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Can I Massage your Obturator Internus?

I recently attended a deep tissue massage course in Sydney where I was introduced to the obturator internus muscle. I probably should have known where it is in the body and what it does but, I have to admit, I didn’t. The reason being is that it is in a pretty personal part of the body that I tend to stay away from during professional massage.

Now the formal description of the location of this muscle is that it “originates on the medial surface of the obturator membrane, the ischium near the membrane, and the rim of the pubis”. In language a little easier to understand it runs from the pelvic floor muscle, under and around sit bone (the ischial tuberosity) and attaches near the femoral head in the hip. It is one of a group of muscles that laterally rotates the hip (and it also assists in the abduction of the thigh).

Although I can understand that as a hip rotator that it may be important to release the obturator internus if someone is having hip problems, but given that I was not aware of it before the course, I think it is probably less important than other hip rotators such as piriformis.

On the course we spent over an hour talking about the obturator internus, receiving demonstrations on how to massage it and then practising working on it. All well and good in terms of improving the knowledge and education of the therapists, learning in a safe and supervised session. There seemed to be a real buzz and energy in the class about this one muscle that unnerved me though.

Although we are only talking about soft tissue bodywork, working in and around this part of the body is fraught with danger. If I went into see a therapist for the first time and they started massaging my obturator internus, I would be concerned that I was in the wrong type of massage establishment.

It is a highly personal area of the body that, in my view, the vast majority of massage therapists should never consider working. Yes knowledge of the anatomy and physiology is good but this type of bodywork should only be performed by therapists who are recognised as being experts and specialists in working with hip and pelvic floor issues (releasing and relaxing the obturator internus may be indicated with people who have a dysfunctional pelvic floor).

  
I would probably include massage to the coccyx in the same category – yes there are times when it may be indicated, yes most therapists could probably do effective body work in and around the coccyx. But in my view, probably best that coccyx massage is left to those who consider themselves to be specialists.

Maybe I picked up the vibe of the class wrong but just seemed that there was going to be a whole group of therapists targeting this previously unheralded muscle on an unsuspecting public.

Suffice to say though that you can rest assured that I would never be asking you the title question of this post.

Massage – Concord

Concord is becoming a popular suburb to choose to live in particularly for those who are looking for a suitable locale in which to bring up a family. There is a large amount of parkland and green space through the suburb yet, out of peak hour, it is still only about 20 minutes drive to Sydney’s CBD or alternatively, the railway passes close by at Concord West and North Strathfield.

With the growth in popularity of Concord there has come a commensurate growth in the number of services such as restaurants, and cafes. But walk down Majors Bay Road or Concord Road and you may struggle to find the number of massage clinics that you would find in a suburb such as Glebe, Leichhardt or Balmain other than maybe a Thai massage spa or two.

There are a couple of therapists operating out of their homes but if you are struggling to find a suitable therapist in Concord who is open at a time that suits you then maybe you should be considering having a mobile massage.

If you are looking for a remedial, sports or pregnancy massage in and around the Concord area, Inner West Mobile Massage has been providing quality home massage service since 2005. Therapists are potentially available 7 days a week (including Sunday massage in Concord) including evenings. For more information then check out www.innerwestmassage.com.au/massage_concord.php.

Our therapists are accredited with professional bodywork associations in Australia (such as ATMS) and we can provide health funds receipts for remedial massage. We arrive with all the equipment we need, massage table, towels and oils. All we need from you is a suitable space in which to work.

Obviously the more notice that you provide the better but often there may be therapists available at relatively short notice. For those who like to book directly online then online bookings are available for some therapists through Online massage booking).

Please note that we only provide therapeutic massage services and whilst there are both female and male therapists available for mobile massage, we will only accept bookings with female therapists from females.

If you would like more information or would like to make a phone booking then please give us a call on 0421 410057.

