A couple of weeks ago, I treated myself to a wonderful 90 minute aromatherapy massage at Massage Envy, and let me tell you, it was worth every dollar (it’s also a LOT better than bothering your significant other and getting a five minute half-hearted attempt at one). I’m a member, and I pay a flat rate for a one hour massage each month. If you don’t use them, they start to accumulate, which is usually the case with me, and then they can be combined (I currently have four and a half massages saved up right now). I’m such an advocate for them now, because I work out a lot, and my muscles get very sore from time to time. I’m glad that I’ve convinced myself to go regularly, because my first experience was not so pleasant.
I can vividly remember that first time. I’d always been very nervous, because I didn’t want some strange person touching me, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to relax and get the full benefit. But a couple of years ago, when I first started purchasing Groupons, there was this deal going on for a one hour massage for $35 at some day spa. Since I’d seen other places advertise their rates starting at $60 for a one hour massage, this seemed like a no brainer. I called the place, and scheduled my appointment. The receptionist sounded bored, didn’t give me further information about who I’d be seeing, and pretty much hung up on me. That should have been a red flag, but you know, I had already paid for this Groupon, and I’d be damned if I was going to waste my money.
So anyway, the day finally comes, and I got to the place a little early. I checked in, and waited nervously on the couch. A few moments later, a big guy, who looked like a cross between my dad and Gerald Levert (R.I.P.) comes out. I thought maybe he had just gotten a massage, so I look over his shoulder, expecting to see a female therapist behind him, ready to call me in. Um, no. Gerald introduces himself (with a name that wasn’t Gerald) and tells me that he’ll be my therapist. Now, I know some people don’t mind a male therapist, but that made me super uncomfortable. But again, since I had already spent the money, I took a deep breath and decided to get it over with.
Let me tell you, that was by far the most uncomfortable experience I have ever had. I don’t think I relaxed for a minute, and I’m sure my body was even worse off than it was when I first got there. Had I been comfortable, I’m positive he would have done a great job, but it just felt, I don’t know, creepy to me. With that being said, before you take the plunge and get a massage, there are a few things you should know.
1) Make sure you’re specific when requesting a therapist. The receptionists aren’t mind readers, they don’t know what you’re comfortable with. This will be harder at smaller day spas, which have limited staff members, but if you call a place like Massage Envy, they should have at least one person that will fit your needs.
2) Take a flipping shower. Some therapists have told me that clients come in, and they reek. Have some respect for yourself and the therapist. I wouldn’t say this if it didn’t have to be said.
3) Don’t be afraid to speak up to your therapist. If the pressure is too light, tell them. If it’s too hard, don’t just wince and bear it. They are providing a service to you, and they don’t mind adjusting the session so you get the most out of it.
4) Relax. It’s not going to be fun OR help you if your body is tense. It kind of defeats the purpose, and then you’re just throwing money away. If you need aromatherapy to help you feel more calm, ask for it.
5) Tip your therapist. If you’re paying $60 for a session, your therapist will probably be getting only a small portion of that. If they’ve done an outstanding job, make sure you follow-up with gratuity that indicates that. 15-20% of a regular-priced session is sufficient.
6) And finally, drink LOTS of water. Before and after. A lot of toxins are being released, and this causes you to be thirsty. I do not know the scientific reasoning behind this, but I’m sure you can Google it. All I know is, you’ll be parched if you’re not properly hydrated.
I’m a huge proponent of massage, and would get one weekly if I could. It helps to clear my mind, and I seem to come up with the best ideas when I’m laying there, forced to do nothing but relax. How often do allow ourselves the luxury of just doing nothing? I’d love to hear your first-time massage stories!