Karen Small...Creating space for healing and change



How to Get the Most from Your Session

A very important factor in getting results from a therapeutic bodywork session is YOU. Bodyworkers are not responsible for the changes you'll experience; they don't "fix you". The role of the bodyworker is to assist you in reaching the best state for your body to heal and change. This rarely happens without your active participation both in and out of the session. An amazing part of therapeutic bodywork is the increased body awareness that you will develop. This increased awareness affects all aspects of your life and helps you to transform into the person you are meant to be.

That being said, below are listed some of the practical ways in which you can participate in your wellness process (adapted from the AMTA website):

  • Be on time for your appointment. If you arrive in a hurried, stressed state, it will take longer to get to relax.
  • Try not to eat heavily within an hour or two of your appointment.
  • As much as possible, be open-minded to the possibilities. If you are highly doubtful that bodywork can help your problem, it probably won't.
  • You are invited to undress to your comfort level. If you choose to leave some clothing on, be aware that oil may get on your clothing. When leaving on more layers than underclothes, please choose loose-fitting clothing that you will be comfortable wearing and that will allow your bodyworker to access areas requiring work. Please be assured that you will be modestly draped during the entire session.
  • Please give your bodyworker accurate health information, updated each session if there have been changes.
  • Communication is essential to effective bodywork. Before the session, let your bodyworker know of any questions, concerns or preferences. During the massage session, let your bodyworker know if there is a problem with or question about the massage (pressure, speed, area being worked on, technique being used, lotion choice) or the environment (temperature, music, lighting, smells, noises). This is your session, and you are paying for it, so never be afraid to speak up for yourself. Most bodyworkers welcome the feedback and vital communication.
  • While you are encouraged to communicate about the session with your bodyworker, be aware that chatting during the session is not necessarily helpful to the process. It may prevent you from fully relaxing and being involved in the process. On the other hand, if you need to chat to relax, feel free to do so.
  • Deep, slow belly breathing can help induce the relaxation response and allow you to release tension. This is especially helpful if the work being done is on a tender, sore muscle or in an emotionally sensitive area. Pay attention to your breathing during the session and notice if you are holding your breath or if the rate changes. When possible it helps to breathe deeply into the area being worked upon. Your bodyworker may bring your awareness to your breath by breathing more deeply and audibly themself.
  • Pay attention to the tension in your body during the session. You may notice that you are tightening up your muscles unconsciously. This may be due to habitual body tension or may be in response to the work being done. If you are able to, relax the tight muscles and let your bodyworker know if you are finding it difficult to stay relaxed. If the tension is due to the work, let your bodyworker know so they can adjust the session. Tensing muscles in response to work that is too intense for you is counterproductive to the goals of the session.
  • If you find it difficult to quiet your mind during the session, you can try following the hands of your bodyworker and focus on the touch. You can also focus on your breath. If you successfully relax you may find yourself drifting in and out in a pleasant, blissful healing state.
  • If at anytime during the session you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to ask your bodyworker to stop. If necessary, you also have the right to end the session.
  • At the end of a session, you may feel lightheaded and woozy. Carefully take your time getting off the table and give yourself time to readjust before continuing with your day.
  • Comfortably drinking more than your usual amount of water after a massage can assist in flushing out the toxins released by the work. Drinking more water before the session is also helpful. Oftentimes this will head off the phenomenon of soreness sometimes experienced after bodywork.
  • If possible, plan on some quiet time after bodywork, allowing you space to process and integrate the work more consciously.
  • Bodywork's effects are cumulative. Each session builds upon the effects of the last session and the effects increase as you learn to receive the work at its fullest potential. Regularly receiving bodywork is the best way to affect long-lasting change.
Feel Better...Peform Better...Sleep Better...Think Better...Be Better

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Wellness is so much more than the absence of illness...
It is a path towards a healthy balance in mind, body and spirit.
Regularly receiving bodywork is a fundamental step along that path.

Karen Small
Licensed Massage Therapist
Westerly, RI

Copyright © 2008 by Karen Small.
All rights reserved.