Many people delay getting a massage because they are not sure what to expect. I had the same concerns when I received my first massage. Once I made a decision to get a massage, it took me two months to actually book the massage due to insecurity about what to expect. I will take this opportunity to answer the questions that most people have but do not want to ask.
Do I have to undress? Typically, due to the need for the therapist to address the muscle tissue, you will need to be undressed, at least for the area being addressed.
Do I have to take off everything? You do not have to completely undress. It is perfectly fine to leave underclothing on as well as clothing covering areas of the body that are not being worked on.
Will the therapist be in the room while I undress? The therapist will leave the room and give you time to undress and get positioned on the massage table under the linens. The therapist will knock prior to re-entering the treatment room. The massage table can be heated for your comfort and to help relax muscle tension.
Am I covered? You will be covered during the massage. Your therapist will only undrape the area being worked.
Where will the therapist touch me? The therapist will address the area of pain or tension. Keep in mind, however, that the cause of the pain is not always where the patient feels the pain. No patient will receive work in genital area or in the breast area for woman, nor will these areas ever be uncovered. Glutes (buttocks) may need to be worked as they are great contributors to low back pain. They will be worked through the linens when possible. If at any time a patient is concerned with these procedures, they should address their concerns with the therapist.
Will massage be painful? Massage should not hurt. I hear people tell me all the time that they received a “deep-tissue” massage and it was painful. I disagree with the philosophy of “no pain, no gain” as the body responds in a negative way to pain. It causes the muscles to lock up and prevents the therapeutic approach. I do, however, agree with deep-tissue work. I specialize in orthopedic massage therapy, which addresses deep tissue as needed but with no pain. The patient may experience discomfort hours after the massage for the same reason that they may experience discomfort after a chiropractic adjustment; when the body returns to a position of normalcy after being unbalanced for a long period of time, there is a tissue adjustment that may take place. This is similar to muscle soreness after a workout at the gym. It should start going away in a few hours. It may help to use an analgesic such as Biofreeze or Cryoderm or simply use ice.