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Have you thought about getting a massage to help you recover from an injury or to just relax? If you’ve never had one, you probably have some questions. Here are a few common Massage Therapy FAQs for those who are new to massage therapy.

What message is right for me?

Massage and bodywork therapies are often complex mixtures of holistic healing practices that involve physical, emotional, and spiritual components. As a result, the number of different therapies out there is huge - in fact, there are over 200 different massage techniques and types, all treating different needs and providing various benefits.

What are the benefits of massage therapy?

The touch of a massage therapist can signal a relaxation response, causing your heart and breathing rates to slow, blood flow to increase, blood pressure to reduce, stress hormones to decrease and muscles to relax. In some cases, a professional massage may be just the cure you need to relieve aches and chronic pain and make you feel better. Massage can:

– Lessen lower back pain by improving circulation, relaxing muscles, increasing endorphins (the “feel-good” chemicals) and improving sleep.

– Help the lymphatic system by improving blood and lymph circulation, reducing swelling, relieving swelling and helping organs function better.

– Relieve side effects of cancer treatments and enhance quality of life.

– Minimize headaches by blocking pain signals and releasing serotonin to reduce anxiety.

– Benefit mental health by activating neurotransmitters to decrease anxiety and reduce stress hormone levels.

What do I need to know about my first massage session?

You will most likely need to answer some questions about your health history and what areas of your body might benefit from massage. The massage therapist can then do an assessment to determine which type of massage would be best for you. Make sure that you mention all of your health concerns, the medications you’re taking and procedures you’ve had so the therapist’s techniques do not hurt you.

Do I need to undress completely?

If you are more comfortable leaving your underwear on during the massage, that’s fine. After all, one of the benefits of massage is reducing anxiety, so you don’t want to be nervous. Even if you are undressed, you will be covered by a sheet or towel. It is only removed when the therapist works on that part of your body. No area will be exposed without your consent. For Thai massage please wear sports clothing. 

How long does it last?

A typical full-body massage lasts about an hour. For a partial massage session of maybe the neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet it could be just a half hour. However, 60 to 90 minutes is considered best for optimal relaxation. The session length also includes time to dress, undress and talk to the massage therapist about your treatment.

Is it going to hurt?

Generally, massage feels good – at least it does on healthy tissue. If you have an area of chronic pain or one that is already painful, massage could hurt for a few minutes. The therapist can use a variety of techniques to minimize discomfort and make you feel your best.

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