Massage is as varied as the Massage Therapist you select to provide your massage. Gwen is no longer accepting new massage client's but will recommend local licensed massage therapist on request. The following is to assist you in protocol.
Each Massage Therapist brings to the work all the accumulated knowledge gained through original training, continuing education hours, experience and feed back from individual clients. I often recommend to clients that when going somewhere new, always ask for a massage therapist with 5 years or more experience. I have been providing massage in Greenbelt since 1985...lots of education and experience. I encourage you to discuss your reasons for massage in a phone conversation with me or any other massage therapist before you come. You will begin to get a sense about how that therapist works, and if it is me, I will be better able to tell if I can meet your expectations. I can recommend several other massage therapist in the area if my style or calendar don't fit your needs.
For those who have never had a professional massage, there are some things you might like to know.
1. There is a big difference between coming for massage because you need relaxation or because you are in pain.
Massage is good for both, however the approach is different. Relaxation massage is not as deep and is not a challenge for the massage therapist. A therapist who wants to work deep and fix things may not be the best therapist for the person who just wants to relax. I enjoy both kinds of clients at Pleasant Touch. Relaxation massage clients are welcomed at irregular intervals. If I see a client whose muscles are in spasm or the client is complaining of pain, I will want to see that client once a week for three weeks for 60 minute massage. At the end of the third session the client and I will evaluate the success of the treatments. What I am looking for is 60% more mobility, 60% more flexibility, and 60% reduction in pain. If for what ever reason we have not achieved that level, I will help you find another kind of therapy or another kind of massage therapist to work with you. Your goal is my goal. I want you better fast.
2. Do not drink alcohol within the first 12 hours after having a massage, especially if the purpose of the massage was for pain.
Your muscles are literally having toxins squeezed out of them and the lymphatic fluid (which normally picks up large waste molecules from all over the body) is being flooded with these toxins. So you and the massage therapist are detoxing your body. To assist this effort drink as much water as possible but please don't intoxicate (add more toxicity) to your system. Try to drink at least two liters of water post massage. The water helps flush the toxins completely out of your body. If your muscles are sore the next day, your massage was too deep for your toxicity level or you did not drink enough water. Talk with your Massage Therapist about that, the sooner the better.
3. Most massage techniques require that you remove your clothes and get between sheets.
The simple question "How much of my clothing do I remove?" Allows the therapist and you to understand each others expectations. Here at Pleasant Touch I tell a woman to remove all of her clothing unless she feels more comfortable keeping on her panties. I request a man to keep on his boxers. You are given privacy to undress, get on the bed between the sheets and cover your body.
Most therapist will keep you well draped (covered) except for the area that the therapist is working on. Here at Pleasant Touch for example I expose only one arm, one leg, or the whole back down to the hips. In the rare case where I massage the abdomen, a woman's breast are draped with a towel and the sheet is pulled down to the hips. I do not do abdominal massage on the first visit. Because the buttocks have muscles that are used with every step you take, every time you sit down or stand up, I always massage this area. Some therapist will expose one side at a time. I work through the sheets in this area only.
It is my personal experience here in the United States that most massage therapist do not massage breast tissue on women, nor do they leave a nude body undraped (uncovered). There are some medical reasons for doing breast massage, and in some parts of the world the client would not expect to be covered.
No professional massage therapist would ever want you to be uncomfortable. Just tell the therapist not to touch you there if the therapist goes someplace you don't want them to go. Some people have high sensation areas that others do not...example inner thighs, underarms, front of the neck.
Another question that you can ask the therapist is exactly what and in what sequence do you massage? That way you will not be surprised by the sequence or the body part.
4. Let the massage therapist know immediately if the work is painful and your body wants to move away from the therapist's hands.
The therapist needs your feedback and wants to know your comfort level. That is important. You decide how deep you want massage to go-not the therapist. You may be able to tolerate a little discomfort if the therapist is able to explain the process but please don't suffer in silence. Personally I don't work through the pain, just to the pain. My massage, at most, will hurt and feel good at the same time. That is called Hedonic pain. Some clients like massage that is deep enough to hurt. That is their preference and I would not be the massage therapist for them.
5. A note of caution: Licensed Massage Therapist are professionals.
In general that person is not going to find jokes about sexual massage funny, but rather demeaning, and may become uncomfortable enough that the therapist terminates the session. This was a problem when I had young massage therapist working with me, and I had a standing policy that they could terminate a massage anytime. If that happened the client's money was refunded and the client was asked not to return. Unpleasant for client and therapist.