Sunday, July 28, 2013

More Massage Therapy FAQs- Lotion and Talking

Very recently, I've had some new questions asked by the-person-on-the-table-who-shall-always-remain-nameless.  I really enjoy it when clients ask direct questions about their treatment, and relish the opportunity to demystify any aspect of massage therapy.  Of course, my answers are from my perspective and experience, but I hope they are helpful.

Also, you do not have to be a client to have your Q answered here.  Feel free to email me at with anything you'd like to say - massage therapy, or otherwise.  Your idea may appear here anonymously (or with full credit, if you prefer!)

Q:  What type of lotion do you use for my treatment?  What's in it?

A:  Some people think in terms of actual ingredients (and rightfully so). I've heard the statement "don't put anything on your skin that you would not eat".  It's a great concept, as skin is a breathable organ, but perhaps a bit of an overstatement.  For example.  Would you drink the pool or lake water you swim in?  Do you use Neosporin on your morning toast?
It makes sense to minimize the number of ingredients in the lotion we use, but most of what is on the mainstream market is generally considered very safe.  I have gone almost exclusively with professional products like Biotone and Lotus touch, which are widely used in the industry.

My largest concern when choosing a product is whether it is fragrance and petroleum free and the correct viscosity for the particular type of massage.  Thinner lotions are more conducive to Swedish-style work, while thicker lotions tend to absorb more slowly and are better for deep tissue.  Those of you that have been on my table know I use a minimal amount of lotion for most treatments.  Lifting the tissue and sports work calls for little or no emollient.
Also, I personally do not like the feel of oil, no matter how fine, on my skin.  This is one exception to the "don't put your preferences on your client" rule.  If I am creeped out by the feel, how can I be effective?
I do use a tiny drop of aromatherapy oil here and there, mixed into the other product, however.
Finally, I always invite you to bring your own product(s) if you have sensitive skin or a strong preference. 
I will roll with it!

Q:  Does it bother you (the therapist), when I talk during my massage? 

A:  It probably does not come as a surprise that I LOVE to talk, and I am NEVER bored by the chats I have with clients.  I also recognize that talking can be part of the relaxation process - it was for me when I first started receiving massage.  It's a safe place to hash out your day, discuss your recent vacation,  upcoming event or even an annoying store clerk.  I really do consider it an honor to provide an atmosphere of privacy that allows this to flow.

Now. Here is the other side of that coin.  There are times when (usually a first-time client) feels the need to "entertain" me while I work.  This is very common, and I pride myself on putting people at ease.  So, usually by the second or third treatment the topics change, and they are able to relax more quickly. 
Also, when receiving work to the front of the neck, face, or scalp, it is HIGHLY recommended that the client not only be silent, but also meditate on letting go of each area touched.  Even 10 minutes of this will be day-altering! 

Lastly, it is absolutely more than fine to say at the beginning of treatment that you really desire quiet.  I am usually pretty in tune to when to stop engaging a client in talk - you know, the moment when your brain goes numb and begin to trail off.  But, you will not hurt my feelings by requesting an hour of complete silence at the outset.  I even keep music to a very background level so that it can be tuned out completely when your brain is relaxing. 

Bottom line:  It is YOUR time.  One of my favorite aspects of my job is leaving myself at the door and being present for another person.  Do what feels right to you in regards to communicating.  Sometimes you may know what you need on a given day, other times you can let it  happen organically.  Just be sure to make it about what YOU need in the moment.  Massage should be a different experience each time you receive.

We fight gravity all day every day, massage is your opportunity to let it win for an hour.  Have fun with it!




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