As weird as it is to have a perfect stranger rub and squeeze me, it’s completely worth the mild awkwardness.
Here’s the low down on getting a rub down:
1. Eat before. Not so much that you’re a bloated whale, but enough to spare you the worry about your tummy grumbling during your massage. A rumbly stomach is a natural thing, but for some reason I find it embarrassing and anticipating my stomach making sounds on the table stresses me out.
2. Drink water before and after your massage – something to do with helping flush out toxins or something.
3. On that note, pee right before your massage. Parts of your body will be pushed on, so it’s a good idea to go in “on empty.”
4. Be advised that the massage therapist will tuck the top sheet into the wasitband of your underwear. Unless you’re comfortable showing off your butt, you might want to trade in the thong for full-coverage briefs on massage day.
5. Couples massages are romantic in theory. However, if your partner is a Chatty Cathy (Yes, I’m looking at YOU honey) and serenity is what you’re after, book separate rooms.
6. Set the mood in advance. For me, it feels rude not to chat with my massage therapist. So, this is what I say to take the pressure off. “I’ve been told I need to relax, so if I try to talk during this massage, please remind me to zip it.” The first massage therapist I said that too laughed and said, “No problem! You’re here to relax. I prefer it when clients don’t talk actually. Then I can focus on what I’m doing.”
7. Exception to the No Talking rule: At the beginning of your massage, be very specific about what you want, i.e. the level of pressure you’re comfortable with, sore points or problem areas, etc. This is your opportunity to ask questions and let your therapist know exactly what you need.
8. Shave. Both. Legs.
9. If you’re going out afterward, for lunch or on errands, ask the therapist not to rub oil in your hair or face. And, forgo the head massage or you’ll end up looking like a greasy Chia Pet. Ideally, after a massage you should go home and take an Epsom salts bath.
10. Pain = no gain. A massage should never hurt. It might be uncomfortable at times, but if you can’t breathe through it, it’s too rough.
*See worse massage EVER story below.
Hubby and I went to a swanky spa together for massages last year. He came out happy (ahem, not to be confused with ‘happy’…it wasn’t THAT kind of massage). I came out bruised and angry. My masseuse talked the entire time. The topic? How his girlfriend broke up with him because of his online virtual reality game addiction. Seems I was massaged by some kind of Dungeons and Dragons nerd with an attitude. He was extremely rough. At one point, I screamed and tried to pull away, but he held me down, telling me to breathe through it. I didn’t want to be rude or appear weak, so I stuck it out. What I should have done was asked him to stop the massage and then complained to the manager. I will never allow myself to be manhandled by a rogue masseuse again. Freakin’ Larpers*.
* A word that describes a live action role player or someone who enjoys acting out fantasy adventures.