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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

4 Things your Massage Therapist wishes you knew

1. Drinking water and stretching really do help after massage

Short Answer: After your massage, water helps the muscles recover and stretching keeps the effects of the massage lasting. We don’t recommend them just for fun.

More details: The usual line is that "water flushes out toxins stirred up during the massage", but that is not the major reason we recommend water. While massage does help flush out toxins, it doesn't "stir up" enough to cause major issues. The water is more to help the circulation that the massage has affected and help fluids move around and get where they need to go more easily - wether it is getting bad stuff out or good stuff where it is supposed to go. Massage gives the muscles a workout so water helps hydrate and heal after that workout. The same goes for stretching. Massage gets muscles loose and elongated, so many times therapists will recommend stretches in between the massages to help keep the good effects of the massage lasting longer.

2. You can ask for less pressure - it doesn’t have to hurt

Short answer: Many people think a massage has to be deep

to be effective. Not so. If the massage pressure is

uncomfortable, it can be lightened up and still work.

More details: Massage is not "no pain, no gain". Many people believe that if a massage isn't severely deep, the deep knots and soreness won't get taken care of. The fact is that lighter techniques can be just as effective, so if a deep massage is causing pain, speak up! Pressure can absolutely be lightened up and different techniques can be used to achieve the same goals as deeper pressure. You should never leave a massage more sore than when you came in.

3. If you don’t feel well…reschedule your appointment

Short answer: If you feel unwell, you may think a massage will help you feel better, but some illnesses can be a contraindication for massage, or massage can make the sickness worse. Plus you could get your therapist or other clients sick, and that’s just mean.

More details: If you are feeling unwell, with fatigue and body aches, a massage sounds like it could be the perfect thing to help you sleep and feel better. Unfortunately, massage is not the best thing when you are sick. When the body is fighting an illness, so many body systems are working overtime to heal, and getting a massage can put additional strain and stress on other systems so it can actually make your symptoms worse and extend the length of time you are sick. Additionally, some illness symptoms such as fevers or respiratory issues are contraindicated for massage so massage shouldn't be done if certain symptoms are present. Lastly, if you are sick, there is a strong chance that you are contagious, and that means your therapist is at risk for catching whatever is making you sick - and for your therapist and other clients that the therapist sees that day could catch whatever you have, and that just is not cool. Massage Therapists have to be healthy to provide their services, and therefore earn a living. A simple cold may not be a big deal if you are working for a company with salaries and sick days, but for many therapists, a sick day means no income.

4. We don’t ask you to do paperwork before the appointment just for fun, it’s important

Short answer: Sign-in or intake forms are important before every massage. They help the therapist know what your goals for the massage are and what issues you have, plus in many states it is the law!

More details: Even if a massage is being done routinely, stuff changes. Either certain areas may feel better or worse than the previous appointment, or other issues may have arisen that need to be taken into consideration before the massage can start. We all know paperwork is annoying, nobody likes it, and it seems like it just delays time before getting to the massage, but it is important that the therapist k now about everything going on with a body before touching them. In some states, it is legally required to have a signed consent for a therapist to lay a finger on a person, otherwise the therapist could potentially be charged with assault, so as much as paperwork is a pain, it is something we can't ignore.

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