What to Expect From Your First Massage
If you’ve never had a massage before you may be missing out on some much needed R&R. If you’ve never had one before, the idea of baring all to a complete stranger can potentially be a source of anxiety. Never fear, if you’ve always wanted to get a massage but you’re not sure what to expect, keep reading! We’re sharing everything you can expect from your first massage below.
First things first, there are many (MANY) types of massage. From the basic Swedish massage to a more intense deep tissue, your first action item is to pick the type of massage that will best benefit you. We’d recommend a Swedish for a beginner, as this is the most basic type of massage and the most traditional—you can opt to add on aromatherapy or hot stones if you’d like!
Swedish massage utilizes oils on the skin’s surface and encompasses a few basic techniques including long and short stroking, kneading, chopping, and rubbing. This classical massage is ideal to help work out knots and kinks from head to toe. The goal of this massage technique is relaxation so it’s easy to see why this service is often the most popular at spas.
Arrive to your appointment at least 15 minutes prior to the start time—more if the spa has amenities like a steam room which should be used prior to starting your service. Many larger spas will have locker rooms where you can undress and change into a robe and a pair of sandals. Note: there are private areas and bathrooms if you are more modest and you can also opt to leave your undergarments on or change into a bathing suit. At the time of booking, be sure to let the receptionist know if you prefer a male or female massage therapist.
When it’s time for your massage your therapist will call your name and lead you to your private room. There they will ask you if you have any areas of concern where you’d like them to focus attention and you may even be able to select the scent of your massage oil. While you can keep your underwear on during the massage you will have to remove your bra or bathing suit top in order for the massage therapist to have adequate space for some of the longer strokes—if you are more comfortable keeping it on, just let them know and they will adjust their techniques! Remember, the massage is for your benefit so you should be as comfortable as possible. Also note, you’ll always be covered for modesty, the sheet is simply moved and strategically tucked in to expose the area being massaged: the back, the legs and feet, and the arms.
Most Swedish massage begins with you lying face down on the table, with your head placed in the center of a cushioned hole. The room will often feature dimmed lights and soft music to help ease any nerves you may have and set the mood for relaxation. Your therapist will leave the room during this time to allow you to get in a comfortable and covered position. When it's time to turn over, your massage therapist will lift the sheet for privacy and you can let them know when you’re on your back. During your massage your therapist will likely ask you if the pressure is okay. If they don’t or at any point during the massage your answer changes, don’t be afraid to speak up! Their goal is to make the massage customized to your liking so they will appreciate the input.
Once your massage is over, your therapist will leave the room to allow you to get your robe and slippers back on. When you’re ready you can leave the room and your therapist will likely be waiting in the hallway with a glass of water for you—drink lots of water after a massage since it can be dehydrating. They will lead you back to the spa’s relaxation area where you can opt to sit and chill for a bit and enjoy the spa’s atmosphere or you can change back into your clothes to head home. Note: It is customary to tip 20 percent as gratuity for your massage therapist and you can do this when you settle the bill with reception.
Curious how often you should get a massage to reap the benefits? We share the answer here!