10 embarrasing massage questions
Do you tip? Are you supposed to be nude? Do you say anything if the pressure's not deep enough? What if you're self-conscious about your body? Here are the answers to ten questions that you may be too embarrassed to ask.
1) Am I supposed to tip?
If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the services. On the other hand, there are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to massage in a medical setting.
Some massage therapists and massage associations I asked said tipping isn't appropriate in a medical or clinical setting. Others said that it is always appreciated.
If you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you don't want to do it face to face.
If tipping isn't the norm, you can always show your appreciation by referring friends, family and co-workers to the massage therapist.
2) Am I supposed to take off my underwear?
Many people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude. It's up to you.
If your problem areas are your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work, but a thong for women or briefs for men should do the trick.
If you do remove your underwear, your massage therapists must ensure that you are always properly covered by a sheet or towel. Only the area being massaged will be uncovered.
3) What if I realize I've drooled?
Many people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage but when they wake up, they notice a pool of drool on the pillow or massage table. This is very common. It often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table. Don't be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.
4) Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?
The massage therapist will leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and lie on the massage table (usually face down) under the top sheet.
Don't rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you -- the massage therapist knocks and asks if you are ready before entering the massage room.
5) Should I talk during the massage?
Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don't feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. After all, you're having a treatment, you're not at a cocktail party!
Feel free to close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do.
Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable.
Be sure to speak up if:
· The room is too hot or too cold
· You experience pain
· You have any questions related to the massage
· There's anything you forgot to mention during the consultation
6) What if I get an erection?
Some men avoid massage therapy because they worry that they'll get an erection. Or they get the massage, but are unable to relax during the massage because of this fear.
But there is no reason to be embarrassed. It's perfectly normal for men to get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage.
Gentle touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will generally ignore it.
If you are still worried, you may wish to wear a men's bikini bathing suit during the massage, which provides more support than boxers.
7) How do I know if it's a legitimate clinic?
Although you might think massage parlors that offer sensual or erotic massage may look obviously seedy, it can be sometimes be difficult to spot these places.
If you're trying a new clinic or spa, it's a good idea to call first and ask these questions:
· Do you offer therapeutic massage?
· Is the massage therapist certified or licensed?
· Do you require a health questionnaire of your clients?
A licensed massage therapist will not come into contact with your genitals or nipples during the massage.
8) The pressure isn't deep enough, but I don't want to insult the therapist's technique. What should I do?
Communicate openly with the massage therapist. Keep in mind however that it's a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective.
Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize up.
Here is a good rule of thumb -- on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.
9) I'm self-conscious about a certain part of my body and don't want the therapist to see me. What can I do?
People are self-conscious for various reasons. Some of the more common concerns are:
· I'm overweight.
· I have excessive hair growth on my body.
· I've got acne on my face or back.
· My feet are ugly.
· I have scars.
Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking health care, whether it's visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist.
If you're self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area.
Just remember to provide complete and accurate information on your health history form, so that the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.
10) I'd rather see a female therapist. Should I request this?
Some men don't feel comfortable having a massage by a male massage therapist. It may be due to outdated social and media stereotypes of the profession or the fear of getting an erection during the massage.
Erection is a common physiological response that happens when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated by touch anywhere on the body.)
Some women also prefer a female massage therapist because they say they feel more comfortable.
This doesn't just apply to massage therapy. A University of Michigan study found that 43 percent of women preferred a female doctor for a colonoscopy. Of these women, 87 percent said they would be willing to wait more than 30 days to get an appointment with a female colonoscopist, and 14 percent would be willing to pay more for one.
Unfortunately, men who choose to become massage therapists are often unprepared for the discrimination they face. When clients request female over male therapists, spas stop hiring them, however skilled they are.
That's why I believe it's important to challenge your preconceptions. Here are some tips to help you:
· If you see other practitioners in the clinic or spa, ask if you could meet the massage therapist before you book the appointment.
· Try booking a massage at a health club or a clinic, where there's usually a higher percentage of male clientele and staff.
· You may wish to start with an active form of massage, such as deep tissue or sports massage or a type of massage that is done fully clothed, such as AMMA or Chair Massage
MASSAGE & MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage or massage therapy are systems of structured palpation or movement of the soft tissue of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand). These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
Another term meaning therapeutic muscle massage.
This is not a type of massage. Please check the Reflexology section in this website.
Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body's energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate. But please feel free to watch Reflexology in this page.
Using massage for depression?
Massage is sometimes promoted as an alternative treatment for depression, a condition estimated to affect about 20 million Americans. Proponents claim that massage can help ease depression by boosting mood, reducing stress, and improving overall well-being. While there is no evidence that massage alone can treat depressive disorders, some research suggests that receiving massage may benefit certain people struggling with depression.
The Science Behind Massage and Depression
To date, few studies have focused on massage therapy as a treatment for depressive disorders. In fact, a 2008 research review from the International Journal of Clinical Practice identified only four clinical trials testing massage's effects on depression. None of these was able to adequately demonstrate that massage therapy was effective in depression.
However, some research shows that massage may help relieve depression related to other health problems. For example, a 2010 study from Supportive Care In Cancer found that massage reduced depression among women with breast cancer. (The five-week study involved 34 breast cancer patients, each of whom was assigned to either a control group or twice-weekly half-hour massage sessions.) Other studies indicate that massage may also help alleviate depression among people with fibromyalgia and end-stage renal disease.
In addition, there's some evidence that massage may lift depression among pregnant women. In a 2008 study from the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, for instance, 47 depressed pregnant women were assigned to either a control group or twice-weekly massage sessions provided by their partners.
The brains of Buddhist monks during meditation are fascinating. Why?
At the end of the study, members of the massage group reported less depression,anxiety, and anger.
Using Massage for Depression
Due to the lack of supporting research, massage cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression. What's more, using massage (or any other mind-body therapy) as a substitute for standard depression treatment may have serious health consequences.
If you're currently experiencing symptoms of depression (such as a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, sleep problems, and lack of energy), talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Your physician and/or a mental-health professional may also be able to help you incorporate massage into your depression treatment program.
Using Massage Therapy
If you're considering the use of massage therapy, talk with your doctor first. Keep in mind that massage therapy, or any other alternative medicine, should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of a health condition.
Massages for Relaxation and Stress Relief
Some massages are more soothing than others, leaving you feeling like you've been wrapped in a cloud and the "reset" button pressed on your body.
1) Swedish Massage
This is the most common type of massage therapy, and what many people are thinking about when they hear the word "massage" or try to give someone else or themselves a good massage. Swedish massage uses a combination of these basic movements:
- Long, sweeping strokes (effleurage), usually used at the start and end of a massage
- Muscle kneading and rolling (petrissage), where the muscles are worked on just like kneading dough
- Friction, where deep pressure is applied to a particular spot with the thumb, fingertips, or knuckles
- Rhythmic tapping (tapotement), fast percussion movements like chopping and even pounding. (However, that percussion techniques have fallen out of favor for Swedish massages because they're not relaxing—the way that karate chops to your naked, oiled body could be distracting)
Best for: An intro to massage, stress relief, relaxation, releasing cramped or tense muscles. If you've never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.
2) Aromatherapy Massage
The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) in body and skin care treatments is known as aromatherapy. Used as a healing technique for thousands of years by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, essential oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds. Aromatherapy diffusers are utilized to fill the massage room with the scent of the oils. Specific essential oils are blended by the aromatherapist and added to a carrier oil, such as almond oil, to be used during the massage. The massage therapist can select oils that are relaxing, energizing, stress-reducing, balancing, etc.
Each oil has its own unique characteristics and benefits. Use of this technique declined as the modern pharmaceutical industry developed. However, the French chemist Gattefoss revived the art by coining the term aromatherapy and by publishing a book on the subject in 1928.
Best for: Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to stress-related conditions or conditions with an emotional component.
3) Hot Stone Massage
Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body.
The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.
A hot stone massage is mostly relaxing, but it also is more invigorating than your run-of-the-mill massage, thanks to the almost-too-much heat bringing you back to focus on the moment instead of letting you drift off. The heat helps release the tension in your back and shoulders, mostly, so those muscles can be worked on more effectively.
Best for: "Centering" yourself, releasing very tense muscles, relaxation.
Massages for Treating Pain and Specific Conditions
Traditional massages are great when you just need a little stress relief and relaxation. When you have knotted muscles, however, or have more specific ailments, more attentive techniques are required.
4) Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.
The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle.
Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.
As the name suggests, deep tissue massage applies deep pressure onto specific trouble points. It feels very much like someone is torturing you on purpose by pushing into your knotted muscle, and the massage can leave you feeling sore. It's not just more pressure all over your body, however (which would be true torture); it's very specific, methodical treatment.
