As Mellow Massage and Yoga draws closer to a decade of serving the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond, we proudly acknowledge that we couldn't have done this without YOU, our extended Mellow Family. We love our clients and we enjoy interacting with you on a daily basis. Over the last several years we've collectively had thousands of conversations with you in person, on the phone, via email, and on social media. In light of those exchanges we offer you the Frequently Asked Massage Questions segment of our Stay Mellow blog in an effort to highlight questions you've asked us over the years AND to invite you to ask more!
"What should I call you--Masseuse or Massage Therapist?"
Mellow Massage and Yoga and other REPUTABLE establishments will only hire Licensed Massage Therapists. In the state of Pennsylvania, Licensed Massage therapists are professionals who have successfully completed at least 600 hours of study at a Massage schoolAND have passed the MBLEX or the NCBTMB. In addition, practicing Licensed Massage Therapists are required to have insurance and current CPR certification.
Masseuses have long been associated with facilities offering services no ethically sound Massage Therapist would ever want to be associated with. Even if they are able to perform some technique and massage strokes, you have no idea if a masseuse has received a proper education so proceed at your own risk!
"When my therapist leaves the room so I can undress, should I leave my underwear on or take them off?"
Before every massage you and your therapist should have a conversation to discuss any physical and/or medical factors that could impact your treatment and also to determine what your expectations are for the session. Following that conversation, the therapist usually explains the next part of the process and instructs you to undress to your level of comfort before leaving the room. If that means keeping your underwear (boxers, briefs, boy shorts etc.) on, then by all means, please do. If you prefer to take them off, again, please do. It really is all about what makes you most comfortable.
***Ladies the same idea applies if you are more comfortable keeping your bra on. Your therapist may ask if it is ok to unhook it to give you a thorough back massage. If you do not give consent they will adjust their technique and work around it!
As Licensed Massage Therapists we are trained professionals. The section of the body we are working on is the only part that is exposed at all times. As we work on that section of your body, we are mindful of what we observe, but our real focus is on the muscles, soft tissue, and underlying structures below.
"What should I do if the massage is painful, or if the therapist's touch is too light?"
As I've said in previous Stay Mellow blog posts, your comfort and ability to relax are extremely important to us and have a direct effect on the way your muscles and soft tissue respond to treatment. If you feel like the therapist's strokes are hurting you (even though they're done with the intentions of helping), then speak up. If their touch is so light you're wondering when the massage is going to start, don't hesitate to request more pressure. I assure you, you won't hurt your therapist's feelings. Communication is key to any relationship. The relationship between you, the client, and your therapist is no exception.
For the sake of clarity, I'd like to say there are times when a lighter and/or more firm touch are completely necessary. One example that most of us are familiar with is Trigger Point Therapy. Have you ever had a massage where out of nowhere your therapist touches a concentrated spot on your body that make you want to jump off the table? Chances are that was probably a latent trigger point. Unfortunately, as you quickly found out, the best way to relieve them is to apply a firm, consistent pressure on that very spot for a few seconds. OUCH!! The relief that follows is indescribable though. AHHHHH…..
Has your upper trap (around the upper shoulder blade to the top of the shoulder) ever been so tight it hurt when someone even THOUGHT of touching it? It could be the book bag or heavy purse you carry. Perhaps you are an exercise enthusiast or you're recovering from an injury. Or, as is my case, maybe stress and tension have claimed that area of your body as their permanent home. Whatever the cause, digging in with a deep pressure is probably not always the best idea. On occasion your therapist may decide to use Myofascial techniques to address your muscles on the superficial level and, potentially, areas deep down within the body. The interesting thing about this modality is that it is performed using the lightest touch you've ever felt while receiving a massage.
Of all the blogs I've written, I've enjoyed this one the most. I was a client of Mellow's for 6 years before becoming a therapist and joining the team. I can't help but chuckle when I find myself answering some of the questions I once asked and even some of the ones I could never build up the nerve to! If you'd like your question featured in the next installment of Stay Mellow's Frequently Asked Massage Questions please post it on any of our social media pages followed by the hashtag #StayMellow or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.