Have I convinced you of the importance of taking care of yourself as a parent or caregiver to a young child?
For the sake of this post, let's say so. Let's also say that a great massage is one of the ways you've chosen to make that happen. You've done your homework, and taken all the steps to prepare for a great massage...now what?
There are a few things you can do during and after your massage to make sure you have a great experience.
1. Relax....and Feel ComfortableUnless you're getting a seated or chair massage, it's likely that you'll be invited to remove some or all of your clothing before beginning your massage. Doing so allows the massage therapist to access muscles more easily, but it's up to you which pieces of clothing stay.
In order to get the most out of your massage, you have to be comfortable! If you're tense and worried about feeling bare, you won't enjoy your massage. Better to leave on a few bits of clothing and enjoy the experience than ruin the whole thing trying to conform to what you think the expectation is! At least in the US (other countries may allow different practices, always ask first!) you will always be fully covered except for the area being worked on, so no need to worry about feeling exposed!
How this is handled will vary from place to place. Some spas I've visited have had a locker room, and I've been given a robe to change into. Other places have showed me to the massage room then given me some privacy to change and climb onto the massage table and cover myself. (Outside the US, practices may vary - best to talk with your spa beforehand if this is a concern!)
2. Relax...and Clear Your MindI know how hard it can be to try to remove the thoughts of your kids, your to-do list, and everything else we have to handle on a day-to-day basis. I may or may not have written this post in my head while lying on a massage table (it wasn't the best massage I've ever had, needless to say...) so I definitely get it.
Try hard to to listen to the music playing, relax, and just be in the moment. A simple meditation technique I sometimes try is to just count deep breaths. Close your eyes, and breathe in slowly while counting 1...2...3...4...then breathe out slowly 1...2...3...4... do this for several cycles, and you should feel relaxed, and have a clear (or at least clearer mind).
3. Relax...and Make Sure You Enjoy the ExperienceA good massage therapist will know how to listen to your muscles and apply the right techniques to work with what they need. That doesn't mean they can read your mind, though! Sometimes, they might ask about areas you'd like to focus on, how much pressure you prefer, etc. before they start, others do not.
Regardless, if you're in the midst of a massage, and you'd like them to use more or less pressure, speak up! Sometimes massage might be a bit uncomfortable, especially if a therapist is working with especially tight muscles, but you should never be in ought right pain. Don't ever be afraid to ask the massage therapist to back of the pressure a bit or to let them know that you are experiencing pain.
A massage isn't one of the places I feel the need to chat with my practitioner throughout our time together. Don't feel like you have to be absolutely silent, though.