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Frequently asked questions :

  1. What is (Swedish) Massage?
  2. What are the "benefits" of massage?
  3. Are there reasons massage might not be recommended?
  4. Do I have to completely undress?
  5. What does massage do - other than feel good?
  6. What should I expect from my first massage?
  7. What credentials should I look for when seeking a massage therapist?
  8. Can I bring someone with me to my massage session?
  9. Is "tipping" the therapist expected?
  10. What if I become aroused during a massage?

1. What is (Swedish) Massage?

     Swedish massage is the manual manipulation of the soft tissue by gliding, kneading, pressing, pumping, rubbing and tapping strokes. The client is draped by a sheet or towel on a very comfortable and padded table. Table massage promotes relaxation, relief from stress and a feeling of peace, well-being, feeling more "grounded", centered and balanced (restoration of homeostasis). Massage is invigorating and re-energizing and also soothing and relaxing. There are many "benefits" of massage.
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2. What are the "benefits" of massage?

     Massage relieves mental and physical fatigue and reduces stress, tension, and anxiety. Massage increases blood oxygenation and circulation by dilating the blood vessels. It increases metabolism and calms the nervous system. It speeds up natural healing and recuperating powers of the body. Soreness and stiffness in the joints and muscles is reduced. Massage relaxes muscle spasm (generally caused by accumulation of lactic acid and metabolic waste which needs to be flushed from the system) and relieves tension in the muscles. Harmful deposits are eliminated and the joints are nourished. Muscle tone is improved. Massage prevents and delays muscular atrophy resulting from inactivity and also assists muscle definition. Through increased blood circulation and warming of superficial layers of the skin, massage improves the skin tone, giving it a healthy glow. Massage improves posture and boosts confidence and self-esteem. There are many benefits of massage. Ask your massage therapist or write to: cmt@poetheart.com Feel free to ask any specific questions you may have on the benefits of massage.
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3. Are there reasons that massage might not be recommended?

     Yes. There are several conditions and situations when massage may not be recommended. Contraindications may be temporary or permanent and may require physician recommendation or approval. Of course, the following are obvious contraindications:

  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Drug Abuse
  • Phlebitis
  • Skin Rashes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Fever
  • Gout

Please let your therapist know if any of the following apply to you:

  • have ever had aneurysms
  • have inflammation of any kind
  • have paralysis of any kind
  • are under cardiologist care
  • have had seizures of any type
  • have a gout condition
  • have head or body lice
  • suffer from tuberculosis
  • are being treated for cancer
  • have a skin condition or rash
  • are anemic
  • have phlebitis
  • have edema
  • are a diabetic
  • have any cysts
  • have fever
  • have osteoporosis
  • have any tumors
  • are pregnant
  • have ringworm
  • wear contact lenses
  • have a hematoma
  • have diverticulitis
  • are a hemophiliac
  • have had embolisms
  • have multiple sclerosis
  • have a hernia condition
  • have an open wound
  • have arthritis/bursitis
  • have arteriosclerosis
  • numbness or tingling in any part of body
  • have any undiagnosed medical problems
  • are under physician care for hypertension
  • have suffered a mental breakdown
  • have been diagnosed with varicose veins

Your massage therapist will do an "intake" and you can discuss anything which you feel may be a contraindication for massage.
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4. Do I have to completely undress?

     To derive the highest benefits of a massage, the client should be disrobed to allow the therapist to employ techniques without the disruption which clothing causes. Many techniques are most effective when performed directly to the body. The therapist will leave the room while you undress, get comfortable on the massage table and cover yourself with the sheet he/she will use to "drape" you during the massage. It does not matter to the professional therapist what you wear during YOUR massage. He will work to give you the best massage no matter what you are wearing. You disrobe to the degree YOU decide for YOUR massage. Especially if is your first massage, you may be a little nervous and may want to wear some kind of swim wear or underwear. Your therapist will understand so be comfortable and enjoy your massage wearing what you choose, if anything at all. Remember that you can wear a suit of armor if you choose to. Your massage will not feel as good and the price is generally the same.
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5. What does massage do - other than feel good?

