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New to Massage: FAQ

What to expect from your first massage.

Is the massage going to hurt?

It shouldn't hurt, Sykora says. But you should keep the lines of communication open.

"If a therapist is pressing too deeply in an area," Sykora says, "you should tell them, 'That's sensitive.' Or 'That's a little too much. Can you lighten up?'"

"You should never have to endure a massage," Fritz says. "You shouldn't have to lay there and grit your teeth. It may feel significant, but not make you stiffen up."

Should I talk during the massage?

It's up to you. Some people like to remain quiet and listen to music during the massage. Others like to make light conversation. Tell your massage therapist your preference.

"Whether you like to talk or stay quiet, you should absolutely tell the massage therapist if you're uncomfortable -- if you're too hot, too cold, or can't stand the music," Sykora says.

What if I fall asleep?

You may get drowsy during the massage, so don't worry if you fall asleep. "That's actually a good thing," Sykora says. "I know they are relaxed. But I will wake them up at the end. Taking a few minutes to yourself after the massage is over is always a good thing."

How will I feel after the massage?

You should feel some relief after a massage, Sykora says. Sometimes you may experience 24-48 hours of soreness. But it should be "a good kind of sore, like you had a workout," Sykora says.

After a massage, you should feel relaxed and mellow, a little bit like you've had a glass of wine, Fritz says. "That has to do with the changes in neurochemicals like serotonin and endorphins," she says.

But don't expect that a one-time massage will solve a lifelong backache or other chronic pain.

"A lot of people expect to be cured in an hour," Sykora says. "I'll ask them, 'How long did it take you to get this backache and how long have you had it?' For many things, such as a backache, it's a cumulative effect and you may need several consecutive treatments."

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Reviewed on September 01, 2010

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