What to Expect

If this is your first massage therapy appointment, it's normal to be a little nervous. If you are uncomfortable with having a male or female therapist or if you prefer a specific therapist, you may make a request prior to scheduling the massage. You may be referred to a therapist outside of Angel's Hand to best accommodate your needs.

Because each session is customized to meet the specific needs of each client, please feel free to ask me to explain anything about what to expect for your massage. In general, the massage session will follow the guidelines below.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is the manipulation of muscle and connective tissue. A therapist will use his or her hands to knead and massage muscles to improve health, facilitate healing, and promote relaxation.

Take a look at the benefits of massage therapy for a detailed list of how massage can help you.

Getting Ready for the Massage

Before you arrive
Right before your appointment, you should shower and pick out comfortable clothes to wear. Shaving is fine but not necessary. Avoid colognes or perfumes. Try to make sure you have some time to spare before and after your appointment so that you won't be rushed. I will contact you at some point before your massage to confirm your appointment. Once you arrive, I will greet you at the door and lead you to the massage room.

Health history form
A health history form is required before you can receive a massage. If you have not filled one out before, I will ask you to fill one out before the massage starts. This is a broad questionnaire to help me better understand anything medically relevant to the massage. I will discuss any questions I may have, and I will use this information to give you the best massage I can. If you create an account, you will be able to fill out your health history online.

Personal goals
I will ask about your personal goals for each session. Your goal might be relaxation, relief from a headache, relief from sore or painful muscles, reduced lower back or hip pains, less abdominal cramping, improved range of movement, or any number of other things. I will be able to adjust my routine to spend more time working on achieving your goals. It is important to note that it may take more than one session to achieve your goals, and some client conditions can mean that the relief is only temporary. I am more than willing to discuss any concerns or alternate ways to achieve your goals.

Distractions
I will try to keep distractions to a minimum, but they do happen sometimes. Unless you arrange otherwise, you should turn off cellphones or other electronics to help minimize noise.

Undressing
The most important part of a massage is that you are comfortable. In order to use massage oil on your skin, I will ask you to remove your clothing while I step out of the room. Please also remove any jewelry or accessories. It is fine if you prefer to keep your underwear on or wear a bathing suit; I will still be able to give you a massage, but I will either avoid the covered areas or I won't use any oil on the covered areas as it might damage the fabric. Many clients (often those who are comfortable with the massage experience) prefer being nude during the massage. Being nude is ideal as you will always be modestly draped, and this will allow me to work unhindered. This is especially the case for treating hip pain and low back pain as these areas are often connected. However, your comfort is my top priority, and I will work around any clothing you choose to keep on, so you should never feel obligated to undress more than you are comfortable with. As you become more comfortable getting massages, you are free to experiment to feel the difference it can make for both you and your therapist. I will be happy to make any accommodations or discuss any questions you may have.

Draping
I typically have a sheet and a blanket waiting for you on the massage table. These are what I will use to drape you for modesty and comfort during the massage. If you have any draping preferrences, I can easily arrange alternative draping. Some clients get very warm and prefer just a sheet without a blanket or even towels. I am happy to oblige to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Last steps
I will leave the room to wash my hands in preparation for your massage. This will give you plenty of time and privacy to undress, get comfortable on the massage table, and cover yourself with the draping. I will knock before I enter the room, and I will lower the lights and play some relaxing music before the massage begins.

During the Massage

Bolsters
I will place bolsters or pillows to support and position you on the table. Typically, this is limited to placing a support under your ankles and behind your knees. These bolsters might be moved throughout the massage to provide better support.

Touch
The massage will begin when I place my hands on your shoulders. Touch is essential to a good massage, and I will adjust my touch, pressure, technique, and speed to best match what your body needs. I will frequently switch between using my palms, fingers, thumbs, and other parts of my hands for the best effect.

Undraping
I will carefully remove the covering from one section of your body (usually starting with your upper back). I will only uncover the section of your body that I will be working on, and the rest of your body will remain draped to maintain your modesty and comfort.

Massage Oil
I will apply oil to your skin using my hands. I use sensitive skin oil that promotes skin health. This oil will facilitate massage strokes other massage techniques. At your request, I can use massage lotions or creams instead of oil, but this will need to be established in advance to allow me time to prepare. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring any preferred massage oils, lotions, or creams that you would like me to use on you.

