If you haven’t experienced massage before and don’t know what to expect, the idea
of having a treatment can seem a bit daunting and worrying. You may know a few things:
that you generally have to undress, that you have to let the therapist touch you
and that towels and oil are somehow involved.
In fact having a massage is nothing to be alarmed about and many people, once they’ve
undergone their first treatment become massage converts, as massage is a wonderful
However to relieve a little of the understandable concern before your first treatment
it can be helpful to know what will happen before, during and afterwards. Although
no two treatments are ever completely alike there are some things that are typical
for each session.
For your first session you’ll need to allow an extra 20-30 minutes on top of the
massage time you’ve booked, as I’ll carry out a discussion and assessment with you
before any treatment takes place. Before any future treatments the discussion is
generally just a few minutes long and involves me checking with you as to how you
have been since the previous session.
Clinical and other remedial massage discussion
If you’ve booked a clinical massage or other advanced therapy treatment, your first
session will start with a consultation to discuss your reasons for massage (such
as a reduction in pain, relaxation, increased range of movement or improved flexibility)
and answering any queries or concerns you may have.
I’ll explain what can be done to help correct any pain, inflexibility or other problems.
If there are several matters to be dealt with we’ll discuss what you’d like to be
given priority during the first session. I may also carry out a physical assessment,
including checking your posture, testing your pain levels and your mobility, flexibility
and range of movement.
Relaxation massage discussion
If you’re having a relaxation massage we’ll talk about the level of pressures that
I’ll be using and any preferences you may have regarding which areas of the body
are to be included or left out. I’ll also check whether you have any aches and pains
that I need take into account during the treatment.
Bodyworkz treatment room
Once we've covered all the preliminaries I’ll show you to my calm relaxing treatment
room, make sure you’re happy with the room arrangements such as temperature, music
and light levels, then explain how to position yourself on the couch and how to cover
yourself with towels for modesty and comfort.
Once you’re comfortable with everything I’ll leave the room so you can undress in
private and get settled down. I’ll return after a few minutes, knocking and waiting
for your confirmation that you’re ready before I come back in.
Oils and lotions
Oil or lotion is used during the massage. This helps my hands glide over your skin
without dragging, but without being too slippery, because to carry out effective
strokes there needs to be some friction between my hands and your skin. The amount
of oil I’ll use during an average session is surprisingly small - possibly a tablespoon
- so you’re never drenched in oil or feeling sticky at the end of the treatment.
In fact some of the techniques I use, such as myofascial release, are carried out
without any oil at all as a good deal of traction is required to achieve the most
I always have several oils and lotions available and will use the one I believe is
most appropriate for you on the day, although you’ll be welcome to request a specific
type of oil if you prefer.
Length of your massage session
You’ll always receive the amount of massage time that you’ve paid for. Sometimes
(well quite often, if I’m honest) I may overrun and spend longer on your massage
treatment than the time you’ve booked. This happens because I nearly always find
something that needs a bit more attention and I feel that a few more minutes will
be of benefit to you. There is of course no additional charge for this.
However I recognise that your time may be tightly scheduled so if you don’t wish
to receive extra time please let me know beforehand so I can make sure I finish promptly.
During your massage
Before beginning the treatment I’ll check again to make sure you’re feeling relaxed
and cover you with more towels to maintain your privacy and keep you warm. I’ll also
arrange any bolsters and cushions needed to make you feel completely comfortable
and supported in the correct position.
During the massage I only uncover the part of your body that I’m working on and re-drape
those areas as I move to another part of your body, so most of you is covered most
of the time. When you change position I hold the towels in place so you’re never
During the course of a relaxation massage I may move one of your limbs, or ask you
to do so, and sometimes you’ll be lying face down, sometimes face up. Occasionally
I’ll ask you if the pressure I’m using is right for you. However if you’re obviously
relaxed and comfortable I’ll quietly carry on with the massage without disturbing
If you’re receiving clinical massage to deal with a particular complaint the session
may be more interactive, as I’ll be asking you for feedback about what you’re feeling
and I may move you around a lot more than during a relaxation massage. I may also
use more vigorous and/or deep techniques appropriate for the condition being treated.
What to do if you become uncomfortable
I’ll always check with you at the start of your massage and at other times as it
progresses to make sure everything is fine, but if something isn’t right please let
me know straightaway so I can change things. For example, you may feel that the pressure
I’m using is too deep or too gentle, you decide you’d like different music, or prefer
quiet, you may become too hot or too cold, or that you don’t want massage on certain
parts of your body, or need tissues for a runny nose, or a bathroom break.
None of this will be a problem and I’d much sooner you’re completely happy and relaxed
rather than uncomfortable for any reason.
At the end of the session
At the end of the treatment I’ll wake you gently if you’re asleep (quite a lot of
people doze during their massage) and check how you’re feeling. I’ll generally leave
the room immediately so you can relax for a few minutes before getting dressed. If
you need help getting up from the couch I’ll help you with this before leaving you
to relax and get dressed in private.
How you may feel at the end of the massage
Everyone experiences different things after a massage. All these reactions are normal,
common and nothing to be concerned about. For example, you may feel very sleepy or
a little light-headed, or have a feeling of deep calm or euphoria. Sometimes there
may be an emotional release, which can give rise to feelings of grief, anger, or
other unexpected emotions.
If you’ve had remedial treatment there may be some discomfort in muscles and other
tissues where I carried out deeper work. This isn’t always the case, but if it should
occur any soreness and discomfort generally pass quickly - normally within 24 hours
- as the body readjusts to a better balance following release brought about by the
massage treatment. I explain how to deal with these effects should they happen to
Mostly people leave a session feeling relaxed, calm and having enjoyed the experience.
Even remedial, deep tissue and sports massage can and should be enjoyable, as I never
use pressures that are higher than you are able to comfortably tolerate.
Post-massage and further sessions
Before you depart I’ll check how you’re feeling and make sure that you’re happy with
the treatment you’ve received.
If your massage has been intended to deal with a particular condition I may suggest
and demonstrate some self-care exercises you can carry out at home to assist with
the healing process between treatments.
For clinical massage, depending on the outcome of the first session and the goals
to be achieved, I may advise a short-term treatment plan of 4-6 sessions. For the
most beneficial results it’s generally preferable to have the earlier treatments
quite close together, with visits weekly or fortnightly, depending on the condition
and your body’s response to treatment. For some conditions a longer-term treatment
plan may be appropriate, with a programme of sessions spaced out every 4-6 weeks.
However every person is different and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution -
it will all depend on you, how you respond to the treatments, your personal situation
and the results you’d like to achieve.
I hope this has given you some useful insight as to what to expect at your first
massage, but if you’d like to know more you can find further information on the Frequently
Asked Questions page. Alternatively, please free to contact me and I’ll be happy