Massage 101: What to Expect at Your First Massage

Finally decided to get a massage?

Good decision! A massage, performed by a licensed professional, can be one of the most healthful and rejuvenating things you can do for your body and mind. It not only relaxes muscles and improves blood flow, it relieves stress and anxiety as well.

Massage 101

But why have you been putting it off? Most people say they put off getting a massage because they don’t know what to expect. So we’ve taken time here to give you our “Massage 101” to help you get over that hump. Here are fourteen things to know and do to help you feel totally comfortable going into your first massage.

1. Your Appointment

Talk to friends and family members to get references and look up online reviews. Check out websites to find a place you feel comfortable with. You can also speak to your spa coordinator about what type of therapy is best for you. Or even better, talk directly with your therapist ahead of time so they know exactly what you need.

2. Your Choice

At Bella Vita, our massage therapists specialize in many styles of massage. The most popular among first-timers are Swedish, Hot Stone, and Full-Body Balance. Swedish massage is primarily for full body sessions to promote relaxation, circulation and relieve muscle tension. A Hot Stone massage incorporates Swedish massage and thermotherapy via basalt stones to promote healing. Finally, our Full Body Balance incorporates a variety of massage techniques including 50 minutes of firm to deep tissue massage, 15 minutes of reflexology for the feet, and a 15-minute scalp massage.

3. Your Therapist Preferences

When you call, please don’t hesitate to ask about therapists’ techniques and experience. At Bella Vita, all our therapists are female, but wherever you book, it’s fine to request a male or female therapist specifically. But remember, all professional spas have draping protocols to ensure modesty, so you do not have to worry about being exposed.

4. Your Massage Time

Being on time for a massage is important. And not just because you value your therapist’s time. We all want to be considerate of one another and be prompt whenever possible. But with a massage, you want extra time to relax, speak to your therapist, and get undressed calmly. So arrive 15 minutes beforehand. At Bella Vita, you’ll be offered a warm, aroma-therapy neck-wrap and a drink of your choice.

5. Your Peaceful Escape

To get the most out of the experience, turn off your phone or at least put it on silent. Let coworkers, family, clients, and kids know you won’t be available for a while if you can. Remember, this is about relaxation! Let this be a brief but powerful escape from the business of life.

6. Tip: Leave the Jewelry at Home

Jewelry will almost always be in the way on some level during a massage. (Rings, too–you do NOT want them to interfere with the hand & finger massage!) So leave it at home or in your office safe. If you forget, you can keep it in the room with you, of course. However, for some, just knowing that a precious item might be forgotten or lost can add stress.

7. Tip: “Go” Ahead of Time

Okay, it happens. People forget to go before a massage begins. And it’s a bit of a “buzz-kill” to have to get up part-way through the heavenly experience of a professional massage to use the restroom. And it can cut into your time as well. So remember to take time to go before your massage begins. Our therapists are pretty good about reminding you as well.

8. Your Pre-Massage Preparation

When it’s time to go into your massage, your therapist should meet you and walk you back to the room. If you’re feeling nervous, please don’t hesitate to tell them at this time. Also, ask any questions you may have and repeat any special requests. Your therapist will talk with you, give you instructions on getting undressed and getting onto the table and under the draping. Then they’ll leave the room to give you time and then knock before coming back in.

9. Your Clothes?

One of the most difficult things for many people during their first massage is knowing exactly how much clothing to take off (or leave on). Most people actually take everything off. However, you’re perfectly free to leave your underwear on. Again, our therapists work hard to make sure you’re comfortable and do not feel exposed. So they use modest draping techniques to ensure that only one part of your body is uncovered at a time. That way you’ll never be “exposed” in front of your therapist.

10. Your Skin

Many first-timers wonder about the use of oil in a massage. People are concerned about a greasy feeling afterward, and about getting residual oil on their clothing. At Bella Vita, we use a 50/50 mixture of oil and lotion. This gives the lubricating effect of oil but does not leave you feeling greasy afterward. In fact, your skin absorbs the oil, leaving your skin moisturized and nourished. Any residual oil & lotion can be easily wiped away with a towell. And if you like, you may use our luxurious shower afterward.

