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Communicating with your Massage Therapist

Updated: May 6, 2021

Before any massage, there should be a brief intake session. During this time, your massage therapist will ask you questions about your medical history and if there are any issues that they should be made aware of before beginning the session. Another essential question asked will be what are your goals for this particular session. For example, did you just have a killer leg work out and need help recovering, so just focus on the legs, or are you just here primarily to relax away a stressful work week?

Effectively communicating with your therapist will set the tone and quality of the bodywork you will receive.

I always stress to clients that they are 'the boss' and if they want anything done differently during the massage, to please tell me. If I do something that does not feel good or they do not find beneficial to speak up, it is not going to hurt my feelings. I want them to say so rather than suffer in silence. Another biggie is that if I find an area or a spot that seems to be the source of their pain and problems, then clients should tell me and I can spend more time there. It is the clients' time, and I want to spend it addressing the issues they have. BUT, it's a balance between my knowledge and your feedback.

If you are coming to have some specific work during a massage, it is especially important that you communicate what you are feeling.

Skilled therapists can palpate what is going on with the soft tissue, but we can't read minds and cannot always tell what sensations you are experiencing. It is beneficial if you can describe precisely what you are feeling, not just that it hurts or is not comfortable. More specific ways to elaborate are for example:

  • Does it feel tender?

  • Does the pain feel localized or does it refer anywhere else? Where?

  • Does it burn or is it tingling?

You can also share your pain level based on a 1-10 pain scale (1 being hardly anything and 10 being the worst). Something else I ask clients is if it is tolerable for me to continue at that specific pressure, or if I need to back out a bit or if they can tolerate more pressure. Being as specific as you can is helpful and will help you get the most benefit from your session.

These are just a few suggestions to help you better communicate with your massage therapist. Once you find a therapist you are comfortable with, with frequency and time, the therapist learns how to work with your body, learn your likes, dislikes and you will learn how to relax and decompress more quickly into the session so you can gain as much benefit as possible during your treatment.


If you are looking for a massage therapist or Rolfer in the Durham, Raleigh or Cary area give us a try. We'd love to work with you! We have convenient online scheduling, or you can call the office at 919-477-9887 to schedule your appointment. Thanks for reading our wellness blog and be sure to follow Bull City Soles on Instagram or Facebook for last minute appointment availabilities, self-care tips or upcoming events.


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