What to Expect in Your First Massage

Massage Therapy

Posted on: May 31 2018

Studies have shown the health benefits of massage therapy in reducing anxiety, headaches, muscle tension, pain, and insomnia. However, a first visit to a massage therapist can be daunting if you don’t know how to prepare or what to expect. This beginner’s guide presents a step-by-step breakdown of what it’s like to visit a massage therapist:

The Intake Form

The massage process begins with an evaluation called the intake form. An intake form provides background information of medical history, briefing the massage therapist of allergies and sensitive areas. Here, you can also set goals for the massage: do you want to focus on certain areas or would you like to be pampered with full body treatment?

Choosing the Right Massage Therapy

After speaking with the massage therapist, you should have an idea of the type of massage you want. Massage therapy comes in many forms:

  • Swedish Massage: a relaxing technique using longer strokes, meant to improve circulation while decreasing toxins
  • Deep Tissue Massage: similar to Swedish Massage, it uses increased pressure to release the deeper layers of fascia

Styles are determined by the pressure and strokes, each with their own objective.

Getting Comfortable

Once the paperwork is done and the style selected, it’s time to prepare for the massage. The massage therapist will step out of the room, allowing you to undress. Comfort levels vary by client and there is no set dress code. Leaving on articles of clothing lets the massage therapist know they should avoid that area.

The Massage

Communication is an absolute necessity in massage therapy. The massage therapist wants to know how her client is feeling throughout the massage. Communicating how the pressure feels allows the massage therapist to make adjustments, improving the experience.

Relaxation is another crucial element towards a tranquilizing massage. Worrying about arm placement or outside factors will only hinder that. Remember, don’t be stressed about getting unstressed!

After the Massage

The massage therapist will cue the end of a massage with a gesture such as a gentle tap. They suggest taking a moment or two before getting off the table. Springing up immediately may mitigate the progress that has been made. Upon leaving the session, it’s important to avoid strenuous activity. Take some time to relax, drink some water, and stretch.

The first visit to a massage therapist should be anything but anxiety-ridden. Lay back, relax, and let them work their magic!


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