People use massage for a wide variety of health-related intents.  Here are some answers to  frequently asked questions about massage therapy.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy, also known as Swedish massage, is the most common form of massage therapy in the United States.  Massage therapists use long, smooth strokes, kneading and other movements focused on superficial layers of muscle using massage oil or lotion.


How Does Massage Therapy Work?

Massage therapy improves circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. It relieves muscle tension and pain, increases flexibility and mobility, and helps clear lactic acid and other waste, which reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.


Will Massage Therapy Be Painful?

Massage therapy shouldn't hurt. Occasionally there is mild tenderness when the massage therapist applies pressure over "knots" and other areas of muscle tension. If the pressure is too strong for you, let the massage therapist know immediately.


Why Do People Get Massage Therapy?

People get massage therapy for relaxation or for a variety of health conditions:

·       Back pain

·       Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis

·       Stress relief and stress-related conditions

·       Headaches and migraines

·       Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains

·       Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome

·       Circulatory and respiratory problems

·       Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation

Massage therapy relieves stress. It is thought to help the body's stress response by lowering levels of hormones such as cortisol.  Massage therapy also appears to enhance immune function.


What a Typical Massage Therapy Session is Like

Your massage will begin with a brief consultation and review of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.  A typical “one hour” massage therapy session is between 50 and 55 minutes. This allows a few minutes before and after your session for undressing and dressing.  You will be asked to undress to the point you are comfortable while the massage therapist is out of the room, and lie face down under a sheet/blanket on a padded massage table.   Many people keep their underwear on or you maybe completely nude under the sheet/blanket, the choice is yours.


You are underneath the sheet at all times, and in Texas, only the part of the body being treated at any one time is uncovered.  The massage therapist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready. The massage therapist re-enters the room and will then adjust the face rest and pillows to ensure that you are comfortable and properly positioned. Tell the massage therapist if the temperature is comfortable for you (or if you need it warmer or cooler).


The massage therapist uses a light oil or lotion on the skin and begins the massage. A full body massage usually begins on the back and then moves down to the legs. You will then be asked to turn over so that you are face up while the massage therapist holds the sheet in position to avoid accidental exposure. The massage continues on your arms, legs, neck, and abdomen.  After the massage, the massage therapist leaves the room so you can get changed.  Take your time getting up to avoid becoming lightheaded or dizzy.


How Will I Feel After a Massage?

Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. Occasionally, people experience mild temporary aching for a day or so.  The aching or soreness can be mostly prevented by drinking plenty of water



Massage therapy is not recommended for certain conditions:

·       People with infectious skin disease, rash, or on or around open wounds

·       Immediately after surgery

·       Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor

·       People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage. Also, massage should never be done below an area of a varicose (thrombosed) vein.

·       Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage. 

Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.


Additional Massage Tips

·       Don't eat a heavy meal before the massage.

·       Take your time getting up after a massage. If you sit up or stand too quickly you may feel lightheaded or dizzy.

·       Drink plenty of water after the massage and use the bathroom frequently to help flush toxins from the body.

·       If it's your first time visiting Southwest Massage, arrive at least 5-10 minutes early to complete the necessary forms. Otherwise, arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.


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