By Richard Lane

Sydney Mobile Massage Etiquette and Suggestions

If you search the internet for articles about massage etiquette then there are plenty to choose from. Many of these talk about how to prepare, what to expect, how to behave during massage, tipping etc. I thought that it would be appropriate to discuss massage etiquette for mobile massage and have a think about whether there are any differences in the etiquette for massage in home and massage at a Sydney clinic or day spa.

Now, there are probably not many differences in reality between a mobile massage and a clinic but given the massage is in your home there are slight differences.

mobile massage etiquetteFrom the therapists point of view, it is respectful that you are ready at the appointed time for the session and that you have prepared a suitable space in which the therapist can work in. If you prefer to have a shower prior to your massage then please do not wait until the therapist arrives as your therapist may be on a schedule that requires them to finish on time.

As an aside we feel that it is a courtesy for you to have showered prior to your massage. However, please do not feel self concious about your body, for example the fact that you haven’t had time to shave your legs is simply not an issue for us. What you wear or don’t wear has been covered in a previous post.

If you know you that you may be running late then give your therapist as much warning as possible so that if there is the opportunity for them to juggle their schedule a little to accommodate you then they have the maximum chance to do so.

Try to have the massage in a part of the house that provides the therapist a reasonable space in which they can set up their table and that is in a relatively quiet part of the house. However, if space is at a premium or the massage needs to be in a high traffic area then so be it – the therapist will be able to work (but it’s just preferable to have space/quiet). If the massage is to be in winter or the cooler months then try to ensure that the room is heated as you will cool down when you are on the table.

As with any massage, remember that it is your massage. You are paying so you are the one in control. If you want to talk or not to talk then an experienced therapist will pick up on your vibes and should behave accordingly. If you want more or less pressure during the massage then let the therapist know. Also if you feel that your therapist is spending too long or too little on one body area then talk to them – communicating how to the therapist how their bodywork is being received will provide you with a better experience and a better outcome in the form of greater muscle/soft tissue release or stress release.

We prefer you to have your phones and the television turned off but again, it is your massage so if that is what you want then that is up to you. It is just our suggestion that you will be able to relax more if there is gentle music or silence rather than a TV blasting.

Pets can occasionally interrupt a session so if you know that your dog or cat is likely to jump up on the table when you are just about to float away in a blissful haze, then try to ensure that that won’t happen before the massage begins.

The usual stuff regarding massage boundaries and draping applies to having a mobile massage as opposed to clinic or spa. Please do not expect that because the therapist is in your home or hotel room that they would behave any differently to if they were in therapeutic massage clinic.

  
If you have any concerns or questions about having a massage at home then please raise them when you call to make a booking. As well talk to the therapist before the session begins about what you specifically want from the massage (and also what you don’t want eg if you don’t like having your feet touched then let them know).

Hopefully these comments and suggestions will mean that when you book your next massage with us, you will be able to realise the great benefits that having a mobile massage in Sydney brings.

By Richard Lane

Running Late for Mobile Massage

Our last post was on the subject of cancellations and our policy on the very rare occasions that they occur for our Sydney mobile massage business. Recently I was asked a question on a similar topic of what was our policy if the client was running late. Are we flexible with time or do the therapists stick strictly to the appointed times?

My initial response was something along the lines

well as we are professionals and we may have other bookings to go to then we do need to keep to our timetable. Obviously if we can be flexible we will but if there is a scheduling clash then sorry if you are running late then you will be the one to have reduced massage time.

Sydney mobile massageHer follow-up question was well what happens if the therapist is running late?

Again to me it seems standard business practice that if we are running late then the client will still get full time on the table. (as an aside, we do not run late as a rule although occasionally circumstances beyond our control can affect the travel time between appointments)

Only after the conversation did it occur to me that it may appear that we have double standards, it’s ok on those rare occasions that we are running late but not ok if the client is late.

I posed this as a question on a massage forum and some of the response from other therapists are listed below.

If you have another client immeditately following, then you really have no choice but to cut the session short for the late client. It’s out of your control. They should understand.

