Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: October 2016

The 12 steps to getting a great massage

It's true that when you go for a massage, you are in the therapist's hands. But that doesn't mean you have no control over your session. In fact, you have the power to help make your massage a success. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your massage.

1) Make sure the therapist is state licensed. Practicing massage without a license is not only illegal, it's dangerous.

2) Tell the therapist everything you can about your health history, even if you don't think it's relevant. For example, you are seeking massage therapy to treat your headaches, and you may not think there is any reason to mention that you got whiplash from an automobile accident ten years ago. Believe it or not, that could be a major factor in your headache pain. Telling the therapist about your ancient accident may help her to work more specifically on the ligaments that typically endure long-term damage from whiplash.

3) Make sure the therapist is really listening to you. Is she looking you in the eye? Is she taking notes? Is she asking appropriate follow-up questions?

4) If you are unsure of anything, ask. Don't be embarrassed to ask questions. Knowing what is expected of you helps you to feel more relaxed about your session. Examples of questions you might ask your therapist are how much clothing to take off, what kind of massage creams or oils are used (if you have have allergies or sensitivities, let your therapist know), or where the bathroom is.

5) Remove any jewelry you are wearing and put in it safe place, like your pants pocket or purse. Jewelry can interfere with the massage. For example, it is difficult for the therapist to massage your neck if he is worried about yanking your necklace.

6) Along the same lines as jewelry, if you have long hair, it's a good idea to tie it up.

7) Remember that this is your time and you need to feel safe and comfortable. If it doesn't feel right, speak up. For example, the therapist is using too much or too little pressure, the music is too loud or distracting, the room is too warm or too cold, etc. Don't worry about seeming nit picky. Good therapists prefer to know your preferences so that they can give you the best possible treatment.

8) Don't be afraid to make requests. For example, if you love scalp massage, ask your therapist to spend some extra time there.

9) After the session, get up slowly. Notice any changes you feel in your body and in your movement. If you had pain before the session, has it decreased, increased, or stayed the same? If you came in feeling tight and stiff, do you now feel more flexible? If you were anxious, do you feel more relaxed?

10) Ask your therapist if she has any suggestions for you, such as an exercise, a stretch, an article to read - anything that will help you extend the benefits of your session.

11) Think about your treatment and gauge whether your therapist really listened to you during your intake and personalized the treatment session to meet your individual needs and requests.

12) If you liked your therapist, book your next appointment before you leave. Time has a tendency to slip away from us and we forget to take care of ourselves. Booking your next appointment right away will help you remember to make your health a priority. If you didn't like your therapist, keep looking. Not all massage therapists are created equal. You will eventually find the one who makes your life better.

How to calm your anxiety in social settings

Do stressful events like job interviews, first dates, and public speaking give you the jitters? Anxiety might be interfering with your ability to focus, listen, process information, and perform. Discover some great tips on how to inconspicuously calm yourself in anxiety-provoking social situations. Use the techniques in this video to calm your nerves, gain confidence, and remain focused.

What's new with me ...

It's taking longer than I had hoped, but I'm very close to having my book published. I'll keep you posted and let you know as soon as it's available. I'm eager to share my story with you.

But the real writer in the family is turning out to be 3-year-old Sienna. She makes up countless stories and songs on a daily basis. We've caught some on them on video - you can see them and lots of new photos here!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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