What Should I Expect on My First Visit?
First, and foremost, a conversation. Massage is a two-way form of communication. Keith builds relationships with clients long before they arrive on the massage table. Initial conversations can last anywhere between 10-30 minutes. During this time, a dialogue is created about the client’s history, goals, and habituated pain patterns. The goal is to have a general understanding of how the client uses their body, what they have experienced, and their goals of the massage.
Once the client feels comfortable in the space and a plan is created, that plan will be explained prior to the massage. Keith will then leave the room giving ample time to the client to disrobe, get comfortable onto the massage table, and properly cover themselves under the sheets. Only when the client is ready, Keith will return to the room after washing his hands and arms.
After making sure the client is comfortable, the massage will begin with gentle compression over the sheets. Depending on the goals of the massage, Keith will check in from time-to-time with the client to make sure pressure is enough and open space for the client to communicate.
Do I have to Completely Undress?
Not at all. You should disrobe to your comfort level. Your ability to relax and feel comfortable is most important.
That being said, a massage works best when the therapist has access to the skin and tissue that lays underneath it. The more access the therapist has, the easier it will be to affect change in the body.
A client should always be properly draped with the sheets. Only the area of the body being worked on should be exposed.
How Will I Feel After the Massage?
The answer is: it depends. It depends on your chemistry, on the goals of the massage, and on how communicative you were during the session.
The goals of the session, in combination with how the client reacts, will determine how quick and how deep Keith works. Some people do experience soreness. Not everyone experiences it, but it does happen.
After any session, the client should drink more water than they typically do in order to flush the body of toxins released during the session.
Another point to remember is that muscles have memory. Ask any athlete or musician and they understand muscle memory. Muscles will want to revert back to their normal positions after a massage session. There is a new normal, and the body integrates the work over a period of a few days. As tissues shift, the client may feel a new normal.
Ultimately, it depends. No two bodies are the same, and so it is difficult to have a one-size-fits-all response.
What if it Hurts?
Say something. This is your massage. You need to communicate in order to achieve the best results for yourself. That goes if the pressure is too light or if you feel uncomfortable with anything. Communication is king.
What's so Special About Massage?
There are many, many reasons why massage is special. It may be the only dynamic between two people where devices are put away, interruptions are eliminated, and the focus becomes the breath and the moment.
Massage allows people to shift from the intellectual processing of their days (weeks, months, years?!?), and move into a place of feeling and of sensation. Healing, physical and emotional, happens in a place of stillness. The mind stills, the body relaxes, and the systems of the body get a chance to rest and relax. Cortisol levels drop (The stress chemical in our bodies), and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in (The “Rest-and-Digest” system, as opposed to “Fight-or-Flight”).
Most people take better care of their cars, their houses, their pets than they do their own bodies. Massage is a conscious decision to stop, unwind, and focus on yourself. Regular maintenance is not something we consider for ourselves, but we do it for our cars, our devices, and our houses. Why not ourselves?
How Often Should I Get a Massage?
Again, it depends. It depends on your your goals, your budget, and your time.
Ideally, everyone should think about massage as a baseline for maintenance of their body. Nobody should be waiting until their body begins breaking down. Mostly because by the time someone is experiencing pain, there is an orchestra of things working together to create enough neurological activity to create that pain. Massage should be a regular thing in everyone’s lives.
If your goal is to correct an issue or take away pain, the client should be looking at a more regular massage schedule. Two to three times a week for an acute issue is not uncommon. The goal would be to reduce the frequency over a short time and move to a manageable regular schedule. Many people are moving to at least a monthly massage schedule for themselves. It all depends on goals, time, and budget.