Is there anything I should do to prepare for the massage ahead of time?
Aside from bathing in patchouli, walking in grass while in bare feet, wearing a tie dye shirt and bead, just show up on time! Ok, Ok, you don’t have to do any of those things, unless you want to. But we do strongly advise that 4-8 hours before your massage that you increase your water intake. That way you hydration levels are good in your body before-hand, and when your toxins start to flush into your system that the extra water you drank will help move them through more easily. Then make sure you continue to increase your water intake for 12-24 hours after your massage to assist your body doing it’s self-cleaning work.
I haven’t had a massage before, what should I expect?
Our massage therapist will spend time with you before your session starts asking you questions about your body, reviewing any past or present injuries, asking about your preferences for pressure and partner with you in deciding how to create your customized session to address your unique needs. The therapist will step out while you undress and lie on the table underneath the sheets. Respecting your privacy is important to us. Your body will be draped with the sheet for warmth and modesty. Only the section of the body being worked on at that time will be undraped. Your ‘job’ during the massage is to breathe deeply, soften your thoughts, let your body unwind and try not to engage any muscles to help as we lift your arm or leg to move the sheets around you, communicate if you need more or less pressure or have a question, and allow yourself to just melt into the table. When the massage is finished, your therapist will let you know and leave the room so you can redress. Please remember that drinking lots water 12-24 hours after your session will help your body flush the toxins out of your body that massage stirred up. This will help you feel more comfortable and less achy afterwards.
Do I have to take my underwear off?
No! You choose whether you want them on or off, it doesn’t make a big difference. We uphold strict sheet draping procedures to assure that you feel your privacy and comfort is respected. But either way, it will be important for the therapist to work on your glute muscles to release tension and imbalance there that directly impacts the low back and hips. If you feel strongly about not having your glute muscles worked on at all, we will respect that, but want you to understand the potential impact of skipping this important section of the body.
Does massage have to hurt to be effective?
No! On a scale of 1-10 , 10 being the most intense, it is best that we work at a level 7-8 for YOU. Not our scale, not your mom’s scale, not Superman’s scale, YOUR scale! If you are flinching, gritting your teeth, or clenching your muscles the pressure is too deep, potentially damaging and simply not enjoyable. But it is up to you to communicate with your therapist so we can determine together what level is appropriate for you for your comfort and health.
Massage Therapists always say to drinks tons of water after a massage. What’s the big deal?
Any form of massage and even the energy modalities like reiki and cranialsacral are designed to release stress from the body, and in that process, toxins and metabolic waste that is slowed or stagnate is flushed to the surface. Sometimes clients will experience a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, mild headache, slight nausea, and/or muscular achiness. These symptoms are like your body’s allergic reaction to it’s own toxic waste. Massage and bodywork take your body slightly out of balance so your body will work to restore and rebalance itself to it’s own natural harmony. The more water you drink after your session the faster these toxins will flush out of your system and the better you will feel.
I’ve noticed at some massage places that they advertise that you are getting a 60 minute massage, but the session is really only 50 minutes because your meeting with the therapist includes 10 minutes of talking. Is that typical?
We’ve noticed that too and find it puzzling for several reasons:
1. If you pay for an advertised 60 minutes you should receive 60 minutes of hands-on massage or bodywork time! Zen Medicinals believes in excellent, fair, respectful care for our clients. The time necessary to determine what session will be best for your needs and wants will come out of our ‘pocket’, not yours.
2. Massaging the entire body effectively at a pace that feels soothing and comfortable for the client in 60 minutes is tight enough as it is, shortening that time to 50 minutes is a rush, and not in a good way. We prefer to slow down to a more relaxed pace and give you the quality session you deserve.
How will I feel after a massage or bodywork session?
When you first start to move from the massage table to standing you may feel slightly light-headed or dizzy. We call it “The Massage Hangover”, but with better overall effects. Keep in mind that during that session your blood pressure probably lowered, your circulation increased, your toxins were flushed to the surface and your nervous system settled back down. Your muscles will feel smoother and longer. You might even feel Taller. As mentioned in the FAQ about water, you may have a slight headache, scratchy throat, stuffy nose or light nausea. This is a normal reaction to your own body’s toxins. Drinks LOTS of water over the next 12-24 hours to help your body come back into balance and move any muscle achiness through your body faster. Your skin, muscles, bones, organs and glands will need that extra water to continue flushing from the inside as well. Depending on the depth and pressure you chose for your session you may feel some achiness in the areas that you naturally tend to hold more stress and tension in as they release for one to two days. Again, the more water you drink, the faster that achy feeling lightens.
How often should I receive a massage or bodywork session?
Personally we would love to have one ourselves every night before bed, but on a real world level, that’s probably not realistic. The frequency of massage and length of session are mostly determined by your schedule and budget, we get it, we live in the real world too! That is precisely why we created our unique Membership program. Depending on the kind of work you do, the level of pain, stressload, or physical challenges you’ve had in the past or are currently experiencing and the personal goals you have for your health and wellness, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions may be right for you. We believe for optimum health and to combat all that life throws at us, that monthly sessions at least are a good baseline and well, lifeline too!
When shouldn’t I get a massage? When is it ill-advised?
If you have an issue at the Skin layer of the body such as open wounds, infectious or contagious rashes, or bacterial or viral infections, massage would not be a good idea and could injure or spread the issue. Depending on the skin issue, avoiding the area during massage may be an option or substituting reiki or cranialsacral modalities in the place of massage.
