10 things your massage therapist wants you to know

Swedish MassageWhat is your therapist thinking?

As a massage therapist, and someone who loves to receive a massage, I get to experience both sides of client-therapist relationship.

As a therapist, I get asked lots of questions, all of which I’m more than happy to answer.  However I realised that there are themes that crop up often, and that resonated with my uncertainty when I went for my first massage. So I thought it was time to put down in one place the answers and thoughts, from a therapist’s point of view, to ten of the most common questions and concerns that clients have.


When you jump up to use the loo as soon as the massage finishes (or even mid way through your massage), we’re super happy!

Needing the loo tells us we’ve done a good job.  We’ve helped drain the lymph, with all its toxic waste products, and your body has done the rest to get it out.

But it’s an on going process.  All massage therapists will tell you to drink plenty of water after a massage.  A well hydrated body eliminates it’s waste more effectively.  So keep hydrated – drink the water.


When you fall asleep during your massage, we actually do a little happy dance!

Falling asleep is probably the greatest compliment you can pay your massage therapist.  When a client falls asleep, it tells me that they trust me, the massage I’m giving, and the space I’ve created.  They trust me enough to really relax, and make the most of this time out of their busy lives, to reconnect their mind and body.


We don’t tell you to drink water for the good of our health – but for yours!

Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and exercise for 48 hours after treatment.  This is the aftercare advice I give to all my clients, and not because I’m the greatest killjoy known to humanity!

Massage helps the body to rid itself of toxins. It helps speed that process up by helping to move lymph.  But in order for the body to actually be able to excrete these toxins, it needs to be hydrated.  The better hydrated, the more efficient and effective the process of toxin removal will be.  Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food and exercise are all things that can dehydrate the body – the exact opposite situation to the one we want. So sure, have your tipple of choice if you want, just take it with two pints of water!


You might actually feel worse for up to 48 hours after a massage before you feel better.

Also known as ‘The Healing Crisis’, it’s actually possible that you might feel under the weather for up to 48 hours after a massage treatment.  This is because as massage helps move lymph, it also helps move toxins (like carbon dioxide and lactic acid).  This is essentially a good thing, as these need to be moved in the lymph and drained back into the blood circulation to be processed and then excreted via the liver and kidneys. However this takes time. And, as I’ve alluded to above, water!  If the body isn’t well hydrated it can take longer for these substances to be excreted.  The longer they hang around, the longer they’ve a chance to make you feel ‘meh’.

The lymphatic system is a large part of your immune response system.  So if you were already feeling a little ‘meh’, prior to your massage, the massage can bring that feeling out even more, as the infection is found and fought.  The good news is that whilst the massage may encourage any underlying infection to come out quicker, it also often means that the duration of it is shorter.  So you may feel ‘meh’ sooner than you would have done (because let’s be honest, if you were brewing something, it’ll get you in a ‘meh’ kind of way soon enough), BUT you’ll in most likelihood recover from it quicker. This is because the massage has helped move the lymph, bringing the infection to the body’s attention, allowing it to fight it sooner, and so giving it a bit of a head’s up. 🙂


 Six years of a tight shoulder won’t be fixed by a single massage treatment!

You know we’re good.  We know we’re good.  But there is a limit to our super healing hands ability to fix in one 40 minute treatment session something that you’ve been suffering with for a significant amount of time.

Rule of thumb: one treatment per week for the length of time you’ve had the issue.

So, if you’ve had a sore shoulder for six months, schedule in an appointment a week for six weeks.  Hopefully by the sixth week you might start to feel some serious, longer term, resolving of the issue.

But don’t then get complacent!

Keep up regular treatment to ensure that if you’re slipping back into the bad habit (poor posture, too long at screens without moving, for example) that caused the pain in the first place, the problem won’t be able to build to the same level as before. Regular treatments will keep on top of the issues, making them more easily sorted.


If you want to chat then we’ll chat.  But this is your down time, your ‘me’ time, so our default is to keep quiet and let you get the most from your treatment.

