Massage Etiquette or What can You Expect?
Everyone tells you you'll love it. It will be good for you, and you're curious to see if massage really can help those aches and pains you wake up with every morning. So, you've grappled with the image of being dis-robed in front of a virtual stranger, you've steeled yourself and you made an appointment for your first massage!
Congratulations! Massage IS good for you, and should leave you feeling nurtured and relaxed in body, mind and soul.
What can you expect from a massage therapist?
The AMTA Code of Ethics states that massage therapists shall:
1. Demonstrate commitment to provide the highest quality massage therapy/bodywork to those who seek their professional service.
2. Acknowledge the inherent worth and individuality of each person by not discriminating or behaving in any prejudicial manner with clients and/or colleagues.
3. Demonstrate professional excellence through regular self-assessment of strengths, limitations, and effectiveness by continued education and training.
4. Acknowledge the confidential nature of the professional relationship with clients and respect each client's right to privacy.
5. Conduct all business and professional activities within their scope of practice, the law of the land, and project a professional image.
6. Refrain from engaging in any sexual conduct or sexual activities involving their clients.
7. Accept responsibility to do no harm to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of self, clients, and associates.
Any therapist should post their massage license, business license and professional association. Whether they are affiliated with the American Massage Therapy Association, the Associated Bodywork Massage Professionals or another organization, they should be proud of their association and post their affiliation. In most of San Diego County (but not all) therapists must be Nationally Certified. There are two national certifications: NCTM and NCTMB. The first is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage; the second is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, which indicates some proficiency in Asian bodywork modalities. Your therapist should also post his/her National Certification.
You have the right to be treated in a clean environment. Your therapist should be willing to give you a tour of their premises (assuming you go to their establishment). Your therapist should sterilize his/her hands before touching you, and keep those hands uncontaminated throughout your massage. I can't tell you how many clinics/day spas/spas I've been in that were really substandard in cleanliness. Have you ever wondered why they always keep the lights so low?
You have the right to know what products are being used on you. Are you aware of the toxicity of many preservatives used in massage and personal products? When I started researching that, it scared me and I'm practically fearless! At Luminesce, only organic oils and lotions are used with NO chemical additives or preservatives. We use only eco-friendly cleaning products; nothing to increase the toxicity of your immediate environment or the planet we share.
Your therapist should be willing and able to answer any questions you may have.
You've heard "No pain, no gain". That theory is really outdated! With massage, pain is never necessary. In certain modalities, like deep tissue, therapeutic and injury massage, some discomfort may be required to shorten your recovery time - but not pain. If a therapist ever goes beyond discomfort, express yourself!
You have the right to always be in your comfort zone. If at any time, for any reason, your comfort zone is threatened, tell your therapist. We are here to help you, to help improve your health and enhance your life. Don't be afraid to speak up if any thing does not feel right to you.
Keep in mind, that it takes time to develop muscular dysfunction. While one massage will leave you feeling better, in order to correct the underlying issue, a series of massage sessions may be necessary. Your therapist may also recommend other complementary medical care, such as chiropractic Often, just relaxing the muscles will allow any misalignment in your bony structure to correct itself; sometimes, you need a nudge or two.
Gratuities. As with any service oriented business, tipping should be based on your satisfaction of the performance of your massage therapist and your appreciation of those services. The largest gratuity I ever received was $150.00 on a $75.00 service. The client was REALLY pleased.
The effects of massage are cumulative. Regular massage is a really enjoyable way of conquering your stress, easing muscle strains and improving your health, and should be a part of your maintenance program.