Everything You Need To Know About Massage Therapy

Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) answer your most pressing questions—even the embarrassing ones.

Not only does massage feel amazing, countless medical studies have shown it’s good for you, too. To help you fully relax during your next session, LMTs address some common concerns so you can relax during your next session.

What do you wish people knew before lying down on your table? 

 “How much education and training we go through. I have an associate’s degree in occupational studies in massage therapy. I passed my New York State board exam and must take continuing education courses. I also have a bachelor’s degree in biology so, no, I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to rub people’s feet.” —Laura Piteo, LMT, Oasis Day Spa, Dobbs Ferry

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What pre-massage prep is best? 

“Arrive early to give your body time to unwind. And, if your nose tends to clog, bring some saline nasal spray and use it just before.” —Jessica Collishaw, LMT, Oasis Day Spa 

“Towel dry yourself off thoroughly after showering, because water and oil don’t mix. While we appreciate how clean you are, if you’re sopping wet we may have trouble gaining traction on your skin.” —Laura Piteo

“Try not to eat or drink much 45 minutes before a massage; the distraction of digestion activity can reduce your enjoyment.” —Ken Luttman, LMT, Oxalis, Rye

Help! I’m embarrassed about being nude. What can I do?

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“You can certainly leave on undergarments—although undressing completely allows for better access to muscular regions.” —Amy Roussel, LMT, Oasis Day Spa

“Briefs or boxers for men and panties for women are okay to keep on; a bra, however, should come off to work your back effectively.” —Ken Trank, LMT, Tranquility Spa, Scarsdale

“If one is still embarrassed after knowing they will be draped and not exposed and will have privacy to undress, we can offer acupressure or Shiatsu through clothing. Or they can just get their back or feet done.” —Karen M. Diefenbach, self-employed LMT, Tarrytown

How can I politely shut up a chatty therapist when I don’t want to talk? 

“Say you’re going to nod off or take a nap during the session.” —Ken Trank

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“Just stop talking. They’ll figure it out. We need to feel you out, too, so you’re not uncomfortable with our silence. Sometimes people need to talk a bit to relax.” —Karen M. Diefenbach

Yikes! What if I get an erection?

“It’s a common reaction. As long as the client is not behaving sexually, therapists ignore it and the client should too.” —Kristin Zullo, self-employed LMT, Yonkers

“With all the linens piled on top of you, we might not even notice. ” —Laura Piteo

“Erections are often just a natural response to your body getting relaxed. If you ignore it, so will I. But if you start gyrating your hips or trying to touch me, the session will end immediately and you’ll be charged.” —Jessica Collishaw

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