I think if we (massage therapist) were running late, then we make the sacrifice and work over our expected time, as should they sacrifice if running late. If I don’t have other commitments, I always give them their full hour. If I have someone coming in after them, then I don’t make my arriving client wait for me to finish, when they arrived on time.

You’re paying for my time; how you use it is up to you. If there is a good excuse and I can do the full hour I will.
You have to train your clients to respect you as a professional.

I am the one traveling, so sometimes unexpected things may arise on my journey from one client to another (traffic, accident, road closures, etc.). Those are out of my personal control. However, the client should know that their massage is at X time, in their home or where ever, therefore they should know to not do anything or go anywhere that would make them late. It is their only massage that day, not ours, so they need to understand that. If they are late, I would charge them the full amount of their appointment (you could have scheduled another person during that time that would not have been late) and do the massage in the amount of time they have left you. If it is continuous or they have a problem with that explain that your schedule does not revolve around them, and if they do not like it they can find another therapist that can revolve around them.

First time, with good cause, if be lenient. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Certainly it would appear to be a double standard if we expect our clients to understand when we are running late due to things beyond our control such as traffic delays but then have a hard line policy for them being on time all the time. So I do try to be understanding if a client appears to have a legitimate reason for running late and give them the full massage time IF my schedule allows. Although as a mobile therapist I’ve rarely had this situation occur, the vast majority of people are home waiting for me to arrive. For the very few who weren’t I’ve had to have the sometimes awkward talk about shortening their appointment time due to another commitment. It’s about setting appropriate boundaries, not always easy or fun but always essential for your well-being as both a business owner and an individual.

This is a good question. I always schedule at least 30 minutes between appointments and lately more like 45. If we start late I still give them their full time (up to a point-usually 10 to 15 minutes. I’ve found that by being somewhat flexible with my clients they are flexible with me when I need it.

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The consensus of the comments was that it is ok for this apparent double standard ie reasonable mobile massage therapists to expect clients to be ready on time but require the clients to have a little understanding if we are running a little late because we are the ones who are faced with the variables which are outside of our control (ie traffic).

As mentioned at the start though we will try to be as flexible as our schedule permits if you are running late for legimate reasons.

Massage and Cancellation Policies

Probably the 2nd most popular topic amongst massage therapists on internet forum and discussion sites is the issue of cancellation policies. Go to any forum and there will be countless posts from therapists asking what is the best cancellation policy and what is the best way to enforce it.

Cancellation policy for massageThe breakdown of responses tends to be split into two:
(1) I have a strict cancellation policy and I will enforce it without fail.
(2) I have a cancellation policy but will take each cancellation on a case-by-case basis.

Most cancellation policies will only come in force either for same-day cancellations or with less than 24 hours notice. Some will charge the full amount, others a proportion of the fee.

Those who go for option (1) above will often respond by saying that it is essential for the professionalism of the massage industry that therapist stick to their guns and be firm.

So long as the client is fully aware of this when making a booking then this is a perfectly fair and reasonable approach. We are professionals so why should we lose out if the client has to cancel for whatever reason. If the therapist is working in a clinic or day spa then there is rent to pay. If they are unable to fill the slot then they will be out of pocket for the cancellation or no-show.

I personally adopt option (2) and prefer to be a little more flexible with cancellation policies. Sometimes circumstances are simply beyond the clients control and as a business decision then it may be better to waive charges. If, for example, someone wakes up in the morning feeling feverish, then effectively forcing them to have a massage otherwise they would be charged a full cancellation fee, could be considered as borderline unprofessional.

Formally our cancellation policy is:

We understand that life is unpredictable and personal circumstances can change at short notice. We prefer not to charge a cancellation fee if there is no impact on the time/scheduling of the therapist. However, we are professional therapists and this is how we earn our living. We reserve the right to charge up to 100% of the fee based on the amount of cancellation notice given and the impact on the therapist(s) involved (for example, travel time/ travel costs/other bookings that have been knocked back)

which is probably too woolly for the strict ‘cancellation policies must be enforced’ brigade.

