Top tips on what to expect from massage therapy
Last updated: 03/08/2016
After a hard and stressful week, as a midweek treat, or a day out with friends, massage therapy, if done right, really is a luxury. The whole experience should feel comfortable and enjoyable right from the word go, whether in a spa or within your own home or yacht.
Here are some hints, tips and tricks advised by Bertrand Poncet Massages on what to expect when going for massage therapy.
Meeting and greeting… don’t be shy
It’s common practise for clients to have a very quick conversation with their therapist before the massage starts. This can help to settle any nerves, and encourage relaxation.
The therapist will want to know exactly what you love and hate, if you have any tender spots, or any areas you would like them to concentrate on. Most importantly, this is a perfect opportunity for you to ask any questions or concerns that you might have.
Bertrand from Bertrand Poncet Massages explained, “When we finish asking our clients what they want, we ask them: "Is there anything I should be aware of before we go ahead? We always adapt our service to every client.”
The 5 most popular therapies
There are many confusing massage terms out there, abhyanga, acrosage, berrywork, but what are the most popular therapies?
- Swedish massage therapy: First timers may be inclined to use this type of therapy as it is the most common and best-known type of massage used globally. Swedish massage therapy uses oils and various strokes that warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up “knots”.
- Deep Tissue Massage: According to both Relax Massage and Blue Tree Massage, deep tissue massage is having a moment, particularly on board superyachts. Isabelle from Relax Massage says, “Deep tissue is the most requested massage because the pressure and precision of the movements on muscular tensions almost make it a therapeutic massage.”
- Aromatherapy massage: As the name suggests, aromatherapy massage is a massage therapy with highly concentrated plant oils (essential oils) added to the massage oil or lotion. Such smells can affect the heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion and the immune system in a positive way.
- Hot stone massage: Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The therapist may also hold the stones and use them to gently massage certain areas of the body. This therapy is used to relax the muscles to allow the therapist to apply deeper pressure if required.
- Shiatsu: Similar to acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (“chee”) through the body.
The massage treatment room
No one wants to feel uncomfortable and somewhat vulnerable during a massage, and the treatment room should be as calm and relaxing as possible.
Expect neutral colours, including neutral uniforms. Often this will be white with just the company’s logo. The therapist will also not wear jewellery or at most, very minimal jewellery such as a wedding ring. As well as this, it is common that no strong perfumes or aftershaves will be worn as to not interfere with the beautiful oils used throughout.
Cleanliness and the massage table
Cleanliness plays a large part in enjoying the experience when having massage therapy; no one wants to be led on a dirty towel, in a dirty room. Clean sheets, a clean room, and clean hands are a must.
The massage table should be sturdy and of a good quality. Bertrand from Bertrand Poncet Massages said, “I use a ‘Oakwork’ branded table to guarantee a perfect positioning of the body and perfect alignment of the cervical rachis and the thoracic spine, perfect balance for relaxation, and clean fitted sheets for the client…
“When the client gets on the table we cover them in a cotton sheet to not lose any body heat, the client can be naked or dressed but always covered to avoid any "mishaps” and to preserve people’s decency.”
Temperature in the spa or yacht
With regards to the environment, the air conditioning is normally turned off or the temperature increased to a minimum 25 degrees, to make sure the client doesn't get cold or uncomfortable.
There are many types of oils that can be used, all serving a different purpose. The best oils are organic, these include, macadamia, soft almond, sesame, 90% vegetable oils and 10% essential oils, aromatherapy and four prepared oils.
- The first oil used is citrus based and helps with cerebral hyper activity (grapefruit, orange, lemon)
- The second contains rosemary and extracts of lentisk tree, helping with venous return (the flow of blood back to the heart), and helps with muscle irrigation
- Next, we use an oil again with rosemary and lemon eucalyptus. This oil is used for any muscular pains and is used regularly with athletes
- Last but not least, the fourth oil is neutral for those who don't want any smell, but still want the smoothness of the oil
Massage therapy: Finishing up
At the end of the massage, you should feel relaxed and comfortable, therefore, don’t feel as if you have to get up and leave in a hurry… always take your time. More often than not, the masseuse will lay their hands on their client’s back and may exclaim that the therapy is over.
Bertrand from Bertrand Poncet Massages said, “I manage over 70 masseurs, and after the massage we do not exclaim “there we go it’s over!”, we simply lay our hands on the clients back and slowly they will emerge from their slumber, we always let the client leave in their own time…”
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