Massage Straight Talk: What Your Massage Therapist Needs to Know

By Angela England

Most massage therapists guide first-time clients through an intake process that includes discussing health histories and other medical concerns. But talking with your therapist about these things should not end with your first massage. Before each session, take a minute to speak with your therapist about any new medical conditions or injuries, lasting aches and pains, or any other changes in your life. Here are some of the issues your massage therapist should know about.

Medical Changes
It’s a good idea to regularly update your medical record with your therapist, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with an illness or medical condition–such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease, or skin allergies–or are taking any new medications. Certain medical concerns preclude you from receiving massage. Other conditions, such as pregnancy, simply change the way your practitioner approaches the session.

A New or Acute Injury
Maybe you spent hours driving to a destination getaway and your shoulders ache, or you stepped off the porch wrong and sprained your ankle. Any time you have a new ache, pain, sprain, twist, or pulled muscle, mention it to your therapist. Depending on the location and extent of your injury, the session may need to be postponed or the injury site avoided until more healing has occurred.

Personal Preferences
This category is less obvious, but equally important. Everyone has unique preferences and sometimes there may be something you would like to change for your next massage. Whether you want to bring your own music, have the temperature adjusted, or be draped in an extra blanket, your therapist can easily adapt as long as you communicate your preferences.

Help your practitioner help you. Take a moment to check in with him or her before your next session.

Angela England enjoys doing massage, gardening, writing, and spending time with her three young children.