After some years practicing as a remedial massage therapist in the wellness industry in spas, massage houses and centres a number of points have come to light that may be of interest to the prospective client in search of making a booking for a massage.
Its easy, you may think pick up the local paper, search on the internet look in the tourist information provided your holiday accommodation. Pick up the phone or walk in off the street and make a booking. Great! Now you have your one hour massage booking, all done. Works for many, but did it?
Here are some notes on how to approach getting a better service for your massage.
Many people take their holiday break amongst the masses descending on coastal locations in droves and getting a booking at the last minute may be a matter of luck.
Forward planning may be a good idea, or is it?
Many people book a massage and when asked what modality they would like they request a relaxation massage fully believing that this is what they want and really this is what they want, they want to relax. However, the client may and often is then booked in with a therapist suited to relaxation massage. Great, until the client finds that the therapist is not able to provide the level of pressure they expected and the therapist burns out in a puddle of tears.
Here are some of the most common services people will seek on their holiday.
Health Fund - If you need a health fund receipt for your massage ask for a therapist who is a provider when making the booking and check that the therapist is a provider for the health fund you are a member of. Expect to be refused a health fund receipt if you ask for it after the massage. Always check before the massage with your therapist as your original booking may have been moved to another therapist who is not a provider.
Relaxation - Softer to light pressure, no discomfort or uncomfortable pain may fall asleep. Full body for 1 hr massage.
Deep Tissue - Ranging from starting with softer pressure to heavier pressure using elbows and knuckles. Stretches some discomfort mild manageable pain. Client may fall asleep. Full body for a !½ hr massage.
Remedial - This is a massage to remediate an injury, help with post operative care and help correct poor posture. This is a massage covered by most private health funds for a rebate.
Pregnancy - This is a massage received when pregnant. Some therapists will massage at any stage of the pregnancy but their are risks. It is advised to only start receiving massage after the first trimester.
Best to ask for a therapist who has completed a pregnancy massage course. There are many ways to receive a pregnancy massage and specialist tables and equipment are not of paramount importance.
Aromatherapy - This entails the use of essential oils that may be added to a base oil for the massage. For some the oils may be allergenic if you have an allergy or start to feel an allergic reaction during the massage let the theories know. Ask for the pressure you feel is best light to heavy. Expect a pre massage consultation to choose the oils. Beware if you are using homeopathic medicine as essential oils may interfere.
Hot Stone - Hot stones heated in a slow cooker are coated with oil and used in a massage be it a relaxation, deep tissue or remedial massage. This is a deeply soothing and effective massage modality especially suited to those who like heat. Be sure to check in with the therapist as to the heat and pressure.
Foot Massage - This is a massage where you can expect to only receive massage to the feet. However, it is common to also have work done on the lower leg and also the hands arms neck shoulders and scalp. Traditionally, in some countries considerable pressure is used that would make the average person jump of the table and never get reflexology again due to the pain and discomfort they had experienced. Be sure to connect with the therapist as to the pressure and style you prefer.
Beware if you are pregnant, there are areas on the foot and lower leg that when pressed with extended heavy pressure may interfere with you pregnancy.
Tarot Reading - Not being a tarot reader myself but having worked with tarot readers who are also massage therapists there appears to be a divide on whether to have a massage before or after a tarot or psychic reading.
Some say they prefer to give a tarot reading before so that they can integrate the tarot session into the massage. The therapist will then be able to use essential oils and massage techniques to help the client.
Nail Care - Not all massage centres provide nail care. It is best to look for a business that is specialising in nail care. Get your nail care after your massage, exfoliation, spray tanning and facial so that you are ready and fresh for that special event.
Exfoliation - If you are looking for full body exfoliation many spas and beauty clinics offer these services. Best to book an exfoliation session before any massage or spray tanning bookings. Try to avoid getting sunburn before an exfoliation session as this may be somewhat uncomfortable.
Spray Tanning - It is best to get you spray tan after any exfoliation or massage treatments. Sometimes it is inevitable that as you have a previous spray tan you will book a massage. The oil in the massage will wash off the spray tan and it will come off on the therapists towels, dramatic as it looks on white towels it does completely wash out. However, this may leave your spray tan looking uneven and it too may come off on your clothes, car seats and furniture.
Facial - Best to try book your facial after a massage. You may and probably will be lying face down for some part of the massage and it may result disturbing the results of the facial. It is however not always possible to arrange this order so just let the massage therapist know so that they can refrain from further facial massage.
Note that some facial products contain essential oils that can cause your skin to react with sunlight and result in burning so wear a hat and be cautious on particularly bright days even when sitting in the shade.
Food - Do not consume food or heavy meals at least 1-2 hrs before a massage.
Alcohol - Refrain from consuming alcohol if the therapist smells it on your breath they may turn you away, it is a contraindication to massage a person who has consumed alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the body systems. It is also unpleasant to smell alcohol on the clients breath.
Drugs - It is contraindicated to massage a person who is using recreational drugs. Let the therapist know about any pain killers medication or herbal remedies you may be in the course of. Homeopathy can be affected by peppermint oil and possibly by other essential oils.
Let your therapist know if you are using prescription drugs. Pain killers will affect your ability respond excessive pressure in a massage. If you have a headache and are hoping the massage will help it is best to avoid masking the pain from the headache with painkillers. Let the massage therapist try to alleviate the discomfort naturally with massage before taking a painkiller.
Hygiene - Have a shower before your massage booking. Try to refrain from washing your hair before the massage as you may get oil in the hair during the massage. If you are coming from the beach take a shower to wash off the sand and salt from the ocean. Sea salt can react with the oils to produce a not so pleasant sensation.
Clothing - Loose fitting underwear are best and they may pick up some residual oil so maybe not your favourite most expensive undies. The therapist is trained to drape and protect clothing from damage. Best of all wear no clothing in a massage it offers a far better massage experience, however, you must feel absolutely comfortable with this, expect the therapist to protect you throughout the massage and at any time if you feel overly exposed let the therapist know.
Jewellery - Bring along a container to put rings necklaces and other jewellery and watches in. Most clinics have treasure chest full of neglected belongings. Your jewellery is your responsibility, the therapist and clinic will endeavour to protect it and locate it if lost or mislaid. Clinics are vacuumed every day so what isn't seen may end up lost. Most lost jewellery ends up tangled in clothing and dropped on route to wherever or lost in the depths of a hand bag.
Water - Drink plenty of water, the common term used is copious. This will help flush toxins released during the massage.
Eat - Light healthy food, try to avoid a large sit down meal. Avoid alcohol and smoking areas.
Exercise - An easy going walk, light swim are great. Gentle yoga.
Try not to over exert yourself.
Rest - Run a warm bath try adding some epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils say lavender for example. Afterwards dry and wrap up so as not to get a chill. Try sitting on an easy chair or a couch with your lower back and head supported with a pillow.
Discomfort - If you have had a deep tissue or remedial massage it is possible that you can feel the effect of bruising as aches in the muscles. If larger amount of toxins have been released you may experience a nausea. These discomforts should subside within a day or two leaving a feel of improved wellness.