For me, the overriding factor is whether the client respects my professionalism if and when they cancel within the timelines of our cancellation policy. Respect that my time is of value and this is how I make my living and I will respect that you are cancelling because you have to not because you want to.

However, one of the reasons for cancelling at short notice is that you have to stay back at work or you have been called into work unexpectedly. Whilst this is a part of life that may be unavoidable, I do have to say that it is not a reason for us not to charge you.

Very occasionally a client may say that ‘well you aren’t paying rent so if I cancel then there’s no impact to you’. However, this fails to respect that we have planned our day around seeing them at a given time and we suddenly have a huge hole in our day (appointment time + travel time). Being out on the road it is not always the case that we go to our home base or use the time effectively. Also we may have had to knock back other clients so we have also lost earning potential or had to make personal arrangements to take the booking (ie some therapists need to arrange childcare or the like).

  
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By the way, I don’t want this post to sound like a whinge. Cancellations for our mobile massage businesses are significantly rarer than clinics and it is highly unusual for us to charge a fee. The upshot is that we don’t like charging a cancellation fee as it is never a satisfactory outcome for anybody but we will do so when circumstances dictate that it the right thing to do with respect to our business.

By Richard Lane

Choosing a Massage School

There are any number of reasons why someone may want to enrol in a massage school. It may be a general interest in helping family and friends though bodywork. Alternatively, you may be looking for your first vocational training after leaving school. Or you may be looking for a career change and have decided that the natural therapies industry is where you see yourself in the next few years.

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to study massage, the first question you will need to answer is where and what will I study?

Massage schools

There are a different view regarding what you need to consider before choosing a massage school. For simplicity these views can be split into:
(1) Choose the best school for you or

(2) Choose the most convenient school for you.

Those who support the first view will argue that the better the education you receive then the better the therapist you will be when you finish massage school and, hence, the more likely you will succeed when you begin your career as a massage therapist in Sydney or wherever in Australia you live. Why waste the opportunity to get a good education just to save a little time and/or money?

The supporters of the second view will argue that most massage schools are there to churn out students and the only factor that will have an impact of you succeeding in the massage industry is you. If you have the skills, the talent, the aptitude, the personality and the will to succeed then you will independent of where you study. Most quality education you will recieve either comes from your on the job skill development or specific courses with high quality tutors and massage leaders once you have qualified and have an understanding of where you belong in the massage industry.
If this is point of view is true, then the first massage school you choose should be the one that is most convenient and/or cheapest for you to qualify to the level that you want to.

There is no right or wrong regarding these viewpoint and much will depend on your personal circumstances. Most people will probably settle for a compromise and choose a massage school that they believe offers them the best education given their time and budget constraints.

Regardless of your view, it is worth taking the time checking out the schools in your area and finding out such things as:
– what modalities and modules do they offer?
– when are the classes held?
– how much are the classes?
– are their qualifications recognised by professional associations in Australia?

Most massage schools will offer open days where you can come in and find out specific answers to your questions. Another great way of getting a feel for the school is to book in for a student massage. You will be able to quiz the student therapist about how they feel about the school and also you will get first hand experience of the quality of the bodyworkers that are graduating.

  

If you are particularly time poor, then there are options for doing some study remotely (eg online modules) which can reduce your costs and the travel time required to complete your study.

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Information about some massage schools in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth etc is included at http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/massage-schools.php.

By Richard Lane

Is It Really Harder for a Male Massage Therapist to Succeed?

Check out any massage forum and there will comments and questions from male massage therapists who are struggling to develop a foothold in the massage industry. Many of these posts will point to the fact that males prefer to receive therapeutic touch from females and that male massage for females in Sydney is the exception rather than the rule as women often find it difficult to relax when they are being massaged by a male.

