should leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, stimulated, or more
balanced. Don't settle for less.
What to Expect
During a massage, you lie on a special massage table, usually half the time
face up, half the time face down. (An injured people can lie on his side
while being massaged.)
Nudity is not necessary. You can wear as much underwear as you feel
comfortable with. California seems to go more for nude massages. The more
conservatives seem to leave panties on. You'll be draped with a sheet at all
times, with the therapist exposing only the part they are working on.
A whole body one-hour massage usually begins with the person lying face up.
The treatment begins with a light facial massage and moves down the neck,
one shoulder, arm, hand, thigh, calf, foot, then back up the other side.
Then you turn over and get the back worked on from neck to waist.
If you are going for a half hour, you may choose to concentrate only on the
trouble areas. For me, that means the neck, back, and wrists (yes, wrists,
from hours at this keyboard).
Depending on where you live, prices vary. Costs range $40-$60/hr. Some
places offer a package of 3 or 4 massages, spread over time, for a slightly
lower rate. You can also buy a half hour for roughly $25-$30.
Chair massages are performed while you are fully dressed, reclining
frontward on a special massage chair, allowing the back to relax and be
worked on. These massages can be fifteen minutes long and cost $10-$15.
Male or Female Therapist?
I didn't think I could relax with a male massage therapist. One day my neck
and back caused a lot of pain. I couldn't get the usual therapist, so I
tried a man who someone recommended. I was familiar with massage and knew
what to expect from a therapist and from my body. I gave the young man a
try. It turns out he was the head of a massage school who traveled worldwide
teaching others this art. He made it easy to be comfortable.
Massage and physical therapies are effective alternatives for the
health-conscious to consider. Some people have avoided surgery or medication
by using these therapies. Others use self care, like massage and exercise,
along with their medical treatments.
The Three Main Massage Techniques