If you need to unwind and the app you purchased to help you relax isn’t cutting it, the next action you may consider is to book a massage. Massages can be an absolutely heavenly experience where you fall asleep and wake up 59 minutes later with a little drool on your face—they can also feel like a low intensity partner workout. No matter what kind of massage you prefer, there are many options when it comes to an hour (more or less) of muscle relaxation and pampering.
Massages are typically purchased in 30, 60, 90 and 120 minute sessions. If improved self care is on your list of things to do this year, massage packages and monthly memberships are also available at a discounted or reduced rate at many places. Depending on your neighborhood, rent, and wages, prices for a single massage in the Seattle area range from:
Here are your most pressing questions answered when booking a massage.
Most massage studios will offer a menu of massage modalities and add-on services such as aromatherapy, hand/foot treatments, face masks, scalp massages, and more. Here we have included the most popular types of massages offered.
Swedish massage: one of the most popular massage types that includes kneading, rubbing, and stroking your muscles. You’ll find Swedish massages relaxing and available worldwide on most spa menus.
Shiatsu massage: another popular massage, Shiatsu massage focuses on circular finger pressure on a specific location. If you’re at a spa, your therapist will likely use a combination of Swedish and Shiatsu massage techniques.
Couple’s massage: not just for couples—this side-by-side massage features you and your +1 in the same room with two massage therapists.
Deep tissue: this massage modality works the top layers of muscle, fascia, and connective tissue to release tension and relax the body.
Sports massage: similar to a deep tissue massage, a sports massage focuses on muscle recovery, mobility, and circulation.
Pregnancy massage: performed on your side or with bolsters and pillows, pre & post natal massages focus on a gentler touch to warm and stretch muscles. Confirm the massage therapist you are seeing is trained in pregnancy massage prior to booking.
Hot stone massage: polished stones are warmed to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit and placed directly on the body. Muscles receive a direct transfer of heat, which soothes muscles to relax during the massage.
Thai massage: while wearing loose fitting clothing and laying on a floor mat, your massage therapist assists you through a series of full body stretches.
Cupping: special cups are placed on or moved on your skin to create a suction. Cupping can increase blood flow and relive pain—it may also leave circular marks on your skin, which can last few days.
Unless you’re in a physical therapy office, which may have brighter lights and a more medical appearance, most massage rooms are dimly lit and tranquil places. Quiet background music and aromatherapy are usually part of the experience. At the very least you’ll find a massage table with a sheet and blanket and a place to hang your belongings. Before you begin, your massage therapist will go over any areas you would like to focus on or avoid, and any current or past injuries. They will also ask you what kind of pressure you prefer—firm, medium, or soft. Once you’ve established a game plan, the therapist will leave the room, you’ll undress to your comfort level, and lie down on the table (usually face down) under the sheet. Massage therapists use either massage oil or lotion during the massage. After your massage starts, the massage therapist will check in if the pressure is ok and if you’re comfortable. If you want them to change something (e.g. pressure, music, temperature, volume), speak up.
If it is your first massage, or the first time meeting with a particular massage therapist, they will tell you to dress to your comfort level. That may mean going down to your underwear, or fully nude. Whatever you decide, you’ll be fully covered underneath a sheet that gets tucked and draped over your body to keep you covered. Note: If you’re receiving a Thai massage, you will wear loose fitting clothing.
Do not worry or apologize for your body, scars, or unshaved legs. Massage therapists are focused on your muscles and fascia—not your skin and hair.
Talking and small talk are certainly fine during your massage, especially if it is to let the massage therapist know if you’re uncomfortable or the pressure isn’t right. If there is an area of your body that you don’t like being touched or is particularly ticklish, let them know before the massage. Keep conversation professional and focused. In many cases, your massage therapist is a stranger and while they may listen, they do not need to know the intimate details of your life.
Tipping is appreciated in most spas and massage therapy studios. The amounts may vary, but 15-20% is standard.
It depends. Take a close look at your health insurance policy. If it does cover massage therapy, contact your doctor for a prescription for massage therapy and a referral.
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