Deep Tissue is a very specific massage treatment in which the therapist uses knuckles and elbow's to "strip out" muscle tissue as far down to the bone as possible. Sound invasive? It is! It is definitely not for everyone. However there are millions of people out there that would never have their treatment any other way. This modality can be helpful to the following people: athletes who are considerably harder on their bodies than the average person, people who are undergoing physical therapy to aid in the breakdown process of scar tissue, (AFTER PROPER HEALING FROM THE INJURY HAS OCCURED), or anyone who has very dense tissue and thus responds better to the work.
...It is very important to ALWAYS speak up and let your therapist know if you need the pressure to be corrected, (i.e. if you need them to lighten up because it is too deep, or to apply more because it is not deep enough). Most everyone needs more pressure in some areas and less in others. This occurs because muscle tissue that contains Trigger Points is more sensitive to pressure and can be tender to the touch.
This is not the kind of massage to ask for if you expect to feel relaxed during the therapy, and afterwards you might feel sore for a couple of days.
Best for: Treating stiff, painful trouble spots like the shoulder and neck
Trigger Point Massage
Like Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Massage focuses on specific areas of the body, rather than massaging the whole body. In this technique, the therapist pinpoints exactly the "problem" muscle and coaxes it with deep pressure to relax.
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may reduce referral pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache.
Trigger point massage therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. ... The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing constricted areas in the muscles thus alleviating pain. You can experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment. Receiving massage with trigger point therapy on a regular basis can help naturally manage pain and stress from chronic injuries.
Deep tissue and trigger point massages are very similar. The difference is that deep tissue massage uses various traditional massage techniques to work the tissue, whereas trigger point massage is literally looking to manipulate or press on that one point that relieves tension in an entire area (perhaps not even nearby). For both, consider this contraption, which is an invaluable tool for torturing soothing sore muscles all over your body.
Best for: Chronic muscle pain and tension
5) Back Massage
Some massage clinics and spas offer 30-minute back massages. If a back massage is not expressly advertised, you can also book a 30- or 40-minute massage and ask that the massage therapist to focus on your back.
Massages for Overall Health and Rejuvenation
While the massages above should all leave you feeling better, some specific types of massage are so called Beauty Massage.
6) Sports Massage
Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. But you don't have to be a professional athlete to have one-it's also used by people who are active and work out often. The focus isn't on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance.
A combination of techniques are used. The strokes are generally faster than Swedish massage. Facilitated stretching is a common technique. It helps to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
Finally, sports massage is designed specifically for the very physically active (whether you're a professional athlete or not). It combines Swedish, Shiatsu, and other techniques to concentrate on the areas that are related to your sport. Athletes often get sports massages to prepare for peak performance, prevent injury, and also treat injury.
The benefits and effects of sports massage include physical effects such as circulating blood and lymphatic fluids as well as stretching muscle tissue and breaking down scar tissue.
There are physiological effects such as reducing pain and relaxing muscles as well as psychological affects which include reducing anxiety levels.
Best for: Athletes
Amma (sometimes spelled anma) is the traditional word for massage in the Japanese language. It comes from the Chinese tradition of massage, anmo. This form of bodywork is based on the principles of Chinese medicine and is more than five thousand years old. When anmo was brought to Japan, the technique was further refined into its own therapeutic art form, amma. The amma techniques encompass a myriad of pressing, stroking, stretching, and percussive manipulations with the thumbs, fingers, arms, elbows, knees, and feet on acupressure points along the body's fourteen major meridians. Amma brings to Western culture the ancient art and wisdom of traditional Japanese massage. Through the structure of kata (choreographed movement), amma teaches the importance of rhythm, pacing, precision, and form in massage. Shiatsu is a style of bodywork popularized after World War II, and was developed from the amma tradition. Unlike Western massage, amma utilizes no oils and can be done through clothing with the client either sitting or lying. This makes amma an extremely flexible style of massage suitable to a wide variety of client needs and environments.
The massage types above are some of the most popular massages you can get, but there are many others. Regardless of the type of massage you opt for, be sure to tell your therapist which areas you especially need work on, whether you have any health issues, and, during the massage, how the pressure feels. When you find a therapist you like, you might want to book a standing appointment with him or her for pain and stress relief all year long.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.
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