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What You Need to Know Before Your Next Massage

BY: Shannon Grilli | 3 Oct 2019
What You Need to Know Before Your Next Massage

A Sacramento massage can do wonders for both body and mind. But for some people, visiting a massage studio can also be a major source of anxiety. How far do I undress? Is it rude if I fall asleep? Will the therapist be grossed out by my back hair?

We spoke to professionals from two massage studios in Sacramento: Rob Warfield, the owner of Healing Arts Awareness, and Serena Hawamdeh, the certified massage practitioner behind Body Work with Serena. They answered our most pressing massage questions to help you make the most of your next massage appointment.

What steps should I take to prepare for my massage?

Both Rob and Serena agreed on two points: make sure you have plenty of time to relax both before and after your massage, and drink plenty of water. Rob pointed out that massage helps to flush toxins from your system, so being properly hydrated will help.

Is there anything I should avoid doing right before my massage?

“Don't eat right before you massage and avoid any alcohol 24 hours in advance,” Serena said.

Does it make more sense to exercise before or after a massage?

Both Serena and Rob recommended working out before hitting the table. “When you work out, your body releases lactic acid. Getting a massage after will help move that out of your body faster,” Serena said.

Are there other activities I should avoid doing after my massage?

“Be sure to drink your morning coffee before, not after, your bodywork,” Serena said. The reason? “Drinking caffeine after a massage can tense the muscles just worked on, so it's best to avoid if possible and try herbal tea or water instead.”

What are some things that clients are embarrassed about but shouldn’t be?

Rob acknowledged that many clients feel self-conscious about their weight or body shape, but he stressed that these are the last things the massage therapist is concerned about. “I am focused on muscle/tendon connections … and I am exposed to a wide variety of body shapes/builds.”

“No shaved legs? Body hair? It's OK! This also goes for any other perceived flaw that you may have because you are a human being,” added Serena, who also pinpointed cellulite, birthmarks, and stomach noises among the issues that are actually no big deal.

What are some rude or inconsiderate things clients do?

Both professionals cited last-minute cancellations or no-shows as a major source of frustration. Many therapists request that any cancellations be made 24 hours in advance.

And, of course, proper hygiene is appreciated. That doesn’t mean you have to scrub yourself raw, but “at least a quick shower rinse after a workout/jog,” Rob said.

Do I need to be completely naked for my massage?

When it comes to disrobing, both therapists agree: it’s entirely up to you.

Do clients feel pressured to make small talk during their massage?

Not feeling chatty? No problem—according to Rob, it’s totally OK to stay quiet or even fall asleep during your massage. If you do feel like talking, convey to the therapist which areas of your body need attention.