Massage Therapy FAQ’s for Heidi’s Table
Massage is one of the oldest forms of medical care. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were fans of massage –no kidding!– and as early as 2700 BC, a Chinese book of internal medicine recommended “massage of skin and flesh.” Many years later, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said that ”the physician must be acquainted with many things and assuredly with rubbing.”
Today, we wouldn’t dream of going to our doctor to “get rubbed.” But that is, in very simplified terms, what I, a massage therapist, do. And it sure does feel good. And can help many things.
Therapeutic massage can help decrease pain, reduce anxiety and stress, decrease carpal tunnel symptoms, reduce muscle soreness, improve sleep, alleviate depression, boost immune response, ease withdrawal symptoms, treat cancer-related fatigue, relieve migraine pain, ease the tensions associated with pregnancy, and more.
Wooh! That’s a long list. And I can think of even more things which may not have been studied with official research yet, but in my experience are very definite results: increased body awareness and appreciation, for example. The kind of awareness that helps people change stuck, and less-than-helpful patterns. And when it comes to self-care, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. It feels that good to me, to receive massage. (And no, it’s no mistake at all that I became a massage therapist.)
Absolutely. Pregnant women benefit immensely from massage therapy. During pregnancy every day can feel like waking up to a different body. Pre-natal massage can ease the tension in your back, pelvis, neck and shoulders, as well as stabilizing your hormone levels by lessening anxiety and reducing fatigue. Women who receive regular pre-natal massage have been shown to have shorter, easier labors. Hooray for that!
I’ve been working as a massage therapist since 2005. You can read about my professional training and experience over here.
You don’t have to, but you may want to. Also, “naked” does not mean completely uncovered. I follow AMTA draping standards, which means you will be covered with a sheet (and possibly a blanket) and I will only uncover the part of your body that I’m working on. So, for example, if I’m working on your back, I’ll only uncover your back, while the rest of you stays cozily covered. Please know 2 things: I will never, EVER, expose your genital area, and I will always leave you to undress and dress in privacy.
You can always undress to your level of comfort. Some of my clients take everything off, others leave their underwear on, and other people remain fully clothed. It’s totally up to you and may vary based on your intention/goal for our work together.
Many clients appreciate the opportunity for safe and therapeutic touch, skin to skin, without the barrier of clothing. They also enjoy the wonderfully moisturizing effects of the shea butter creams and oils. Yes, Heidi’s Table uses Aardvark Essentials body creams. And yes, you get to chose whatever potion you want us to use. Yipee!
Massage therapy should feel good. Very good! I want you to love it and
become addicted come back as often as you want. If you are unsure or uncomfortable about anything during your session, please let me know.
That said, sometimes while I am working on knotted up areas, the sensation you feel might be “on the edge” or yes, something like pain, but you should also notice it giving you relief quite quickly.
How much pressure feels good is individual, and may even vary from session to session for the same person. I’ll check in with you during our session to make sure that the pressure feels good to you, but I also want you to let me know if anything is uncomfortable, or if you would like the pressure increased or decreased. Don’t be shy! Let me know.
That said, there are some techniques that can feel more intense than others. I will check in to make sure the pressure feels OK. But again, you should feel free to speak up at any moment. And “oww” will work instantly! You should never be grinning and bearing it. Ever!
No worries, bodies do body things. Especially when we are relaxed, our stomachs might make noise. We might pass gas… yes, it happens.”
My husband wants to get a massage but is afraid he’ll get an involuntary erection. What should I tell him?
It could happen but probably won’t because my work is completely, 100%, totally and always non-sexual in intention and in actuality. This doesn’t mean people don’t have sexual feelings. It simply means that if something like an involuntary erection happens during a massage, it happens and that’s all. Moving on—
You are sweet to ask this awkward question. In the United States, unfortunately, massage therapy is often still viewed as a luxury, rather than a therapeutic modality with specific and measurable health benefits. While you would never tip your doctor or your dentist, sometimes folks are left scratching their heads when it comes to their massage therapist.
Like a doctor or other health care professional, I have set rates that compensate me fairly and take into consideration not only my time with you, but my experience and education. I do not expect a tip. I’d much rather see you more often than have you add a gratuity into your calculations when you consider my rate. (And, if you love expressing appreciation in that way, I will say a heartfelt “thank you!”).
You should plan on approximately 5-8 minutes longer than the length of your session. For example, if your 1-hour massage is at 4 p.m., you can plan on being out at 5:05 p.m. or so. This gives us a few minutes before and after the hands-on work to check in with one another (to see how you’ve felt since your last visit, determine the intention/goal of today’s session, and afterward, discuss self-care and follow-up appointment). If you need more than a few minutes for check-in, be sure to let me know and we will end the hands-on part of our work a bit sooner, or schedule a longer session.
As often as you like! If you decide to make massage therapy part of your ongoing self-care, you might decide to come every week or two. Or once a month. Or perhaps you only come see me once a year, on your birthday. (Awesome!)
Some people get massage therapy for specific and acute pain: maybe they’re recovering from an injury, or threw their back out. Or their neck is just killing them, making it hard to move with ease. If that’s the case, you might come see me every week or so for month or two.
I am happy to consider your situation with you, discuss options and make recommendations during your first session and at any point in the course of our work together.
When you come is a personal preference. Some people love to start their day with massage, so they come in the morning. Others come after work. Others come whenever they can get childcare. It is really a matter of personal situation and preference.
That said, it is not a good idea to eat a meal immediately prior to receiving a massage. You want to give your body at least an hour, two is preferable, to digest food before having a massage. It’s hard for your body to digest food when you are lying down.
If you want to eat after your massage, by all means!
Staying hydrated is always a good idea, but right after a massage it’s very important. Drinking water will make you pee, and that is one of the ways that your body eliminates toxins. So yes: drink plenty of water! (It’ll also help you avoid a headache, especially if you are prone to them, and especially if we worked on neck tension).