11. Your Experience

Once the massage begins, please feel free to let your therapist know what might make the experience better for you. Is the music too loud, the temperature too hot or cool? Or is the pressure too hard or soft? Don’t worry about offending our therapists with reasonable requests. Any professional therapist will appreciate the feedback. They want to be sure you’re a happy client who’ll come back again and again. Also, let them know if you feel pain so they can adjust if needed. Finally, inform your therapist if there’s a particular area that needs more attention, or if there’s an area where you’d rather not be touched.

12. Your Relaxation

It’s important to communicate with your therapist during your massage therapy session. However, experts say that too much conversation during a massage can reduce its relaxing effects. So keep personal conversation to a minimum. Your therapist needs to keep her attention on how your muscles are responding to therapy. And it’s a good idea for you to pay close attention to your body as well. This focus allows you to more effectively release stress and find true relaxation. So feel free to speak up when you need to, but remember to relax!

13. Tip: Tipping is Customary

You’ll usually pay for your service on your way out of the spa after your appointment. When you do, please don’t forget to show your appreciation to your therapist with a tip of at least 15% to 20%. We’re very proud of our service providers here at Bella Vita. We think they are the best of the best, and we hope you’ll agree! 

14. Tip: Plan Your Next Appointment Now

If you had a positive experience, the best time to plan for the next one is now. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do. The time and money you invest will produce dividends of health and well-being in body, mind, and soul. So go ahead and plan for that next massage, even if it’s a few months out. We always give reminder calls ahead of time so you don’t forget.

We Look Forward to Serving You!

At Bella Vita Spa and Salon, we specialize

Leave the Kids at Home

A day at the spa is one of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself. The special pampering break is dedicated specifically to you – no distractions or stress involved. And for many people, that means no kids!


Although we know our clients have well-behaved children, we encourage them to leave the kids at home while receiving spa treatments. 

Many spas have an age rule regarding spa treatments. Here at Bella Vita, if a child wants to receive a treatment, a consent form from the parent or guardian must be completed. Call our Spa Coordinators anytime to discuss which services would be most suitable for your child. 

Going to the spa should be “you time”. Nothing should keep you from enjoying your facial or message. So, for everyone’s sake, leave the kids at home and come pamper yourself!

Tips for Tipping your Masseuse

How much should you tip for a massage?

This is a common question for spa package customers. Many people are not massage regulars, so there is no shame in asking this important question!

The typical tip amount for spa services is between 15 and 20 percent. If you have seen more than one service provider in the same day, leave 15-20 percent of the total amount of your bill. The tips will be dispersed between each employee according to the portion of the service they provided.

Masseuses appreciate a 20 percent tip and like it even more if given in cash. Your tip can be left on a credit card or check, but most often good ole’ fashion cash is preferred. That’s because if you tip on your credit card, most spas will pay that tip out with the therapist’s weekly or biweekly paycheck. If you tip in cash, the therapist gets to take it home that very same day. Either way, here at Bella Vita, our employees will get 100% of their tip, so no need to fret!

If you’re tipping with cash in a provided envelope, it’s always best to write the therapist’s full name. If a casual spa doesn’t have tipping envelopes at the register, you can discreetly hand the cash tip to your therapist with a quick, “thank you!”.


To schedule an appointment either view our website or call 918.369.8482

To Talk or Not To Talk

Many people wonder whether or not they should talk to their masseuse while getting a massage. Like many other spa treatment questions, the answer is up to you!


It’s usually best to close your eyes, lie back and relax into the massage, but ultimately it’s up to you. Be sure to speak up if you’re feeling too cold or too hot, if you experience any pain or if you would like the massage changed in any way.


Massages are intended to make you feel better – therapists would much rather you tell them what isn’t right rather than keep a stiff upper lip and not return because you didn’t enjoy your experience.

While in a massage, you are encouraged to speak to your massage therapist about the pressure of the massage.  Let them know if you’d like it a little deeper or to lighten up a bit on certain areas.  Other that, there is no need for further communication.  This is your opportunity lay there, relax and enjoy your well-deserved massage!


In the end, the massage is for your enjoyment and relaxation. If you prefer silence, your masseuse will abide. However, if you enjoy small talk, feel free to chat with your masseuse. Their job is to make your spa experience as enjoyable as possible!


