You have likely heard of the Magician’s Code. Basically it says that once a magician learns the secrets of their craft they are not to share them with the public.
Did you know that massage therapists have a code also? I am a licensed massage therapist and have been let in on the secret massage code. I’m taking a great risk in letting you in on this, so please don’t turn me in. The code has to do with the questions we ask our clients and what we talk about with them. You may need to read this quickly before it gets found and taken down off the web.
Some of these are fairly involved concepts but I am confident you can grasp them. Here goes …
When I say: “You can wear whatever you want for your massage”.
What it really means: Wear whatever you want for your massage.
I want you to be completely relaxed and you simply cannot be if you are thinking about what clothes you are or are not wearing. Don’t do what you think you are supposed to do. Do what will let you be relaxed. You can leave everything on and I can still help you (click here to read more on clothing). You can take some clothes off or everything off if you want. You will be fully draped except the part being worked on at the time. I’ve worked with all of these situations. I do not judge based on what you wear; I simply think this is how you feel comfortable today. Your choice may change over time, but it should be about what you want.
When I say: “How is the temperature for you?”
What it really means: I want to know if you are warm or cool, and then do something to correct it.
Preferences vary from person to person. Items such as table warmers, blankets, heaters, and warm towels help to warm you up if you are cool. Fans, air conditioning, and undraping your feet help to cool you if you become warm. The more you come in, the better I can set it up the way you like it. The temperature doesn’t matter to me, so it really is what makes you comfortable and relaxed.
When I say: “How is the pressure?”
What it really means: I want to know how the pressure feels.
I want it to be just right for you. I will vary the pressure based on what I am working on and what the muscles in each area feel like. If the pressure is too light or too hard, you won’t be happy and won’t come back. I know this because it’s a big complaint people have about other places that they have been for massage.
The pressure should be right for you. I get massages also so I know what it’s like to be on the table and thinking that more or less pressure would be better, or that just feels amazing. I will not be offended or insulted if you request a change. Massage should be enjoyed. Click here to read about why massage should not hurt.
When I say: “Does anything need any extra attention today?”
What it really means: I want to know how you feel today and if an area or two needs more attention than usual.
You do different things in your life and get different pains. You are not stuck getting the same massage every time you come in. Were you doing some work outside and your back hurts today? Have you been running more and have some leg pain? Are you under a lot of stress and have a headache and more neck pain?
I understand because my life causes me to do various things and I get pains in different areas from time to time. I sometimes overuse muscles that I haven’t used so much for a while. Just tell me what is bothering you today. It may not be the same as last time, but I’m up for a challenge and some variety. If you don’t have any special needs today and what we have been doing is working for you, that’s great. I’m glad to hear it and will stick with what helps you.
When I say: “Anything you tell me and what happens in your time is confidential”.
What it really means: If you tell me something, I won’t tell anybody else.
Whatever work I do with you is just between us. I won’t tell your neighbor – or a stranger – your name and any details about what is said or done.
I just do massage, but if you want to talk and tell me what is on your mind or something that is going on, that is fine. Sometimes it is helpful to talk a situation through with somebody who doesn’t know the details or the other people involved. Sometimes it helps just to get it off your chest which helps you clear your mind.
There are a couple of exceptions in serious situations. I may be legally required to share details. If you are in a dangerous situation, I may be required to share what I know. Regulations on this vary by area. I’m not a doctor but am expected to follow the same basic confidentially guidelines. I wouldn’t want my information shared, so I won’t do it to you.
When I say: “Are there any areas you don’t want massaged?”
What it really means: I want to know if there are any places you don’t want to be touched. It should be obvious that your private areas are off limits.
There are plenty of physical reasons, such as being ticklish or sensitive in places, or if you are recovering from an injury or surgery. If it is simply your preference, that is fine also. I will respect that and work where you do want work done. It can change on different visits. Just let me know and I’ll honor that without questioning why.
When I say: “Massage is for everybody”
What it really means: I you to be comfortable getting a massage.
Massage is not just for those who society deems beautiful. It is for every body. Almost everybody has body issues. Bodies are wondrous things and I enjoy working on your muscles and helping you feel better. I don’t look negatively at anyone, but instead I am thankful that you have put your trust in me. You have literally put yourself in my hands, and I don’t take that lightly. Massage can help you feel better about your body by giving you a positive experience.
When I say: (after your massage) “How was everything?”
What it really means: I want to know how you feel.
Did you get what you came in for? Is there anything you didn’t like or something that can be improved upon? Hopefully you spoke up during the massage and your need was addressed.
I want you to walk out feeling great. If you do, you are more likely to come back and also tell your family and friends why you feel so wonderful. Consistently working with the same person should provide better results over time. If there was something you didn’t care for, I want to know. You are probably not the only person who feels that way. Most people have the same few questions and concerns about massage, so please speak up and let me know how to make yours better.
I hope this helps you to understand me better the next time we talk now that you have this inside information. Communication is a key ingredient to getting what you need from your massage. Fortunately to report me you have to have the secret password on the secret website. I haven’t given that away so I think I’ll be safe.
What other questions do you have about massage and massage therapists? Leave a comment and I’ll address those also.
Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio. Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com