What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) to enhance a person’s health and well-being. Massage is one of the oldest healing arts, dating back thousands of years. Techniques have evolved greatly over time to create modern massage modalities. Among the most popular are Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, and Therapeutic Massage.
With more than 250 varied massage modalities, techniques are often combined to create a truly personalized massage to address the client’s unique needs. Massage therapy has proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including reduced back pain, increased joint flexibility, stress reduction, and much more.
The Goal of Massage
Massage is most often used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and relieve pain. It can also relieve muscle tension, improve skin integrity, reduce frequency of headaches and migraines, help improve sleep, relieve digestive issues, reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation, and may improve blood flow, restore normal joint movement, and relieve pressure on nerves.
Regular massage appointments can help maintain the body, helping to support normal body health. Weekly massage sessions give the same results as mild exercise, such as walking for 30 minutes, thus aiding weight maintenance or weight loss.
Massage and Chiropractic
Chiropractic care and massage are compatible holistic therapies working together for your optimum health and well-being. Chiropractic is a natural form of healthcare that uses spinal adjustments to correct misalignments and restore proper function to the nervous system, helping your body to heal naturally. In some cases, the muscles around the spine become too tight and can make an adjustment more difficult. In such cases, massage therapy aids the effectiveness of a chiropractic adjustment by reducing spastic and tight muscles.
The Benefits of Massage
- Decrease blood pressure
- Increase circulation
- Increase range of motion
- Increase flexibility
- Increase immunity
- Decrease frequency of headaches/migraines
- Improve skin integrity
- Decrease stress
- Manage pain
- Decrease inflammation
- Better sleep
- Ease symptoms of depression
- Decrease pain of osteoarthritis
- Promote relaxation
- Decrease anxiety
- Promote nervous system function
- Improve mood
- Improve lymph flow
Frequently Asked Questions About Massage
Q: How far do I undress for my massage?
A: You can undress to your comfort level, if this means leaving all your clothes on or taking them all off, or somewhere in between, it all works! Your massage therapist will discuss this with you at your appointment.
Q: How long does my massage last?
A: Massages are scheduled every hour, on the hour. Your massage therapist will leave five minutes at the beginning of the appointment for you to discuss any needs and prepare for the massage, and five minutes at the end of your appointment for you to dress. This means that your massage will last 50 minutes.
Q: What happens at a massage appointment?
A: You will join your massage therapist in the therapy room where you will go over any questions that you might have, discuss any concerns, and prepare for your massage. The massage therapist will then leave the room and give you a few minutes to undress to your comfort level and situate yourself on the massage table. When the massage therapist re-enters the room, your massage will begin. Please communicate throughout the massage your desired pressure level and any concerns that may come up. At the conclusion of your massage, the therapist will again leave the room and give you a chance to get yourself ready to re-enter the real world (we are sorry, this must happen). Your massage therapist will meet you outside the massage therapy room when you are ready and give you some parting advice.
Q: Is it okay if I come get a massage if I am not freshly clean, or should I shower first?
A: This is a personal decision based on your comfort level, but the massage therapist does not expect a squeaky clean body. Of course, if you have been rolling around in mud, it might be a good idea to clean up a bit. 😉
Q: What if I forgot to shave my legs, should I cancel my appointment?
A: No. Unshaved legs, or armpits, or anywhere else does not bother the massage therapist. Remember, we require a 24-hour notice for any cancelled appointments.
Q: Should I talk during my massage?
A: If you want to talk, then yes. If you don’t want to talk, then no. This is your massage appointment and we want you to be as comfortable as possible.
Q: What if the massage therapist is pushing too hard or not hard enough?
A: Please communicate your pressure preferences throughout the appointment. Your massage therapist wants you to leave feeling good and this is only possible if you communicate your needs throughout the session. Different areas of the body can tolerate different pressure levels, so feel free to change your pressure request level at any time.
Q: Can I get a massage if I am pregnant?
A: It depends on how far along you are. It is the opinion of our massage therapist that if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant (in your first trimester), massage is not recommended. If you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester, massage is completely safe, and it will feel amazing!
Q: Should I get a massage if I am injured?
A: It depends on the injury. If you have an acute injury, such as a broken bone or an open wound, it probably isn’t a good idea to massage the area of the injury. Feel free to discuss your unique situation with the massage therapist prior to your appointment to determine the best course of action. If you have any injury, always mention it to your therapist prior to your massage. Injury massage techniques differ from other massage modalities. You will receive your best care if you communicate your needs and concerns with your massage therapist.
Q: Should I reschedule my appointment if I am sick?
A: Yes. If you have an active cold, flu or fever, please cancel your appointment. Not only will your massage therapist appreciate you not sharing your germs with her, but your body will thank you as well. Massage can sometimes make an active illness worse.
Q: What about skin conditions?
A: If you have a sunburn, please reschedule your appointment. You will not be a happy camper after having inflamed skin massaged for an hour. You should also reschedule your appointment if you have open sores, including acne, or any contagious skin conditions.
Q: What doesn’t bother the massage therapist? (a.k.a. bad excuses for missing a massage)
A: Unshaved legs, dirty feet (you can request a damp washcloth if this bothers you), hair not in ponytail (we have single use hair ties you can use), hairy backs, hairy people, make-up on (don’t worry about staining the table). None of these excuses are good enough to miss your hour of relaxation and bliss, a.k.a. Massage appointment.
Q: Is it a good idea to get frequent massages?
A: Yes. Regular massage appointments (weekly) have the same effect on the body as mild exercise, it’s like going on a 30-minute walk; it releases endorphins helping you to feel better and can assist in weight-loss when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Regular Massages also help improve skin integrity, improve circulation, decrease muscle soreness, and are one of the only ways (besides exercise) to circulate lymph fluids, which is especially important after you have been sick. So, frequent massages are definitely a good idea. Feel free to discuss your options with your massage therapist to find a frequency that is appropriate for you.
A Little More Information...
- There will be a cancellation fee assessed for cancellations with less than 24 hours notice.
- Massages start every hour, on the hour.
- We do not offer extended length, 90-minute massages.
- Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
- If you are not a current patient of Dr. Barefoot, you will need to fill out a massage intake form. Click here to print from home, or arrive at your appointent 10 minutes early to fill out form in office.