Massage Therapists are interested in helping you feel better. Here’s how they can help make the massage table support you best during your massage therapy sessions:
You are probably aware of the fact that your body is not like everyone else’s. We are all uniquely shaped and no one massage table is going to be comfortable for everyone. This is why smart and savvy massage therapists use bolsters, pillows, blankets and towels to cushion and support where needed. We can and are able to do this most effectively with your participation. If something doesn’t feel superbly comfortable, then tell us.
Here are some examples of ways we can make you more cozy on the table so that you can truly relax and melt into bliss:
Foot/Knee Bolstering: You’ve probably already experienced this while on the massage table. Your MT placed a roundish or pillow-like bolster under your ankles to support your feet while you are face down. They also probably placed a similar bolster under your knees while you were face up to support your legs and lower back. These do not have to be placed - if you don’t like it, simply say so.
Breast Comfort: If you have breasts, especially large ones, it might be less than comfortable for you to lay face down and have a massage therapist pressing into your back. Though some massage tables are made to better accommodate breasts, all massage therapist can offer you the support you need by using specifically folded towels to cradle your breasts offering support so that you do not have the painful experience of feeling smashed into a massage table. Most likely, your therapist will not assume that you want this, so please ask for it if it is not offered. And if you’ve never tried this, you should ask the next time you’re on my table – I’d be happy to introduce you to the world of supported breasts during massage.
Rolled Up Towel Supports: Occasionally a massage therapist will utilize a rolled up towel or two to lift or widen an area of your body. For example, using smaller rolled up towels underneath the shoulders can help to reduce that rolled forward shoulder postural position so many of us have. Or, a toweled rolled up and placed vertically along your spine while you are face up can promote further widening/opening of your chest. This can help to expand the space of your diaphragm and increase your breathing capacity while encouraging better posture. There are so many ways a massage therapist might use rolled up towels to better support you on the table – just ask.
Horizontal Recumbent Massage: Have you ever be asked to lay on your side while receiving massage? If you’re my client, most likely you have or you will at some point. I love to utilize different positioning on the massage table to allow for a more comfortable experience and to better access the muscle tissues on which I am working. I use a firm rectangular support bolster for you to place your leg on and a nest of pillows for your upper body to sink into. This allows for deeper work and sometimes better access to the muscles that make up your legs and your hips. It can also be great to further work on your shoulders and you lower back from a different angle. By using different positions massage therapists are better able to create more range of motion and better function for your muscle and connective tissues. Also, it makes receiving massage therapy possible while you are pregnant or if it is simply uncomfortable for you to lay on your stomach or your back for 60-90 minutes at a time.
Massage Table Extensions: Massage tables can be extended using table extensions. If you have been on my table, you’ve seen and felt this and perhaps didn’t even know. I have a wider than normal table to allow you to really take up space on the table without feeling as though you’ve got to worry about what your arms are doing. I can also extend the bottom of the table so that your feet can have extra support if you are taller than the table – just ask.
Face Cradle Positioning: The place where your face goes when you are face down is called a face cradle. This makes it possible for you to lay face down without putting a twist in your neck. Ideally, this should be comfortable for you. If it is not in a position that makes you feel supported and comfortable, speak up. Your massage therapist can move it in many ways to make you feel more comfortable. They do sometimes make your nose run and it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a tissue when you need one.
Help yourself by asking
Your Massage Therapist wants you to feel as comfortable as possible while you are in their care.
There are so many ways massage therapists can help you feel most comfortable while receiving your bodywork session. The work we do together is always best with your participation. If you want something to support your differently or you wish that something was more comfortable, just speak up. If you are on my massage table, I am always happy to to offer whatever support system I have available to meet your need.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my second installation of Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You To Know. It is my goal to help you gain the most benefit possible from your massage therapy sessions. Please add you comments or questions below, I’d love to hear from you. And who knows, maybe your question will be the topic of my next post.
Until next week, be well…