     Massage: *Helps rid the body of toxins *Stretches superficial tissue *Assists lymphatic and venous flow *Helps to break up and loosen subcutaneous scar tissue *Increases nutrition to the cells and skin *Can help reduce certain types of edema *Increases respiration to the skin *Stimulates the sensory receptors (nerves) of the skin and deeper tissue *Relieves joint ache and pain *Promotes good posture and self esteem *Improves tone and texture of the skin *Assists digestion *Causes release of natural endorphins and promotes relaxation
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6. What should I expect from my first massage?

      On your first visit, your massage therapist will do an "intake" - asking questions about your general health, specific injuries and whether you are under a doctor's care. They may also ask you to stand or walk around for them to do a "postural analysis". Ask any questions you have for your therapist at this time. The entire process only takes a few minutes and should not substantially cut into your massage time. The therapist will then give you instructions on how they want you on the table (face up/down etc.) They should be out of the room while you are changing. The massage room should be clean, private and quiet. Some therapists use music, candles, aromatherapy or soothing sounds to assist your relaxation and enhance your message. If you don't want any of those things you are free to ask the therapist to stop using them. Also, each therapist likes to use a special oil or lotion. If you have something you like to use on your skin, bring it and they will be happy to use it. If you are getting a massage for relaxation, there should be little or no talking. For deep tissue work the therapist will be checking in with you to make sure you are tolerating the work and to remind you to breathe and relax. Sometimes light conversation is used to distract clients during the deep work. The client is always in control of the massage! Whether to talk or not, if there should be music or no music or different music, whether to use scent or not and which scent during your massage, whether your massage should be deeper or lighter. If you are uncomfortable at all, always speak up and be honest with your therapist about your expectations and comfort.
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7. What credentials should I look for when seeking a massage therapist?

You should always look for a therapist with formal training in massage and who attended a reputable and accredited school. A massage therapist should belong to a massage association such as AMTA or IMA. Your massage therapist should be licensed or certified according to the state in which he/she practices. Ask your therapist about the school he/she attended and what curriculum they took. Find out what massage associations they belong to and how long they have practiced massage therapy. You might even want to ask why they decided to enter into that field. Ask for references. References from current/former clients are probably the best credentials for a massage therapist.

The following states require either a license or certification to practice massage:

Note: New Jersey has legislation in progress to become a licensed state. Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin have passed laws that are not yet in effect. In these states you should seek out and use only licensed people. Just because they are licensed does not mean they are good therapists. It does mean they have committed time, effort and money to learn their craft. Many schools require about 500-1000 hours of schooling for certification.
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8. Can I bring someone with me to my massage session?

Most therapists would permit your having someone with you during your massage. Of course, it's best to mention to your massage therapist in advance that you plan on having someone present with you during your massage. That way he/she can plan the space to accommodate having another person in the massage room. Any client has the right to have anyone present during their massage. Many times people are more comfortable the first time they have a massage if someone is with them. (This is especially true in the case of a child). If you have someone with you during your massage, they should be quiet and non-interfering with the therapists performance of the massage. Excessive talking, laughter, and being in the way of the therapist at the massage table are to be avoided. The relationship between the client and therapist is very important. "Involvement" in the massage by a third party is inappropriate.
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9. Is "tipping" the therapist expected?

While any gratuity is always at the discretion of the client, it is customary and welcomed by your massage therapist. The fee you pay for your massage to the therapist or cashier belongs strictly to the business. While tipping is not required, it is most welcome and goes directly to your massage therapist. It does not matter if the therapist is the owner, partner or employee of the massage business. Tipping the person who gave you your massage is a nice gesture if he/she has given you a good massage. If you do decide to give your therapist a tip, the amount to give is entirely up to you. The average tip is 10-15% of the charge for the particular service the therapist performed.
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