The upshot is that new male massage therapists feel that the odds are stacked against them and they complain that it is so much easier for females to work in the massage industry.

However, the reality is somewhat different and research studies point to the fact that males therapists, on average, do better than female therapists.
To quote from a 2002 survey of massage therapists in Australia

male massage therapist

Men carried out proportionately more consultations than women, and had been in clinical practice proportionately longer than women. Proportionately more women (80%) than men (63%) had earnings under $30,000. There were proportionately more men than women in the upper income brackets. Although men were 24% of the sample population, they were 44% of those earning over $100,000.

Yet still the perception is that males have a harder time developing a career in the massage industry.

So how can we reconcile the differences between the positions?

There are probably a number of points that can be made to address this apparent paradox that it is harder for men in the massage industry but that on average men do better than women.

Jobs and employment for (newly qualified) female therapists are more abundant than for men. Check out the massage employment websites and there will be more jobs for female therapists than males. Day spas, health retreats, hotel spas and relaxation clinics employ females. Whilst there may be a token male or two on the roster, people who book in for a massage at one of these locations will more than likely prefer and expect to be massaged by a female.

Any male who goes through massage school thinking that because he does a great relaxation massage, he will be snapped up by the swanky spas is naïve and have unrealistic understanding of the massage industry and this misunderstanding may be part of the problem.

However, these relaxation jobs are typically transient in nature and whilst they may provide employment and an income, there is no career development as such. The therapist runs the risk of just providing “cookie cutter” massages without developing their own client base and/or skills.

These type of jobs may also tend to suit people who really just want to fit in work around their family (without wishing to appear sexist, it is suggested that women are more likely to be looking for massage roles that are flexible and are part time and part of the reason for them doing massage is to fit in with their work/life balance).

In order for a male massage therapist in Sydney to succeed, then they need to find their niche which will need to be a segment of the market that is insensitive to the gender of the bodyworker. For male therapists, this niche is most likely to be offering remedial, sports and deep tissue massage ie more at the medical end of the massage spectrum rather than the relaxation end. People who are in pain, are recovering from injury or are looking to improve sporting performance will be more focussed on the outcome of their massage rather than be worried about the fact that they are being massaged by a male.

  
The fact that it is difficult for males starting out in the industry is probably an advantage for their long term career development. It focuses them on finding out where they belong (which will often be working for themselves), on working on their marketing skills and improving their knowledge/training to provide high quality bodywork that will bring in repeat/word of mouth clients.

The result is that males, who can stay in the industry, do more massages per week and have a greater income than women on average.

So less complaining, guys, about the injustices of being a man in a female industry. Maybe it is females that are getting the raw deal.

By Richard Lane

Student Massages

In most major cities where there are massage schools then the chances are that there would be the option for you to book in for a student massage. In Sydney, for example, these are available at some of the TAFEs, Nature Care in St. Leonards, ACNT in Surry Hills and the NSW School of Massage in Clarence St, Sydney. Booking in for a student massage is generally fairly straightforward and checking out the website for a particular massage education establishment should provide you with all the information you require.

Studet massage clinicThe procedure when you arrive at the student massage clinic is fairly similar to any other clinic, with a couple of fairly major differences. These differences include the fact that you will have no choice over what therapist you will see and that you may very well be in a room with a number of other people getting a massage at the same time (this varies from school to school so check when booking if you are shy about disrobing in a room with other people). In addition, regardless of how many times you visit the clinic, you will probably have the therapist go through the case history each time (which can eat into your massage time). And finally, the student massage therapist may check in with their supervisor a number of times during the session.

    Advantages of Student Massage Clinics

(1) Price. Student massages are significantly cheaper than visiting a professional therapist in a clinic (or have a Sydney mobile massage therapist visit you in your home). So if you are constrained by your budget and you can only afford a cheap massage then student massages are a good option. (please note that you are unable to claim health fund rebate for massage with a student therapist).
(2) You may very well get an attentive therapist who is keen to please and improve their skills and professional interactions with clients.
(3) You are supporting the future of the massage industry.

