First time massage clients are often nervous. They don't know what to expect and most websites give ambiguous information or use jargon that the client may not be familiar with. The language of massage can be intimidating if the terms aren't explained.
- Intake Form : Yes, there are a lot of questions on it. No, this step can't be skipped. Sometimes questions seem redundant - and they are! - in an effort to jog the memory and get a more complete picture of each client's health. The more the massage therapist knows, the more effective the treatment will be.
- Attire : Many massage techniques use an oil or lotion to lubricate the skin and allow for the muscles to be manipulated or palpated. The use of lubricants requires skin to be unclothed. Taking clothes off is not mandatory! Leaving clothing on means the massage therapist has to rely on static - or dry - techniques like compression or movements. This prevents the clothing from tugging uncomfortably on the client. Both options can deliver a good massage so there is no right answer. This is where the client chooses what they are comfortable with.
- Draping : Draping refers to how the client is covered on the massage table. Clients are usually draped with a sheet and a blanket. Fully dressed clients may not need or want this draping. Undressed clients must use at least the sheet. During the treatment, the massage therapist will uncover the area that is being worked on then recover it before moving to the next area. If the client feels uncomfortable with an area being uncovered, the area can be either worked through the sheet or avoided entirely.
- Full Body : A true full body massage will cover everything except the genitals, the anus and the breast tissue. That means it includes the scalp and face, the pectoral and abdominal muscles on the front of the body, the gluteal and thigh muscles. Each of these areas can be massaged without exposing a client but the client can always choose not to have these areas worked. The pectoral muscles are on the chest and most of the muscle can be massaged around the breast tissue. Female clients get additional draping to cover their breasts prior to folding the sheet down to work on the abdominal muscles; male clients may opt to have this as well. When the massage therapist is working on the glutes and thighs, the sheet is tucked around or under the leg to secure it in place.
- Scope of Practice : This phrase refers to what a massage license allows practitioners to say and the types of treatment they can offer. The biggest confusion here is assessment versus diagnosis. Assessments are based on observation and begin the moment a client walks into the office. How is their posture? Is their gait uneven or do they limp? Is one shoulder higher than the other? These are all examples of assessment. A massage therapist can say that left quadricep feels tighter than the right but cannot say there is a torn muscle or tendon involved.