Massage FAQ for My Personal Practice

What is Massage good for?

In addition to being soothing and relaxing, massage has been shown to relieve many symptoms and conditions — insomnia, tension headaches, muscle overuse, cramps, nervousness, inability to concentrate, sinus headache and various hand and foot problems to name only a few!

Recent medical research has linked massage to improved health in infants, reduced symptoms in several age-related illnesses, improved cardiovascular health (including lowered blood pressure), and reduction of depression.


What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish Massage is what most people think of as “regular” massage. It combines effleurage (long strokes) and petrissage (kneading) to relax muscles. Additionally, percussion and friction can be used to “wake the body up.”

It is called Swedish Massage because it was largely developed in the early 1800s by a Swedish scientist named Per Ling.*

Some people use this term incorrectly to refer to specific massage specialties such as Structural Integration, Reiki or triggerpoint work, thus causing much confusion.

*Hey! Unlike French Fries, French Horns and the Pennsylvania Dutch, Swedish Massage is really named for the country where it came from!


Will I be dressed or covered during a Full-Body Massage?

For the Full-Body Massage, it is helpful if the client is undressed. Many people are uncomfortable undressing for a massage. It is far more important for you to be comfortable than undressed, so some people wear underclothing or loose sports clothing for a full-body massage.

In addition, I will keep you covered (‘draped’) on the table. A sheet (and a blanket as well, if you wish) is used to cover you up. I can simply pull the sheet aside to massage any specific limb or body part we need to work on it.


Is massage supposed to be uncomfortable?

Most massages feel either relaxing and soothing or invigorating, but they are not usually supposed to hurt. There are a few exceptions, like trigger point therapy and some kinds of deep-tissue work, which can be very uncomfortable at times.

Chances are, if you had a massage that was uncomfortable, it was associated with rehabilitation from an injury or it was meant to be very intensive, deep-tissue type work (whether you requested that or not!).

Apart from some of the stretches and triggerpoint therapy which I offer on request, none of the techniques I do should be uncomfortable.


What are Trigger Points?

Trigger Points are spots in the muscles where tension builds up and causes tightness and pain. They are similar to and can be associated with cramps and knots. In trigger point therapy, the massage therapist can release these uncomfortable spots by using special techniques of pressure and vibration. It can be quite uncomfortable for a moment.

Trigger point therapy can release tremendous amounts of tension and make many muscle and joint problems disappear. I can do light trigger point therapy as part of a regular full-body massage or a sports massage.


Will I need a shower after a Full-Body Massage?

I use massage lotion or coconut oil during your sessions, your choice. I use it sparingly and it is good for the skin. Most people leave the massage lotion or oil on to moisturize and tone the skin. The lotion I use is all natural and fortified with Vitamin E. The coconut oil is a natural product that is of the highest quality.

If you wish, I can use oils and creams with aromatherapy oils for natural relaxation—you can even bring your own!

There should never be enough massage oil or cream left on your skin after a massage to stain your clothing.


What is Sports Massage?

Sports Massage is exactly what it sounds like — massage specifically designed to aid athletes in getting prepared for competition or else to soothe the sore muscles that come from strenuous competition, workout, or practice.

Warm-Up Massage (also known as Pre-Event Massage) is an invigorating series of stretching, percussion and massage to get an athlete ready for an event (a game, tryouts or practice). The client does not have to undress, but should wear loose, light clothing (shorts and a tank top or something like that).

Warm-Down Massage (also known as Post-Event Massage) is a soothing massage. It is a great thing to do soon after a strenuous workout or game. It incorporates stretches and massage together to work the tension and discomfort out of sore muscles.


What is Bodywork?

People use this term to mean a great many things. I have actually seen two people argue over whether ‘bodywork’ is supposed to hurt or not! The way this term is usually used, ‘bodywork’ is sort of a catchall term for … you probably guessed it … work done on the body. Seaweed wraps, saunas, massage, Rolfing, Qi Gong, and paraffin treatments are all types of bodywork.


What about prenatal massage?

Pregnant women can get a great deal of benefit from massage. Pregnancy is very tough on a woman’s body, and prenatal massage is a wonderful way to keep your body feeling its best through the entire nine months.

I have been doing prenatal massage for about ten years, and hold the highest level of certification in this form of therapy. I have seen numerous clients all the way through pregnancy, some of them for more than one baby!

I do not use a special table, but instead we bolster the client’s body in a side-lying position with pillows and cushions. We also turn the client over to work the other side, and, when possible, do a bit of massage while she is lying on her back (or sitting up on a wedge pillow).

I recommend pregnant clients get a massage every month in their first trimester, every 2-3 weeks in the second trimester, and as often as possible during the final trimester.

Prenatal massage is a wonderful way to soothe sore muscles and joints, calm your body and mind, and relieve aches all over.


What is reflexology?

There are tiny spots on the hands and feet (and maybe other places, such as wrists and legs as well) which can affect other parts of the body. These tiny spots are called ‘reflexes’ by people who know about such things. A highly trained reflexologist can ease pain, headaches, cramps and more as well as improving overall health by working on those spots. I have some training in reflexology and would be happy to work it into a foot massage or a full-body massage for you.  


What is stretching good for?

Stretching is an amazing way to loosen up tight muscles and joints. Active stretching (where you assist) or passive stretching (where you do not) are both terrific ways to work out sore points or ‘kinks’ in shoulders, lower back or legs. Stretching is a normal part of Sports Massage and may be added to any Full-Body Massage.


What about kids?

Massage is as good for kids as it is for adults. I offer cut rates on chair and table massages for children.

Minors do not undress for table massage, but should wear light, loose clothing (shorts, tank tops, bathing suits or that sort of thing). Also, it is necessary to have a parent or guardian present at all times while a youngster is getting a massage.

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