Common Questions and Answers
Question: Why do I need to drink water after a massage?
Answer: Massage will increase the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body while hastening the removal of cellular debris. Water will give your body the hydration it needs to sustain this cleansing process.
Moreover, H2O is the vital super-substance from which all life is sustained, so remember to drink a sufficient amount of water, just be careful not to drink too much! It is estimated that a person needs somewhere between 5-10 8oz glasses of water a day. Of course this varies depending on the size of the person and how active they are. Another safe equasion is: half of your body weight in ounces. ei; 100lbs person may want to drink up approx 50 oz of water per day, more depending on increased activity and perspiration.
Question: How often should I receive massage?
Answer: An individual who is in reasonably good health may receive a massage every day or as often as they want. However, the frequency of massage should be determined by what your individual wellness goals are.
Medical massage is often performed in shorter timed sessions but done more frequently.
Athletes may receive massage to coincide with and facilitate recovery from their work out schedule.
Ultimately, you and your licensed therapist should discuss your long-term health goals to establish a clear direction and protocol. Remember to keep in mind that the long-term cumulative effective of massage is greater than the benefit of any one treatment session.
Question: What improvements can I expect to see after my massage?
Answer: That would depend on what issues you are looking to address. Stress reduction often motivates many to seek massage treatment in the first place. In terms of relaxation or the 'relaxation response', measurable improvement is mostly dependent upon a good relationship between the therapist and the client. As to more serious issues such as chronic muscle spasms, soft tissue inflammation, or any other soft tissue injury, improvement is more dependent upon the therapist incorporating the most suitable treatment modalities. Beyond that, there is the larger issue of whether or not massage can actually help you with your unique condition. To that end accurate assessment by the therapist is most vital. This is why it is important to investigate your therapist before you book your massage appointment and ask questions! As a consumer you have the right to find out whether or not your chosen therapist has the practical and clinical experience necessary to help you with your individual issue.
Question: Can massage be done with clothes on?
Answer: Yes! There are many different types of massage. Some are done while the client is fully clothed while other forms, where cream or oil is applied to the skin, require getting undressed. No matter what, your massage should always performed according to your comfort level. You will never be asked to do something you're not comfortable doing. Your licensed massage therapist is there to accommodate your unique needs and comfort level.
Question: I have never had massage before; what should I expect?
Answer: Massage in the United States is generally performed in a dimly lit room. Most of the time the default massage service is European style massage (check out massage definitions for more info on types). European massage uses lotions, oils, or cream, so you will be expected to disrobe. You should always feel comfortable, in control, and at ease during your treatment. Feel free to tell your therapist if something hurts or causes you to feel uncomfortable. Your first massage may make you feel a bit strange if you're not used to physical contact, however, you should never feel judged, out of control, or uneasy. Massage pressure can be strong or soft and may include some active or passive movement.
A good therapist will always communicate with you allowing you to help guide the treatment in order to make you feel most comfortable.
NOTE: In the United States, as a woman, you should not typically have your breasts massaged, unless it has been deemed necessary and you are under the care of a specifically trained therapist.
However, Americans, be aware, throughout Europe it is common to have your chest massaged, and for good reason. There is a lot of lymphatic tissue in and around the breast area, so from the stand point of immune functioning and cellular health, breast massage is a good thing. In addition, when breast feeding massage may be especially helpful for relieving engorgement or mastitis.
Question: What are the proven benefits of massage therapy?
Answer: The benefits of massage are both physical and mental, included but not limited to the following:
* relaxes the whole body
* loosens tight muscles
* relieves tired and aching muscles
* increases flexibility and range of motion
* diminishes chronic pain
* calms the nervous system
* lowers blood pressure
* lowers heart rate
* enhances skin tone
* assists in recovery from injuries and illness
* strengthens the immune system
* reduces tension headaches
* reduces mental stress
* improves concentration
* promotes restful sleep
* aids in mental relaxation
Question: Why do I feel pain in some spots during my massage?
Answer: Pain is very common and is for the most part it is the result of toxicity in the tissue. Lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic waste accumulates in areas that have poor circulation. Factors such as nerve compression from the misalignment of bones and muscle, poor posture habits, myofascial strain, contribute to soft tissue breakdown. In order to restore optimal tissue health the sore areas need to be nourished and cleansed with fresh blood and lymph. To prevent pain it needs to be taken a step further with muscle balancing and strength training.
Question: What qualifications does a licensed massage therapist have?
Answer: In New York, a massage therapist is required to have at least 1000 hours of hands-on clinical experience and have a basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, myology, and traditional Chinese medicine. They also must pass a New York State licensing exam. (update: the NYS requirements have been lowered over th past several years)
In other states outside of New York, unfortunately the educational standards are very low. If you are outside of New York, you should look for a therapist that is at least Nationally Certified.
How to find a qualified "Massage Therapist"
Nationwide the regulations are not uniform, thus the "profession" of massage therapy leaves the consumer vulnerable to frauds. National certification programs and associations will take any member who has minimal credentials. To find a legitimate therapist or center ask the following:
1)Are They licensed or certified? (This varies from state to state and even county to county.)
2) Does the therapist or massage center have location address on their business card or web listing? (a phone number is not enough)
3) Do they have a website?
4) Are they reviewed on the Internet?
6) Have they been referred by a physician?
7) Do they offer "normal" business hours? (Establishments that are open 24 hours are often not legitimate!)
It often best to simply get word of mouth referral and then compare it to the above criteria. This will ensure that you get the best care possible. Enjoy your massage!
Question: What factors typically contribute to a "good" massage?
Answer: A "good" massage is usually the result of good communication between the client and the therapist. Trust, sensitivity and technique, as well as solid knowledge of all the body's systems is key in allowing your massage therapist to adequately address your body's specific needs . Of course a comfortable relaxing environment only makes it better.
Question: What's the difference between spa massage and Therapeutic Massage?
Answer: Typically, though not always, "spa massage" is done in a general manner, with standard movements that are done the same way on every person. Many spas/franchises have strict guide lines that massage therapists must follow, and often they have tight schedules that keep them moving as if on a conveyor belt.
In Massage Therapy Centers on the other hand, (though not always), you are more likely to find therapists who control more of their own schedules and who can tailor the session according to their client's unique needs.
Unlike standardized medicine, the foundation of massage therapy is rooted in caring for each individual. This means that there is no "standard protocol".
Question: How is it even possible that massage is useful for so many different medical conditions?
Answer: No matter what disease or symptom your suffering from, be it pain, muscle aches, gastric problems, immune disorders, heart diseases, and even some cancers, there is most certainly an accumulation of toxicity in the body. Cellular oxygen depletion, cellular malnutrition, lymphatic congestion and often a hormonal and chemical imbalance causes suppression of the "normal" healthy dynamic state of our bodies. You should also know that stress is a contributing factor in all of those conditions. Massage can help cleanse your tissue at the cellular level, assist in expelling toxic waste, circulate nutrition to healthy cells, all the while providing relaxation and releasing your body's natural endorphins, making you feel great!
There is a great deal of research these days that clearly proves that stress causes genetic breakdown, which in turn can cause genetic mutation and premature aging. More disturbing, however, is that current research also points out that genetic mutation is linked to the development of certain types of cancer cells. Stress is not merely uncomfortable, it can be deadly.