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How To Talk To Your Massage Therapist

As a professional in the alternative health field, I can tell you the importance of communication with my clients. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than in the massage studio. If you have had massage, you know there is a difference between a massage and a sensational massage. If you haven’t had massage therapy, what are you waiting for?

I once had a massage client tell me she didn’t want to hurt my feelings by asking for something specific. I feel great when I give a spectacular massage and I can do that better if you tell what you are enjoying and if there is anything that you don’t love. “I’m not wild about having my ears massaged,” gives me a few extra moments to rub your head or squeeze a little more tension out of your shoulders.

Before the massage, tell your therapist if there is any area of your body where you would like special attention. And, if there is any part of your body you don’t want worked on – say your feet are ticklish or you don’t want oil in your hair – let your therapist know at the beginning.

During the session, feel free to zone out. You are there to relax and receive. If you don’t want to talk, you absolutely don’t have to. However, I find that a little feedback during the first massage goes a long way. Be specific: “Could you work a little deeper in that area?” “Could you lighten the pressure there please?” “That pressure is perfect for me.” If a particular stroke is fabulous, say so! If you get cold, ask for a blanket. If you get too warm, ask to have your feet and shoulders uncovered. If you find the music jarring, ask if it can be changed.

Sometimes while a therapist is working in one area (for example your shoulder) you may feel it in another part of your body (maybe your hand or ear). Following the sensation around the body can be an effective tool for tracking down and releasing hidden tension, so tell her what you are feeling.

Finally, a note on tipping: If you visit a salon or spa, it is customary to tip the therapist. He is being paid a portion of what you paid for your massage. $10 is a nice tip; $20 said you really loved the work. If your therapist has her own practice, tips are appreciated but not expected in the same way. The best compliment you can pay a massage therapist is to refer your friends and family to her!

The Ojai Valley is overflowing with massage therapists – get out there and practice the communication skills you’ve just learned! To find a therapist, visit Ojai Healers.