If you have a nerve issue, such as pinching, radiating pain, tingling, neuropathy, or fibromyalgia, massage should relieve what you’re experiencing to some degree as it soothes the nervous system, reduces pain and releases stress in the system. Reiki or cranialsacral and other energetic healing modalities are advised.
If the issue is in the muscle layer, such as a strain, tear or muscle rupture, it’s the timing that matters most. If you’ve had such an injury, ice immediately and often, drink extra water and rest. 24-48 hours after a muscle strain or tear, massage should be helpful to ease inflammation and pain. If you have ruptured a muscle, waiting 48-72 hours for any bleeding in the muscle to stop before seeking massage work is advisable, especially with your doctor’s ok. Reiki and cranialsacral and other forms of energy healing are acceptable as well.
If you are experiencing joint pain and inflammation due to arthritis, new or old injury, again timing is everything. Let’s say you are a level 10 on the 1 to 10 pain scale and the joint is very swollen and hurting, it would be better to ice and use a natural or over the counter anti-inflammatory to help the body reduce some of the swelling and pain on it’s own first. Massage at this time of flare up could cause further swelling. After your number on the pain scale has dropped back and some of the swelling has lessened then massage at this point can help your body flush out more of the inflammation and reduce more of the pain. Reiki, cranialsacral and other energy healing modalities are fine.
If you have experienced an issue at the bone level, such as a fracture or break, the severity and timing are key here as well. Massage after a bone fracture should be fine, although working directly on the area may be avoided if very recent. Massage after a bone break depends on the severity of the break and how recent. Typically waiting until 36-72 hours after a severe break to let the body do some of it’s own work naturally is advised. Massage after that will help ease swelling and pain but direct pressure on the break will be avoided. With a compound fracture or break, more time for the body to heal on its own and your doctor’s advice would be recommended. Reiki, cranialsacral or any of the energetic healing modalities would be suitable as well.
If you experience immune system challenges, the key here is timing and pressure. If you come in on a day that you are feeling your worst, extremely taxed, exhausted and ask for a deep tissue massage, you could feel uncomfortable afterwards. The flow of toxins and metabolic waste coming to the surface and sped through to release could be too much with the load your body is already carrying and leave you too vulnerable to illness. It would be better to wait until you are feeling a little stronger and ask for a light to medium pressure massage. But Reiki, cranialsacral or other gentle energetic healing modalities would be helpful, even on your worst day.
If you have a fever or feel a nasty cold coming on, please stay at home and rest! Not only can you spread it to our therapists and other clients coming through our office, but receiving massage or energy work during this time will double the load your body and white blood cells are doing in trying to combat the illness at hand. If we then add the load of your body battling increased toxins on top of the oncoming illness you could get quite sick. Better to see us after your fever is down and you’ve had the illness a couple of days, then massage or energy work should help your body heal faster.
Do only male massage therapists give the deepest tissue massage?
Actually the depth and pressure in the massage is determined by the therapist’s ability to use their own bodyweight, leverage and body mechanics in the most effective way. Their gender just doesn’t matter. We’ve seen really big, strong guys who only do light swedish massage and very tiny women deliver enough pressure to make Hulk Hogan say “Uncle”.
How many sessions will it take to ‘fix’ my body? Just one?
Although we would Love to make the claim that we can ‘fix’ everyone who walks in our door from any ailment or issue, we simply can’t claim that kind of power. Our bodies are very multi-layered, multi-dimensional & well, complicated. Systems, symptoms and remedies overlap, have different impacts on different people at different rates of speed. Our mental and emotional systems impact our physical being as well. So whatever needs ‘fixing’ probably accumulated over time from several triggers. As the body begins to heal and improve it will most likely move through that process in layers as well. Be patient with yourself, the process and with us as well, as we partner with you in bettering your quality of life.
I have heard about people being touched inappropriately at other massage places and feel concerned about that. How can you address this concern so I feel more comfortable?
We find this deeply disturbing and upsetting as well! We will not tolerate any verbal or physical behaviors that would make our clients feel uncomfortable or unsafe, period! The Zen Medicinals strives to uphold the highest standards of cleanliness, safety, respect and customer service. We treat your body, your health and your privacy with honor and the utmost respect. Wherever you go for massage, anywhere in this world, if you are feeling uncomfortable and feel the therapist is being inappropriate stop the session immediately, tell the therapist to leave the room, notify the management as soon as possible and have them refund your money. No one should be treated this way, ever!
What if I just don’t feel comfortable during my massage session, what should I do/say?
There are a variety of things that we want or need in our environment to be comfortable at any time, in any place. The massage table and treatment room is no different. We strive to assure that we have your comfort and safety in mind at all times. As awesome as we are though, we aren’t mind readers. We will ask you and check in, but if you don’t speak up and voice your needs, we can’t read your mind. We invite you to please let us know how to make you more comfortable. Room temperature, music volume, aromatherapy, pressure preferences, depth adjustments, skipping a very ticklish or sensitive area, or teaching you some breathwork, are some of the changes we can make along the way. Sometimes old trauma, anxiety or PTSD type responses come up when we feel vulnerable. We are very well-trained in helping with those kind of emotional responses and are dedicated in helping you through it. But, if we have made some adjustments and you just aren’t comfortable for whatever reason, just tell us that you would like to stop the session and we will. You call the shots!