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How to Prepare for a Massage to Get the Maximum Benefits

How to Prepare for a Massage to Get the Maximum Benefits

Woman enjoying a massage

A massage is an inherently transportive and beneficial experience—you don’t need to do much but show up for it in order to reap its many rewards. But devoting a few extra minutes of time to preparing for a massage can help facilitate an even more rewarding massage experience by setting your mind at ease and allowing you to be fully immersed in the experience.

Here’s how to set the stage for your best-ever massage experience.

1. Book a Top Quality Therapist

  • Booking with Zeel? We take care of this for you, so you can skip to the next step!
  • Credentials: Most states in the U.S. require a massage therapy license or certificate. To ensure a high-quality, professional treatment, seek out a licensed or certified practitioner. Confirming that they carry liability insurance provides even more assurance of the practitioner’s professionalism and commitment to care.
  • Technique: Make sure to book the massage modality that suits your goals. Not quite sure what’s best? Explore the benefits of the most popular modalities: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, and our signature, relaxation-inducing sleep massage.

2. Create the Ideal Environment

  • Enjoying your massage at home? Designate a quiet, private space, where the treatment can take place uninterrupted (including by kids or pets). You’ll need about 6’ x 10’ of space for the therapist to set up the table and be able to move freely around it. 
  • Traveling to your massage? Make sure you’re clear on the exact location, how long it will take to get there, and what parking options are available. Running into a spa late, stressed, and out of breath will only cost you precious time unwinding when you could already be in the chill zone.
  • Arrive 10–15 minutes early for your scheduled “hands-on time” to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the time to which you’re entitled. If your therapist is coming to you, they should arrive 10-15 minutes early to set up.
  • No-phone zone: Silence or turn off your phone and other devices (including your smartwatch), and place them face down. If you must keep it on vibrate, place it on a soft surface, like a couch cushion, to absorb what can otherwise be a startlingly loud noise during the peacefulness of a massage. Even the experience of a phone or watch screen lighting up, can be distracting (for you and your therapist) and pull you back into the stresses of daily life.

3. Mentally Prepare for Your Massage

  • Clear your mind: Anything you can do to remove clutter, distractions, and stressors from your physical space will have the same effect on your frame of mind.
  • Breathe easy: Practicing some relaxing deep breathing, like this three-part breath exercise, will calm your mind, lower your blood pressure, and ready you to take in the massage’s benefits. The more relaxed you are going into your massage, the better you’ll feel leaving it.

4. Physically Prepare for Your Massage

  • Comfort above all: Uncomfortable, stiff, scratchy, or movement-restricting clothing can seriously dampen the effect of loosey-goosey muscular goodness a massage can impart, so whether you’re having a massage at home or a spa, make sure your apré-massage threads are soft, comfy, and easy to move in
  • Exercise early: If you intend to work out on the same day as getting a massage, most people prefer to do so in that order. Generally, exercise-motivation is lacking after receiving a massage—and the aforementioned loosey-goosey vibe can be incompatible with a demanding physical performance. 
  • Shower first: While you may want to shower after your massage to remove lotion or oil from your skin, there are benefits to showering beforehand, too. Massage warms the body by activating muscles and fascia and drawing blood to the surface of the skin, so taking a cool shower beforehand—especially in the summer—can help keep you at a comfortable body temp throughout the massage experience.
  • Make a pitstop: Swinging by the restroom before your massage will help ensure you are fully relaxed throughout the treatment and undisturbed by surprise biological needs.

5. Communicate With Your Therapist

  • State your needs: Before the massage begins, let the therapist know of any areas you’d like them to focus on and any aches or pains you’ve experienced recently, such as low back pain, muscle knots or cramps, or tension headaches. Trust me – they want to know!
  • State your ‘no’s: You should also let the therapist know of any areas you specifically don’t want touched—everyone’s boundaries unique, and your therapist wants to honor them.
  • Tune out: Your therapist may put relaxing music on in the background. If you’re not into it (or have other music in mind), tell them. The same goes for talking during your session.
  • Check in: During the massage, let the therapist know if you’d like more or less pressure applied. They may ask you directly, but even if they don’t, never hesitate to speak up—it’s your massage after all!
  • Time’s up: If you have a tight schedule, let the therapist know when you need to be getting off the table, so you can do so without feeling stressed.

6. Know your payment plan

  • After massage, you might experience the dreamy feeling known as “massage brain”—a pleasant state of hazy relaxation that can make fumbling around for a payment method into a challenging buzzkill. Knowing the process in advance will allow you to retain your chill.
  • Using Zeel? Payment is taken care of when you book, so it’ll never interfere with the enjoyment of your massage!
  • Ask ahead: Some therapists don’t take credit cards, some only take credit cards, some prefer Venmo, cash, or one of the numerous other options. The point is, find out their preference when booking, so you’re prepared. 
  • Tips appreciated: Most therapists accept tips, which are about the same as what you’d tip at a restaurant or salon: 15–25%. But, as with payment methods overall, tips are collected differently in different environments, so you should check on that policy while booking, too.
  • A tip for you: With Zeel, an 18% tip is automatically included in the price of your massage (100% of which goes to the therapist)—just one more thing you don’t have to worry about when enjoying a Zeel massage!

Everyone’s preferences, needs, and situations are different, so adjust the list above to your personal situation. The most important thing is to maximize your enjoyment of the massage and the rejuvenating benefits it brings. Ready to create your perfect massage experience?

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