Not Feeling Confident About Your First Massage? I Have Advice For You That Will Help

The Do’s and Don’ts for Receiving Your First Massage and What to Expect Told by a Massage Therapist.

I DID NOT enjoy my first session.

I was 28 when I received my first massage and I was completely unsure what to expect during my session. I decided to go back to school to become a massage therapist and by doing so I had to receive a massage as a requirement. It was not for me! In some areas, she massaged too hard and in other areas, I could barely feel her massaging me at all.

Not to mention that I had a terrible headache right after.

But I didn’t know what I could have done differently: should I have told her that she was hurting me here but that I couldn’t feel her massaging me there, that this was my first time getting a massage, that I did not like my feet being rubbed in any form or fashion, or that I was cold the whole time? It was not what I thought it would have been.

Luckily for you, I am here to spare you all of the heartache of you second guessing your massage decision!

  • The first thing you have to DO is ask yourself what type of massage are you wanting to receive? Are you wanting to have a relaxing session, are you wanting to focus solely on a specific area of your body (shoulders, neck, knees) that you are having problems/pain with, or maybe a little bit of both? When you decide what type of session you are wanting then it will be easier for the therapist to mold the session to fit your massage needs.
  • If you are receiving a massage for the first time DO tell the therapist. A really good therapist will take the time to explain what you should expect and to help settle any nervousness you may have. We want to make sure that you are comfortable, secure, and that you have a good first session.
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  • DO tell the therapist if you do not like your feet, face, or scalp touched. Trust me, if you do not it WILL BE MASSAGED. And it is ok if you do not like those areas to be touched. I personally hate my feet to be touched. I understand the benefits of massaging them, but it ain’t happening! So yes, please let your therapist know.
  • It is completely ok if you DO fall asleep while you are receiving a massage. Honestly, I consider it a compliment because you trusted me enough to allow yourself to be that relax to fall asleep. PS: if you snore, you snore. It truly does not faze a therapist at all!
  • You DO NOT have to be completely undressed to receive a massage. The choice is yours. I will tell you this though that if you do decide to leave your shirt or pants on, for example, those areas more than likely will not be massaged. A typical rule of thumb is that if it is covered, it will not be massaged. So if you are wanting your back massaged I recommend undressing for that. If you are still unsure, just ask your therapist.
  • You DO NOT have to shave your legs for a massage. You will be surprised how many women apologize for that. I get it, trust me. My legs are shaved depending on life at that point. For us therapists, it is not a make it or break it kind of deal.
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  • DO NOT not show up for your appointment. If you know you are not going to make it or be late, let the therapist know. We know that life happens. A lot of time they can fit you in later that day or that same week. Appointments are how us therapist makes our bread and butter. Communication is always key.
  • You DO NOT have to tip. Yes, you read that right. Actually, it is not required for you too, but it is expected. Depending on where your therapist works can depend on how much you tip. I tell my clients whatever they think that the session was worth, tip accordingly. It’s your session!
  • I would consider this as a “DO and DON’T” point and to be the most important one. Just bear with me. Please be respectful of your massage therapist. We all know that massage in general does not have a good reputation historically. Unfortunately during both World Wars, most massage therapists had to resort to prostitution as a form of survival during those times.

We no longer live in those times. Massage therapy has regained its rightful reputation/place in the healthcare field as another form of pain management and alternative medicine. We do not consider the term “happy endings” as a joke. It is an insult.

With that being said… if a massage therapist ever makes or insinuate any inappropriate/ sexual gestures or remarks, there are steps you can take. First, let the therapist know that you are uncomfortable. A therapist may not be aware that a certain comment or gesture – like not securing the sheet tighter- made you uncomfortable.

We are still humans and make mistakes not realizing it because as therapists we get stuck/comfortable with the flow of our routine. If that does not work, let their manager know. You are protected as clients. Worst-case scenario, if appropriate actions have not been done by the manager or supervisor, contact the Massage Board of that state.

I know that last point was intense, but I believe it needed to be pointed out. You would be surprised by what clients say when they are either extremely nervous or just completely unaware. It happens to the best of us and when you don’t know, you don’t know. What it all boils down to is your massage therapist making sure that you have a great and safe first massage session.

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So please take these insights from a massage therapist, share this post, and book yourself a massage session! Any questions or comments you have, let me know. I would be more than glad to answer them. You deserve to be treated well and to enjoy your massage session to the fullest!