Massage Techniques
I will utilize several massage techniques to warm your muscles and increase circulation (see massage benefits). I may spend extra time or use different techniques on an area if needed or if you ask me to. I will try to use techniques that maximize progress towards achieving your massage goals while causing you the least pain and discomfort possible. I have so many techniques that I will not have time to use them all in one session. Feel free to ask me to show you new techniques if you are interested.

Pressure
I will always start massaging an area with lighter pressure. As the muscles warm up and become less rigid, I am able to apply more pressure without causing pain. This allows me to work deeper and deeper through layers of muscles. Throughout the massage, I will ask you if the pressure is good, and you can direct me to use more or less pressure at any time.

Massage Progression
Once I have concluded working on a specific area of your body, I will replace the draping and move to another area of your body. A typical full-body massage will include working on your back, backs of legs, glutes/hips (as clothing allows), neck, arms, fronts of legs, and feet in that order. I will alter this routine as needed to meet your massage goals, and you may even request that I avoid areas or spend more time on certain areas that need extra attention.

Halfway Point
Halfway through the massage, I will remove the bolster and ask you to reposition yourself by turning over. I will hold the draping in place for modesty while you turn over. This will allow me to work on both the front and back of your body.

After the Massage

Getting Dressed
When the massage is concluded, I will leave the room to give you time and privacy to redress yourself. A massage often lowers your blood pressure, so it is important that you take your time getting up and moving around to avoid feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Drinking extra water will help your body adjust more quickly.

Debrief
When I return after you are dressed, you will be given a bottle of water, and I will address any concerns you may have noted during the massage. At this point, we might discuss how your feel and work out a plan for your continued health including drinking extra water. I often recommend stretching to help maintain flexibility.

Payment
You will be able to pay for your massage using cash, check, or credit card (remember that students get a discount). It is customary to tip your therapist, but it is not required. Please know what to expect by looking at our pricing and discounts prior to scheduling your massage.

What are the Boundaries?

You have Rights
If you feel uncomfortable at any time during the massage, you have to right to ask me to adjust my pressure, technique, music, or pace. You also have the right to end a session at any time without providing a reason, although you may still be responsible for any payment due. See our policies for more information.

The Therapist has Rights
I will work with you as best I can, but there are situations where I may have to end the session early or even cancel it before it begins. By law, I do not need to defend my reason for terminating a session. Some reasons for terminating a session are listed in our policies. Terminating a session does not occur often, and most likely it will only occur if I discover a health concern where it might be harmful in some way to perform the massage.

Transference
Because touch is such an intimate thing, massage can sometimes cause a client to experience feelings of friendship, affection, or attraction towards their therapist. These feelings are sometimes unavoidable, but it is important that you be able to recognize them and avoid acting on them. It would be inappropriate to use the relationship between client and therapist for anything other than professional services.

Scope of Practice
I have been trained to provide massage therapy. This includes stretching and many different techniques and modalities, but there are limits to what I can legally do. I cannot replace other professional treatment such as by a doctor, nor can I diagnose an ailment or condition. If you have a concern about a condition you have, I will refer you to an expert. If you ask for a treatment that I am not capable of performing, I will do my best to recommend you to a practitioner who is qualified.

Appropriateness
There is still a great deal of debate over what is or isn't appropriate during a massage therapy session. As such, many things are left to be decided by both the client and therapist. Because this can be very vague, I promote an open line of communication. I will assess your comfortable levels and adjust my techniques accordingly, and you can feel free to ask me if something is appropriate. It is inappropriate to ask me to perform anything sexual in nature under any circumstance. I also have the right to ask you to stop doing anything I feel is inappropriate. Likewise, I will immediately stop anything I am doing if you inform me that you are uncomfortable with it. I will never be offended if you speak up about something you would like me to change about the massage (choice of music, pressure, technique, massaging a specific area, topic of conversation, draping, etc.). For the best results, both the client and the therapist should be comfortable with every aspect of the massage. When in doubt, just ask.

Questions

During your appointment, you may ask your therapist any questions you may have. You may also contact us with any questions.