By Tanya M. Williams, L.M.B.T.
Q: I'm a newcomer to bodywork. How can I get the most from my treatment?
A: This is an excellent question and one few clients (even experienced ones) think to ask. As a client, you are an active participant in the massage. Consequently, you have some responsibility in how well the session goes. First timers are often a little nervous and tend to 'help' the therapist throughout the session. Ironically, lifting your limbs, arching your neck or spreading your fingers for the practitioner actually makes her task more challenging, since working on a flexed, taut muscle requires more strength than massaging a relaxed, loose one. So let yourself be heavy on the table, and rest assured you're being much more helpful by doing so.
Another suggestion: instead of chatting your way through the session, try focusing your attention and your breath on the area being massaged. Become aware of the sensation of the massage, and tune in to areas that are particularly tense or tender. Often there are memories or emotions tied up in our tissues, other times we simply realize small changes we should make in our daily lives, like taking more breaks from the computer or stretching more frequently. These two actions will help you get the most from the treatment mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Send me your spa etiquette questions! Email Tanya at: email@example.com