Some people chat because they’re nervous.  Others chat because they’re craving a conversation with a grown up after a day of toddler talk.  And some people chat because they’re chatty people. 🙂

If you’ve got questions or concerns, always ask your massage therapist. I aim to always put my clients at ease.  I explain everything I’m going to do, and how.  If I’ve missed something, or not covered a client’s particular concern, I want my clients to ask.  I want my clients to get the most out of every treatment.

If you actually want to chat during your treatment, just let your therapist know.  Then we don’t feel that we’re preventing you from relaxing.

But if you’d like to give quiet a go – you might just be amazed at how that makes you feel.  Total silence can make people feel awkward, so I always bring music to play quietly in the background.  I am happy to play a client’s choice of music too.

Pressure is a subjective thing.  Our ’10’ may not be yours.  Tell us when the pressure is too much, or not enough, and we’ll change it for you.

This is really important to me as a therapist.  I want all my clients to be comfortable, happy and to always get the most out of their treatments.  Communication is key.  It’s ok to tell me you want less pressure in one area, and then 5 minutes later tell me you want more!

As tissue warms up, client’s can take more pressure, and often want more pressure, especially over knotty shoulder areas.  This is also why, even if you’ve told me you want lots of pressure, I’ll not start too heavy.  All tissues need time to warm up – massaging too deeply too quickly just ends in pain.  It’s also ok if some areas are very sensitive, and so you want less pressure here.  I’ll ask you to tell me, rather than disrupt your massage by constantly asking if the pressure is ok.  So please do speak up and let me know how you’re feeling.


When we release tension, we often release the emotion that was the root cause of it.  This can cause tears to flow.  Never be ashamed or embarrassed by this letting go – it’s a necessary part of the healing process.

It’s becoming increasingly clear to many people just how closely mind and body are connected.  Emotions, especially if strong or suppressed, can show up as physical symptoms (e.g. tight shoulders from feeling stressed, chest pain from grief).  Releasing these physical symptoms can often help release the emotion that caused them.  That emotion needs to be let go of, if the physical symptoms are to stay away.  Crying is the most natural form for this to take, but don’t be surprised by unexpected feelings of anger, frustration, sadness or grief.

Equally, releasing these hidden emotions can cause sudden feelings of extreme happiness, joy, lightness and unexpected laughter.  All reactions are welcomed and allowed.  Don’t censor yourself, let the emotions flow and see how much better you feel because of that.

This is why massage is a holistic therapy.  It affects the whole body and mind, not just the one knotty shoulder you came to the massage for. 🙂


We don’t care that you haven’t washed your hair or that your underwear doesn’t match (we’re really not looking!).  Whilst we’re on the subject, we don’t mind if there’s washing up in the kitchen sink or whether you’ve hovered or not.

We’re coming to you to provide relaxation and wellbeing.  The absolute last thing we want is for you to be stressed about anything.  As long as I can put up the table/chair and have enough room to work around, I’m good.  Honestly. 🙂

I’ll always ask that pets be kept in another room where possible.  They get very curious and often want to join in, which doesn’t add to the relaxing atmosphere I try to create!

You either make time for wellness, or you make time for illness.

A very insightful client made this comment to me, and it’s so true.  Top up the wellness deposits before you try to withdraw from them, because going vastly overdrawn causes illness.  When we don’t stop regularly to allow the body to rest and recuperate, to top up its reserves, we end up depleting it to the point of illness.  It takes far longer to recover from illness than it does to maintain wellness.

Whether wellness deposits take the from of massage or reading.  A bath or a yoga class.  A nap or a walk in the fresh air.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you take the time to do what makes you feel good.  To top up your wellness deposits.



If you’d like to take the space and time to rest and relax with a massage, please message me through the contact me page.  You can also connect with me via my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/calmathome

If you have any topics you’d like me to cover in future blogs, please do let me know.


Kate 🙂

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