14 May 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.
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