5 tips for getting the most from your massage

Here are some ideas for getting the most bang for your buck when getting a massage.

1. Arrive on time. I’m assuming you scheduled your massage for a time that’s convenient for you in the first place. Give yourself some wiggle room to account for traffic or finding parking. If the place you’re going to offers amenities like a whirlpool, sauna, or steam room, leave time to take advantage of these before and/or after your massage. Heating your body up in a whirlpool is an excellent way to prepare for a massage. The heat gets the process going to relax the muscle tissue and makes the massage that much more effective!

2. Get comfortable giving feedback. For some strange reason some people don’t feel welcome to give a therapist feedback during the session. I go out of my way to let my clients know that their feedback is welcome. I’d rather have a client speak up about wanting pressure lighter or deeper than wait until the end of the massage and feel dissatisfied. Sometimes clients feel that massage therapists can somehow read their minds or that they know better than the client how much pressure is appropriate. Mind-reading is generally not covered in massage school, so please get comfortable giving feedback. You’ll be getting more from your massage and your therapist will be better able to serve you.

3. Put your mind on screen saver. Allow your mind some fallow time. The time goes quickly enough, so embrace your massage time as a time to put your problems on hold and concentrate on your body or nothing at all. I believe my clients who are able to zone out mentally get more from their massage time. Here’s a trick – when you walk into the massage room think of that as step 1 to setting aside the thoughts that might be racing through your head; when you lay down on the table that’s step 2 of putting any anxieties on hold; when the therapist starts the massage, that’s step 3 and you have now entered a special time that can be protected from interfering thoughts. You’ve made this appointment for a reason and it’s most likely not a brainstorming session for all life’s problems.

4. Practice acceptance. Receiving massage brings our attention to our bodies. Not everyone is at peace with their body. Similar to allowing your mind some fallow time, allow your emotions and any negative self-talk to take a vacation. Negative attitudes towards your body will clutter your experience and detract from it. Your massage session can be a great step toward getting on the same team with your body.

5. Clear up questions before the session starts or when they arise. If you’re new to massage, ask your therapist to describe what the session will be like so that you can know in advance and not fret. Ask any question you have so that you’re comfortable. Perhaps you’re not sure if you should take your clothes off or if you can choose to leave them on. Just ask. Things like this are really up to you anyway. And, remember, if anything ever doesn’t feel right in the middle of a massage session you are completely free to stop the session, ask a question to clarify what’s going on and choose to continue or not.

I hope every massage you get is a great one! Let me know if you resonate with any of these tips or have a good one to share in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Lomi Lomi massage

At the end of my massage school training, I came across Lomi Lomi massage. It’s a lovely Hawaiian style of massage with a long beautiful history. The massage school I attended leaned more towards the anatomical end of the spectrum (if you can imagine the energetic/chakra flavor being on the other end of the spectrum). It seemed to me that most of my instructors were wanna-be physical therapists. And the end of school involved testing, testing and more testing. So, in this very cerebral state of mind, I was swept off my feet when introduced to Lomi Lomi.

Distinctives about Lomi Lomi

very soulful: this is a massage woven through with prayer. The therapist offers up prayers on behalf of the client as she works. For me, this is silent prayer. I ask at the beginning of the session if there is anything I can be mindful of or pray about for the client as I work. Clients are welcome to tell me something or not. If the client is not comfortable sharing something like this with me, that’s no problem and my prayers are more general, for health, strength, and balance.

long, flowing strokes: Lomi Lomi uses oil to help the therapist’s hands glide over the skin as she works. There are long, flowing strokes that endeavor to recreate the feeling of the waves washing over the shore, ebbing and flowing. There are also some lovely strokes that connect different parts of the body. Swedish and deep tissue massage often treat the body in segments. First we work on the back, then cover up the back and work on one leg, etc. Lomi Lomi has some strokes that start at the feet, run up the leg, over the seat, onto the back and stretch the arm over the head. While this involves uncovering more of the body at one time than other styles of massage, the client is still covered by the sheet appropriately at all times. It’s really a beautiful aspect of the massage that highlights our body’s connectedness.

telling the body’s story: the style of Lomi Lomi that I learned encourages us to hear the story the body is telling. Each person has lived a unique life. Each body carries a unique story. The therapist listens to the story of the person on the table, paying particular attention to places on the body that symbolize certain things like the past and future, the mother and father, and the childhood experiences. There are certain stretches that symbolize different things like unlocking creativity and nurture & claiming strength and protection. I don’t describe all this aloud during sessions unless the client is curious or feels she will benefit from it. One thing’s for sure, my attention is centered on the individual and his or her well-being.

time to pause: space and time just to be present. Our modern world is go, go, go, and keep going more. In Lomi Lomi we intentionally pause between strokes and segments just to be, to witness what is going on in our bodies. We allow time to integrate.

Sound good? Request a Lomi Lomi session in advance when scheduling.