What You Need to Know Before Receiving Massage
By opting to receive massage therapy you acknowledge that you have the option to request before, and at any time during the process of massage, various types of pressure from light to firm -- to your tolerance and comfort level -- and that the therapist will honor your requests to the extent your musculoskeletal tissue and standard therapeutic practices will allow.
A therapist can always perform massage with (requested or sometimes necessary) lighter pressure, but may not be able to go deeper in some cases (despite requests) not because of lack of strength, style or expertise, but because the tissue may be resistant to fully softening in one session, or even multiple sessions in cases where there is an underlying pathology, or where tension patterns have been severely acute or chronic.
You also acknowledge that one’s body may feel differently from one day to the next and from one massage to the next, and that what may be acceptable pressure to you or the therapist in one session may not be tolerable or achievable in another.
You acknowledge that massage therapy is not always a comfortable procedure, but you have the option to request variations in pressure or technique to the extent such requests can be accommodated. Most can.
You agree to disclose to the therapist all known or potential health conditions and any emotional or psychological conditions you believe may be affected by receiving manual bodywork in order that the safety of massage – generally or locally - may be determined before beginning, and you agree that the therapist will make the decision to proceed with massage, continue massage or discontinue massage that has already begun based on training and expertise, regarding any concern or uncertainty, or known or emerging contraindication which may occur before, during or after the session. The massage therapist, in proceeding with massage, generally or locally, will always err on the side of caution based on medical and other information available at the time of your session and may consult books, websites and/or other professionals before, and in rare cases during massage, should the need arise.
You also agree to communicate with the therapist in the moment as to your needs or desires, acknowledging that often times more effective message (as far as tension removal is concerned) lends itself to deeper pressure -- and if lighter pressure is used this is still very beneficial for many somatic and emotional reasons, but lighter pressure may not necessarily release or reduce knots, ropey muscles or greater sustained tension.
You also acknowledge by agreeing to receive massage therapy that you may experience some muscular soreness for several days after a massage where deeper pressure is used, and sometimes but rarely ecchymosis (“bruising”) may occur, particularly on people who bruise easily. Ecchymosis almost always, however, occurs with the negative (vacuum) pressure of the specialty of cupping therapy (not included in regular Swedish and deep tissue massage), except usually in the case where the cups are continually moved (rather than placed and left on the body for a period of time during the massage (which is common on areas other than the face)).
Areas which may be most likely to be sore a day or so after massage include the upper trapezius (tops of shoulders), quadriceps (front of thighs) and glutes (you know, the butt muscles). While the glutes are done over the sheet and blanket and with an elbow, if you wish not to have the glutes done, please inform the therapist. Do note, however, hypertonic (“tight”) glutes (often the case) and hamstrings (backs of thighs) can often lead to low back pain and receiving professional glute work can often alleviate sciatic pain which may be caused by piriformis syndrome – usually undiagnosed and often mistaken (and misdiagnosed) as true sciatica. Sciatica is a bony impingement on the sciatic nerve causing pain and tingling down the length of the leg, Piriformis syndrome causes the same symptoms but is caused by a tight piriformis muscle which may be pressing on the sciatic nerve. No matter the condition or lack thereof, glute work is generally not very comfortable work (since the muscle is often tight on most people) yet such few moments of work can produce very rapid and sustained results. It is included in general bodywork sessions at EarthTouch Healing Arts, so please let your therapist know if you do not wish this muscle to be worked.
Face, scalp and feet are also included in massage at EarthTouch Healing Arts so please also let the therapist know if you wish not to receive work on these areas at any given time. Please note that ticklish feet are a concern for some but the tickle response is most often the result of tight fascia (which can occur anywhere on the body), and massage, if one can tolerate the tickle response (the therapist tries to minimize), can often greatly reduce tight fascia on the plantar surface (bottom of foot) and as a result – reduce foot pain -- and other body pain to the extent fascia is “unwound” during the process of massage.
Please also note that if you are not sore after a massage that this does not mean the massage was not effective. Each person responds differently to massage therapy. Additionally, the soreness sometime experienced for a short period of time after a massage often diminishes with regular massage – "regular" is generally considered at least monthly.
You also acknowledge that lightheadedness or dizziness may occur following any type of massage when quickly rising from the massage table (most often due to minor changes in reduction in blood pressure while lying down and receiving massage) and that you will rise from the table slowly, requesting any accommodation for physical or other disability if assistance with lying on or rising from the massage table is needed.
You acknowledge that in rare instances, massage may cause temporary nausea and in very rare instances can possibly prompt an episode of vomiting (as the muscles sometimes contain copious amounts of metabolic waste (such as lactic acid) which, when moved along by massage therapy can overwhelm the system and it seek a quick exit, rather than the usual process of the removal of metabolic wastes through sweating, urination, etc. This is a VERY rare response and should cause no apprehension in choosing to receive massage.
You also acknowledge that if you have a known or unknown cold, that massage is generally permitted, but may move the cold through the system faster, possibly producing a more rapid resolution but a short-term exacerbation of symptoms. You acknowledge, however, that it is preferred you forgo massage if you are at the contagious stage of the illness for the health considerations of the therapist and other clients, but massage when a fever is present is not permitted.
Certain contagious conditions may require you to forgo the massage entirely, or locally. It is not advised to receive massage within 24 hours of a vaccination.
At any time the therapist may request written medical permission from your physicians or specialists as to your ability to safely receive massage either generally or locally, and that in some cases massage may not proceed until such written permission is received by the therapist.
You acknowledge that draping is required and that at any time if inappropriate suggestions are made or intimated, the session will be terminated with no refund and with full payment due at termination.
You acknowledge that a termination for cause during a massage session in progress will not merit a refund. Some but not all reasons for termination for cause include but are not limited to: arising medical, psychological or emotional concerns; inappropriate suggestions or actions of a sexual nature; unreasonable demands; abusive or disrespectful treatment of the therapist; failure to agree on the appropriateness of how the current massage is proceeding or will proceed; or failure to agree on the appropriateness of a current or future treatment plan after discussion involving your desires and expectations are balanced with the training, expertise and ability of the therapist.
You agree to update your therapist on any changes to your health.
You acknowledge that massage therapy is fully voluntary and the client or therapist may terminate at any time.
You acknowledge that these acknowledgements to which you consent and agree by opting to receive massage therapy may change without notice, that they may not be exhaustive or complete herein, and that discussion with the therapist may involve additional requests for acknowledgments or consents before, during and after any session depending upon therapeutic and/or treatment needs at the time.
Thank you for understanding that massage is generally a very safe and helpful therapy for many, if not most people and conditions, but that every massage and every massage therapist may not be right for you.
Any massage is better than no massage in the opinion and expertise of EarthTouch Healing Arts (barring any contraindications), so one may choose to get back as often as one can. EarthTouch Healing Arts makes it affordable! As indicated, monthly, massage, generally, is a good option for most people. But for people who are experiencing a highly stressful life, demanding responsibilities, certain health conditions, and jobs, hobbies or sports that cause muscle overuse, stagnation, atrophy or exertion – more frequent massage is certainly an available choice.
I hope you will find that you are glad you found EarthTouch Healing Arts! I Am. : )