    Disadvantages of Student Massages

(1) No continuity of therapist and no continuity of massage standard. If you receive a good massage one week then it is unlikely that you would ever get the same therapist again. Chances are that if you have a good experience one time then the next time you go in then it may very be less than satisfactory.
(2) Limited availability. Many student massage clinics only operate on specific day and at specific times. In addition, even when the clinic is operating they may be offering a different massage modality to the one that you are after (eg the students may only be trained in Swedish massage when you are after a remedial massage).
(3) As mentioned above, having a massage in a room with lots of other people is not relaxing when compared to a Sydney massage clinic or a home massage. Also being shy and modest is a definite reason not to book in for a student session.
(4) If you have a significant medical issue would you want a student to be providing bodywork to you?
(5) If you book in for a one hour session, then by the time the student sets up, takes case history and you undress/dress then chances are you will only get around 45 minutes of massage (even less if supervisor intervenes).
(6) Student may work on the areas that they want to, not that you specifically want depending on their level of training and their preferences. (In fairness, this can apply to professional therapists as well but with a professional you probably have more recourse to direct the massage the way you want).

There was a recent online discussion amongst massage therapists whether they preferred student or professional massages. The following quotes are some of the comments that were made. (Obviously there is a slightly different perspective compared with if the same questions was asked to a non-massage therapist, although many of the points are relevant for both groups)

If you get a massage from a student, it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. If you get a massage from a professional, similarly it can be great, it can be average, it can be a challenge. However, the advantage of a professional is that when you get the “great” experience you can go back next week or the next time you want a massage so you can guarantee that you will be satisfied with the massage. With a student massage there are no such guarantees.

Sometimes students are more diligent and pay more attention to your needs. “SOMETIMES”. Some professionals don’t listen and have their ‘own’ way and often that is disappointing (happens quite frequently) Hmmm? What to do? I would love a professional that is in tune, pays attention to “your’ needs and can make me float away while my body heals through their wonderful touch. BTW I have had some awesome student massages in my many years.

Depends…who is actually good at massage? Massage professional only means they are licensed, not good at massage. Some massage students have great skill, some professionals do not. So…I will go to either if they have the passion and skill to give a great massage. Unfortunately you do not know for sure until you feel their work.

I prefer to receive massage from someone who knows how to give an awesome massage, be it a student, professional or anyone else who may just have a gift! Just sayin.

I’m a student and hve been told by several clients that I’m better than a pro because the pros don’t listen to what the client needs are. To me, when I hear that, it means the pros just don’t care about the client and their needs.
A professional , more education on specific conditions and modalities which increase a range of techniques which sometimes need to be combined to deliver desired results. A student is more routine and knowledge of basics. Which is why we are required to do CEU. I feel I was an exceptional student but I often find myself using and combining different modalities in which I had no knowledge of as a student like advance deep tissue neuromuscular sports/or Thai combo. The difference in the results are non comparable.

Both- you can learn from each one

I luv getting massages from students as i remember those “student clinic” days well!!! BUT i PREFER a professional because i usually opt for a specific modality such as craniosacral, trager, bowen technique, fascial mobilization, muscle energy technique, myoskeletal alignment technique, soft tissue release and my 2 fav’s: THAI MASSAGE & WATSU!!!. . .so i usually require a professional to perform these modalities…………………but i do keep the student clinic at a local massage therapy school busy!!!

From a professional, because they know what muscles I need work on to get relief. When I go back to my massage school to be an intern’s ‘guinea pig’, I am always disappointed with the massage, simply because when you’ve had the best, amateurish massages don’t make the grade.

I believe in supporting the students, and I’m pretty understanding because my first clinic was a nightmare. I pity the first person on my table. But the last few student massages I’ve gotten were awful. And it was their third term in clinic! I wondered if they even paid attention in their first Swedish class!