Do you prefer small-talk or silence during your massage?

Find Your Inner “Spa Voice”

If you are in a spa setting that is communal (ie: manicure/ pedicure room, intention room, etc.), be careful how loud you speak, and the topics that you speak about with your service provider and/or others in the room.


Imagine having a relaxing pedicure while the lady next to you blabs about “the latest gossip” or worse yet, talks about her aching corns! A spa environment is sacred, and to disrupt it with gossip, banter, loud voices or rude comments spoils it for everyone.


If you’re a chatty Cathy yourself, then just try to relax, practicing some deep breathing exercises. Breathe in slowly through your nostrils and breathe out slowly through your mouth. Listen to the music, close your eyes and enjoy the moment.


Being considerate is essential.


Cell Phones

Don’t embarrass yourself and disrupt the quiet by forgetting to silence your cell phone. To some people a spa is like a church: a sacred place they go to seek solace, peace and most of all, quiet. Remind yourself to turn your phone to vibrate, or even off altogether, before you enter the spa.


When enjoying services at Bella Vita, we kindly ask that you use your “spa voice” and turn off your cell phones.  There’s nothing relaxing about being in the middle of massage or facial and hearing phones and loud voices interrupted your quiet time.  Use your time at the spa as a get away from your busy week and enjoy an hour or so of peace and quiet.



To schedule an appointment either view our website or call 918.369.8482

Arrive Early to Appointments

It’s important to arrive early to any spa appointment you have at Bella Vita!


It’s especially important to arrive early if you are a new client. Oklahoma State Law requires that paperwork be filled out for each client that we provide services to. Arriving 10-15 mins early gives you a chance to complete the paperwork.


Arriving early ensures that you complete all the necessary paperwork, and that this process doesn’t cut into your spa time!



This will also give you time to change into a robe, enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine and relax before your services begin.


So be sure to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early to your next appointment to get the most out of your spa experience!


To schedule an appointment either view our website or call 918.369.8482

Spa Etiquette : Think Ahead!


1. Get What You Want

Scheduling in advance ensures you get the day/time that works best for you.

When you don’t pre-book, sometimes it can be hard to get the day and time you want. It’s a real drag to want a massage and have to rearrange other stuff or rush around just to make it happen. Plan ahead and you can always adjust if need be!


2. Prioritize Your Self-Care

Scheduling in advance gives priority to your self-care. Many of our clients have found that when they pre-book their next appointment(s), all the other pieces of their life settles around their self-care, instead of competing with their self-care.

 When we hold time for something, we tend to follow through. And when we don’t hold time for something, it tends to get lost in the shuffle. By prioritizing your self-care, you’re investing in your own well-being.


So why do we always ask if you want to rebook your next appointment when checking out? Because most of our clients have standing appointments every 4 to 6 weeks.  If you don’t think ahead at least 4 weeks, you will have a difficult time getting the day and time you prefer.  So book ahead and save yourself some frustration when calling to make your next appointment!


To schedule an appointment either view our website or call 918.369.8482

Spa Etiquette : Modesty Draping

Many clients, even those that have been getting massages for years, are unsure about how much they should disrobe for their massage. As with so many things, the answers vary.


The most important thing is for you to be comfortable and able to relax on your spa day. It’s also important to remember that no matter you how much you disrobe during a professional massage, you’ll always be draped with a sheet or towel so only the area being worked on is uncovered. You can also request that certain areas are avoided during massage.


Our therapists use a technique called modesty draping; this uses an additional sheet during the massage to protect your modesty. Modesty draping is used so that the client won’t be “exposed” during the a deep massage or a relaxing Swedish massage.


So relax, we’ll always have you covered!


Extra Tips:Thigh_Massage

Ladies – it’s best if you remove your bra. Occasionally massage oils and lotions can stain delicate fabric. It’s also more difficult to work the length of your neck muscles with bra straps in the way (many neck muscles attach to your shoulder blade or vertebrate in the mid-back).


Guys – if you want to leave your underwear on during a mens spa service, it’s better if you don’t wear the long boxer briefs that fit snugly around your upper leg. Those make it tough to fully work on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and other leg muscles. Briefs or traditional boxers are a better choice.


And remember, when in doubt – ASK!