When you visit a your massage therapist, I assume that you have a reasonable expectation that you will get a satisfactory massage, and that your therapist will do her best to focus on the areas you ask her to. So long as you communicate your needs to your therapist before the session, you expect that she will listen to you, and do sufficient work over your problem areas. As a massage therapist myself, I hope that I meet the reasonable expectations of each of my clients, and anticipate that when I go to get a massage myself that my therapist will do the same for me. There is one incident that I can point to where my massage was not satisfactory although I expressed to the therapist exactly what I hoped the massage would accomplish beforehand. Here, I will describe my experience to you, and what you can learn from it.
My boyfriend and I visited a local spa for a couple’s massage. It was both of our first time there, and the staff was nice enough. Before the session began, each of our therapists took the time to talk to us about our areas of concern and what we wanted the massage to achieve. I told my therapist the same thing I tell every massage therapist. My main concern is the rhomboids – the muscles in between your spine and shoulder blade. To help ease the tension from these muscles, I asked for good work over my chest as well. Being that I am a massage therapist and use my hands a lot, I asked her to do some good focus work on my hands and forearms. The most important thing that I told her was that due to an L5 injury, I could not withstand specific work over my low back. I explained to her that she could put as much pressure as she wanted with an open palm, but that knuckles and fingers were too hard for this area.
She started out by working over my neck twice – keep in mind I did not ask for focus work over my neck. When she got to my arms, I was really excited as I had been performing a lot of massages of late and the muscles in my forearms and hands were particularly tired. She did not spend any extra time on my arms, which I had asked for, and barely touched my tired and achey hands.
When she had me turn over and began working over my back, she pressed her crotch against the top of my head as she ran her fingers down my spine and began digging in to my lower back – exactly what I had asked her NOT to do. I tensed up against the pain, but she never eased up.
Couple’s massages can be nice if you want to have a day of relaxation with someone you care about, but it’s more intimidating to speak up when you’re not satisfied with your massage if there is someone else getting a massage in the same room. This is exactly what happened in this massage. I felt like if I spoke up, then my boyfriend’s massage would be interrupted.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and looking back, I can see what I should have done, and I think that it would be benefit anyone reading this blog to have an understanding of what I should have done.
The first thing you should remember is that you should always speak up, whether or not there is another person getting a massage in the same room. Your safety and comfort is the most important aspect of the massage, and you are paying your massage therapist good money to relax you. If your massage isn’t satisfactory, you should always communicate that to your therapist – especially if she’s hurting you, and especially if she is doing something you have specifically asked her not to do, and especially if she is doing something inappropriate like pressing her private areas anywhere on your body.
Again, your safety and comfort should be the number one concern of your massage therapist. If at any time, you feel like she is being inappropriate or not listening to your requests, you should say so. It is never okay for a massage therapist to ignore her clients when they tell her that they are not comfortable with the massage, so if she still does not seem to be listening, respectfully ask to end the session.