It really doesnt matter to me! Massage is massage either way its still good!! I really dont judge at all, my co~therapist are all completely different styles!! Always Good:)

To me it depends. I Ave had both and some of the best and the worst ones have been for booth. Only time I have an issue with a student working on me in a clinic, is when they are just starting. One had a student tell me she just started less tan a month and hadn’t even learned the muscles yet. I couldn’t believe they allowed her to start in clinic yet without an instructors supervision.

Lmt Massage professional… my theory, you get what you pay for…

Professional… I find students trip up my nervous system and I have the shakes for the rest of the day, or they over work / under work areas. Well worth the $$$ to me to have a professional work on me or trade with another LMT.

A brilliant question to which we are not sure there is a clear cut answer. The general feeling in the office is that we are great supporters of education and everyone nees to learn. Our student experience has always been good as you can sometimes be a little more diligent when learning. However, there are also some really awesome massage therapists out there.

There is no such thing as a bad massage, some are better than others but all good. I’ll take one of each

Whoever has the most passion for their trade! Years of experience does not out weigh true passion and true passion can not be taught.

It depends. when I was a student there were some that were really good with their techniques. some were not. I have had a massage from a licensed massage therapist and did like it much better. I went to the schools clinic once to get a student massage and it was horrible. she didnt listen to what I wanted done and did her own thing. There are just parts of my body that I dont like worked on. and when I told her that she just stated that I needed the work done, and worked on the area anyway. intercostals are very sensitive and I dont like them worked on. needless to say I did say something and they talked to her about it. When I was in clinic we had LMT evals. where we had to give a massage to a licensed massage therapist. The lady I had was very nice and in her eval wrote that she almost forgot that I wasnt licensed yet. so I guess it just depends on the person.

  
I don’t care as long as I’m getting massaged!

I honestly prefer a professional, I’m too nervous to be worked on by a student. However, if I am on a really tight budget and can’t afford the extra money for the professional and I really need it, then student. But outside of having student in my class work on me, I have yet to have a student in clinic work on me since graduating.

I certainly would not try to discourage anyone from getting a student massage if you have never had one. If you regularly have massage then it is a great way to experience a different bodyworker without paying big bucks. However, for many people though, the disadvantages do outweigh the cost advantages.

By Richard Lane

What (not) to wear for a massage

If you are visiting a Sydney massage clinic (or having a mobile massage for the first time) as the therapist leaves the room to allow you to undress in private, they will invariably utter the phrase:

take off whatever you are comfortable with.

Those who have had many massages will follow this instruction without a second thought and either take everything off or leave their undies on, depending on their preference and level of comfort with the therapist.

Massage where client prefers not to take everything offFor the less massage savvy though this request does not illict an automatic response and can bring about a sense of unease. If I leave my underwear on does that mean that the therapist will think I’m a prude and not entirely comfortable in their presence? If I take everything off, will the therapist misconstrue my reasons for getting a massage?

The direct answer to these questions are a very simple “NO”. Put bluntly, your therapist simply does not care what you leave on and what you take off. They will make no judgements based on your decision. All they want is for you to be comfortable with your decision and to be able to relax and enjoy the massage.

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Just a couple of asides on this topic though.

Whilst massage strokes are (marginally) easier to perform if the client is not wearing anything, this is of secondary importance to your level of comfort. If you would not be relaxed if you were naked during the massage, then don’t be.

If you prefer to wear bra and knickers during a massage then your therapist will be able to modify their strokes and still provide an effective and relaxing massage. The outcome of the session will be the similar regardless of your decision and preference, so long as you make a decision that you are relaxed with. Never be pressured by a therapist to take off more than you want to (nor accept draping that exposes more of you than you would expect your therapist to see).

