You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
Introduction: Proper Etiquette
Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years but not everyone has had the experience of going to a spa or having a massage therapist come to your house for a home service massage. It is because of this that there remains many questions about how things should go when experiencing a massage. Some of the typical questions include how much to tip, what should you wear, and how much information should you be sharing?
This article will be a helpful guide for newbies as common questions will be discussed in length and should be able to tackle all the questions that one may have or need to know prior to booking your first massage appointment.
How much should I tip my massage therapist?
Tips are not mandatory with massage therapists but they are most certainly appreciated and never frowned upon. As a matter of fact, if receiving a massage at a spa or in your hotel room, a 20% tip is about the common practice. In case you have received a gift certificate or were able to buy a package deal online, it is still kind to offer a 20% tip, especially if you are happy and pleased with the service they provided you. Naturally, there are spas that have a no-tip policy, in cases such as those, it is best not to tip which may even get your massage therapist into some trouble with his or her employer.
When a spa has an envelope meant for tipping, it is always best to write the name of your therapist on it to avoid any possible confusion that may occur between the different therapists that work for the spa. As for the spas that do not have envelopes, you can either hand over the cash to your therapist yourself, or you may offer the tip when making your massage therapy session payment at the counter.
It is probably only at a medical facility or an environment like a clinic where a tip is almost certain to not be accepted. If you are unsure but would like to know so as to tip if expected, feel free to ask the receptionist if tipping is allowed or customary. For the shy ones who would rather not ask in person, you can always phone them prior to your appointment to find out what types of systems they have in place with regards to tipping.
Is it normal to feel pain and discomfort during a massage?
You might have heard this before, that for a massage to be effective, that it must hurt. It is a common myth but it is certainly not the truth. Not even in cases of the deep tissue massage. In fact, it is so much the opposite that if you experience pain during a massage, that you are causing your muscles to tense up which is the opposite of what a massage is meant to do.
Now there are a few techniques that can cause a little bit of pain and soreness. These would be those like the trigger point therapy which requires more pressure than usual. These are designed to relieve tightness in your muscles and therefore can cause a some pain and discomfort.
It is absolutely vital to speak to your massage therapist about the pressure you are prepared for. Open communication will help you address to your therapist details such as a tightness in your shoulders that you want loosened up and worked on. You may have a knee injury and therefore must be treated gently in that area. Whatever the case may be, speak with your massage therapist, he or she will appreciate it and you will also have a better experience.
What should I wear during the massage?
There is no one single answer to this question. As it is, it is usually the client who decides what he or she should wear for the session. Some clients chose to be completely nude but if you ask your therapist, being in your underwear is probably the best. For women, it is best to remove your bra though in order to allow your therapist full access of your back and shoulders without getting any oil or lotion on the straps of your bra.
If the purpose of your massage is to target the lower back or your hips, it maybe be best to not wear large underwear and to also not be in very tight panties as these will just be in the way of your masseuse and he or she will not be able to massage the areas of your body that need the work. Again, feel free to speak to your massage therapist in order to properly establish what would be best given this situation.
When undressing, your massage therapist should leave the room and give you all the time and privacy that you need in order to get undressed and comfortable on the massage table. They will knock on your door before coming back in and ask if you are ready for them to enter. Once you are undressed and ready to begin, you can simply lay on the massage table, face down, and wait for your therapist to return.
The amount of clothing you remove also depends on the type of massage that you are receiving. For example, a Swedish massage will really require you to get some, if not most,. Of your clothes off. But if for example you’re getting a Thai massage, than so long as you are in loose and comfortable clothes that will allow you to stretch, then there won’t be a need for you to undress at all.
What if you are uncomfortable and self conscious about your body?
Try to keep in mind that seeing a massage therapist is about seeking better health care. It is doing what you should be doing in order to make your body healthier, stronger, and more fit. You may be self conscious about your funny looking feet but that should definitely not keep you from seeing your doctor or massage therapist. Besides, you will not be judged by your doctor or therapist, their eyes and hands will be focused on your muscles and other tissues that they need to massage so ultimately you really have nothing to be embarrassed about.
However, for your information, here are a few common examples of what has made clients uncomfortable with at their local spa.
- Back Acne
If it helps make you more comfortable, you can always speak to your therapist and ask them to avoid certain areas of your body if you would like their attention to be kept away from your body parts that you don’t want them seeing. You can also opt for the type of massage that does not require you to undress. There are massage therapy options that do not require you to have oil or lotion put on you either and this would keep your clothes on and perhaps make you a little bit more comfortable.
As for women who have not shaved their legs, please do not worry about that. That makes no difference to your massage therapist.
Conclusion: There Is No Need To Be Embarrassed
There are newbies everyday who go out and explore massage therapy, it is only natural for more and more questions to be asked. What is important is to not let any reluctancy stop you from asking the questions that you need answered.
Another helpful tip would be to ask the receptionist at the spa your questions if you would like to avoid going through your inquiries with your massage therapist. Your receptionist will surely be able to answer all your questions and will do so most willingly.
So go out and get a massage, you won’t be sorry and there is really nothing to be embarrassed about.