On your first visit, you will be asked to complete a written confidential health history form. Your therapist will perform a complete physical assessment so they can determine the best approach to your treatment. This may involve a postural assessment, range of motion testing, and palpating for pain or tenderness. This information is used to address your chief complaint and to plan the massage session. This process allows your therapist to provide a safe and effective massage therapy treatment.
All treatments will be explained to you and will proceed only with your understanding and consent.
Assessment of Conditions
Once you have completed the intake form, your massage therapist will bring you into a treatment room where they will ask about any recent injuries or health conditions.
Questions will include if you have had a massage prior to the visit, what you currently want to treat, if you have recently eaten, and other factors that may affect your treatment.
During this time, your therapist will work with you to create a treatment plan based on what you have shared with them. Your treatment plan should include specific areas of the body where they will be working and how the draping will be done to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
At any point, you can tell the therapist what you are comfortable with and what areas they do not have your consent to treat. At this time and throughout your treatment, ask any questions you may have.
Massage oils or lotions are often used during your treatment. Your therapist will ask you if you have a sensitivity to scents or specific oils. If there is anything your therapist didn't ask you about but you feel they should know, make sure to tell them.
What to Wear to Your Appointment
After your massage therapist has finished the assessment and you feel comfortable with the treatment plan, they will recommend the level of undress for the massage. However, it is a common misconception that you need to be fully undressed during a massage.
A therapist will be able to treat you fully clothed if that is how you feel most comfortable. The level of undress during treatment is always up to you.
Your therapist will also tell you how to position yourself on the massage table, and then they will leave the room so you can undress and get comfortable on the table, fully covered by the draping. Draping consists of a sheet and a light blanket that cover you on the massage table.
A common position to start in is lying on your stomach, under the draping, with your face down in the headrest. You may also be asked to lie face-up, under the draping on the massage table.
Your Massage Therapy Treatment
Now that you are comfortable, your therapist will knock before re-entering the treatment room. Let them know if you are not yet in position, and they will give you more time to get ready.
Communication is key during your treatment. Your therapist will check in throughout the session, but you are ultimately in charge. If you are too cold, too hot, want to be covered, are not comfortable with a part of your body being touched, don't like the music, or have any other discomfort, tell your therapist.
Your therapist will use draping to expose the body part they are working at that moment, never exposing breasts, genitals, gluteal cleft, or any body part you specify should remain covered.
While checking in, your therapist will invite you to communicate by asking how comfortable the pressure of your massage is. If at any time you are in pain or would like more pressure applied, let your therapist know.