If you prefer to wear underwear then inexpensive and basic is best from the therapists point of view.
Ladies, if you are massaged wearing expensive knickers then there is a chance that they may get oil on them. Also, skimpy, lacy and tight undies are hard for the therapist to manoeuvre if they want to massage glutes or hips.
Guys, if you want your quads or hamstrings massaged then wearing boxers that extend three quarters of the way to the knee are a challenge.

Whilst the therapist needs to respect your boundaries, you also need to be mindful of your therapist’s boundaries. Whilst most therapists are comfortable and used to seeing with peoples bodies, a significant proportion prefer that you wear underwear (and will tell to leave your underwear on). As one of my therapists recently put it

My Table. My Rules!

This is their right. Therapists need to be careful, particularly when massaging people of the opposite gender such as male massage for females. The wearing of underwear at least affords some level of protection to the therapist that their massage intentions are not misintrepreted when working around the hips, glutes, quads and adductors.

  
I have noticed that there is a difference between the massaging in a clinic and providing mobile massage to Sydney homes. When I was working in a clinic, the vast majority of clients would choose to keep their underwear. However, in the home environment a greater proportion take everything off (or probably more accurately, choose not to put anything on if they have a shower prior to the therapist arriving).

Ultimately though whatever decision you make is really neither here or there for the therapist. Be comfortable with your decision and you will be comfortable during the massage.

By Richard Lane

When Massage is not Perfect

Most massage devotees know the benefits that massage brings to them in their life which may be physical, emotional or spiritual (or a combination thereof). Once people find a therapist that they are happy with then they will generally stick with that therapist so that they know that they will get a great bodywork experience each time. They have a good dialogue with their therapist who knows what they do and do not like for their massage session.

However, there are times when circumstances dictate that you may need to see a different masseur such as you are in a different town or your normal therapist is not able to fit you in.

when massage goes wrongNow you are probably comfortable to accept that the massage will probably not be as good as the one you are used to but there are a number of reasons why it may not be the experience you are looking for. For me, these include:

(1) The therapist performs a “cookie-cutter” massage. They just do the massage they normal do and there is no attempt to customise the massage to any requirements you may have let the therapist know. This approach may be ok if you are just having a relaxation massage in a day spa but if you are after any type of remedial massage then there is nothing more annoying than the therapist spending minimal time on parts of the body that you really want to be massaged.

(2) When an hour’s massage includes the time to discuss your requirements and your undressing/dressing time. If you are paying for a massage but end up only getting 45 minutes of hands-on time then you will feel cheated and any relaxation that the massage achieves can dissipate instantly.

(3) Being basted with oil. I really do not like excessive oil and it’s a turn off if the therapist is constantly reaching for the bottle of lubricant to apply more and more oil or lotion. Less is more when it comes to massage, in my view. How can a massage therapist feel the soft tissues and muscles when their hands are skidding over the skin like a skater on ice?

(4) The therapist being a poor time keeper. If you are having (and even enjoying) a “cookie-cutter” massage you realise that the routine the therapist is performing is being curtailed and rushed on one side of the body compared with the other. It may be that your right leg gets 10 minutes of care and attention but, as the clock ticks on, the left side only ends up with a cursory couple of strokes.

(5) A distracted therapist. Answering the phone or door or talking to any other therapist is a no-no for me. I’m paying for you to massage me not plan later appointments (or even worse your social life). Also just going through the motions with the massage and not using your hands to listen to what my body is telling you.

(6) Bad breath.

(7) Incidental contact with other parts of your body other than the massage tools you intend to use. Your stomach bracing against my head as you stroke down my back or your boobs in my face whilst you are working on my chest or stomach is not professional.

(8) Lack of thought with music. I don’t like the radio on during a massage and I don’t like Adele.

  
This is not meant as a critique of the massage profession in general but more a whimsical depiction of some of the more negative experiences I have had during massages and some of the things I specifically do not like. It is not to decry the positive energy I normally get from massage.

However, feel free to add any others you may have in the comments section below…..

By Richard Lane


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