Frequently Asked Questions
How should I expect to feel the day of and the day after the massage?
Wonderful. Truly. However, if you have come in for a massage due to some acute (recently onset) pain then there is a possibility that you may feel a bit sore in the 24 hours following the massage. This isn't uncommon. The massage has loosened the muscles and allowed those toxins (such as lactic acid, uric acid, carbon dioxide) to be cleaned out by the bloodstream.We ask that you drink more water than usual in the next 24hrs to aid your body in the healing process.
Does a massage therapist get tips?
We get that question a lot. The answer is yes and no. Tipping is not expected just appreciated. If you feel the therapist has done a good job you may feel free to add a tip to your check or credit card. The full amount will be given to the therapist. Cash tips are always appreciated. Average tip for a massage therapist is 15-20% of the price of the session.
Does insurance cover massage therapy?
In some cases, yes. We are happy to provide you with a receipt at your request that you can submit to your insurance company. We find many of our clients are pleasantly surprised to find that a percentage of their massage is covered when medically referred. Another option is to see if your employer has a Med-Flex Plan. This allows pre-tax dollars to be set aside for many different elective therapeutic/medical services.
What does the client wear while receiving massage?
Massage is best done directly on the skin. As a result, most clients take off their clothes. There are sheets and blanket on each of the massage tables. After the therapist has left, the client will disrobe. Some clients prefer to change into a pair of shorts. Other clients just leave on underwear. Many clients will completely disrobe. All clients are under the sheet at all times. Our team of experts have been trained to drape the sheet and blanket with modesty while doing bodywork. If we are going to stretch with our clients, loose shorts or running tights is recommended. However, what is most important is that our clients are comfortable.
I Still Have Back Pain! Now What?
Does the following sound familiar? You injured your back quite some time ago. You went to your doctor and initially some medications were prescribed and some physical therapy. The physical therapy either did not help much or in fact it made you worse. After several weeks to months of trying physical therapy you had further testing including x-rays or maybe an MRI scan. After these tests you may have been referred for some special steroid injections into your back of which you had at least three. These may have helped temporarily, but did not significantly resolve the severe pain you are having. Eventually, you underwent surgery. Then after a period of rehabilitation you may have felt some improvement particularly if you had had some pain in your leg. However, you continue to have significant pain in your lower back.
By this time many months have past and you are not able to do the things you enjoy and may not have been able to return to work. You are now trying many different medications. You have been to see many doctors but what they are telling you is there is not much else they can do for you and what you need to do is learn to live with your pain. You would be a rare individual indeed if you were not somewhat frustrated, angry, and even depressed at this point. If any of this sounds familiar, please read on because there may be some things that can be done to help you.
Multidisciplinary Approach: The first thing I would suggest is to stop looking for a single solution. I am not being facetious. What I am talking about is when you fall into the unfortunate circumstance of suffering from chronic low back pain we have found that there is no single solution to the problem.
Another very important step toward getting better is to understand what pain is. Most of us, including health care professionals, have a very simplistic view of what pain is. Pain to us means there is something that has been damaged or is about to be damaged. A specialized nerve ending senses this pain and sends a message to our spinal cord and up to our brain where we then realize the pain. After all, isn't this why we need pain? So that we can tell when we are injuring ourselves or when we are about to injure ourselves. However this simplistic view of pain does not explain why -- when your doctor has told you there is nothing they can find wrong -- and the surgery has removed what has been causing damage and you are all healed and yet you still have pain.
Effects of Behavior and Emotions: Our behaviors as well as our emotional state changes the chemistry in our nervous system thus either enhancing or diminishing our pain. With this new, much more complex concept of what pain is, we can then understand that there are many other approaches that may help manage the chronic pain that you may be suffering from.
Complementary Interventions: Many useful interventions may be things we would not associate with medical treatment. These things are also referred to as "complementary"™ and "alternative"™ medicines. I prefer the term "complementary"™ because this implies multiple interventions, which includes traditional medical interventions. I have found this to be the best approach for the patient suffering from chronic pain. A combination I often recommend for patients is to utilize massage therapy to reduce painful muscle spasms. (Note from NVMC: Finding a massage therapist that is familiar with back pain is important to effective treatment. To find a therapist locally look to massage school graduates that are members of the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) and that have at least a year experience. If in doubt, ask for references, a bio or resume and/or client letters of appreciation verifying the massage therapists experience. )
Emotional Consequences of Pain: In addition to addressing the physical components of pain, it is important not to overlook the emotional consequences of chronic pain. Anger, frustration, and depression will alter your neurochemistry to actually increase your pain. However, with a combination of meditation, breathing techniques, and psychological counseling to teach coping strategies, these emotional consequences can be effectively treated. For some of my patients I even recommend such things as humor therapy or making sure they do something daily that they enjoy .
Article by: Ward Gypson, M.D. Associate Professor, Univ of California San Francisco, CA