If you’ve ever gotten a massage, you’ve no doubt filled out what we call an “intake form.” Whether or not you know what it’s called, you give your massage therapist your information. You may or may not have wondered what this is for, but regardless, it is the first step in communicating with your massage therapist. It is what we call the intake process, which really lasts your whole first session.
The form that your massage therapist asks you to fill out at your first session is the key tool for the therapist to have, and it is important that you fill it out completely and accurately to the best of your knowledge. One of the most vital parts of the intake form is the waiver, where the therapist outlines what you will and will not receive from your session. Pretty much, you are signing your understanding that the massage will be strictly professional.
This piece of paper also tells your therapist many important things; whether or not you are old enough to receive massage without parental consent, if a female client is pregnant and how far along, whether or not you may be allergic to any products used, what medications you take that massage could interfere with, and whether or not you are an appropriate candidate for massage.
Information provided gives the massage therapist a baseline of information that needs to be built upon once you are in the privacy of the massage room. Your massage therapist will ask you questions about the information you have given on your intake form. For example, if you have indicated that you are recovering from a surgery or injury, she will ask questions like, “How is your mobility in the area?” “What is your range of motion in the area?” or “Are you experiencing any inflammation in the area at this time?” This will tell the therapist whether or not massage in the area is appropriate, where you might need more focus work in relation to your injury, and whether or not deeper pressure should be used.
While the massage therapist is in the room with you before the massage begins, this is your opportunity to address any concerns you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, request focus work, or ask about products. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to massage, and your therapist wants to make sure you get a massage that is best suited to you and your needs. There is a common misconception that a massage therapist automatically knows where you need focus work and what kind of pressure you prefer. The only way she can know this is if you tell her, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
As stated above, the whole first session really an intake process. Your massage therapist has never worked on your body before, so this is her opportunity to get used to working with you, and vice versa. You should let your massage therapist know if you need her to adjust pressure or if she’s hitting a spot that you need her to focus on.
After your first session, your massage therapist will have a better idea of your preferences and needs. It is important for the recipient to remember that the therapist cannot know these things without direction from you. Communication is the key to receiving an amazing massage!