Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get a massage?
Massage therapy can ease tension and help people cope with stress more effectively. It slows the racing mind, helps people live in their bodies more comfortably, and contributes to a sense of well-being. Massage increases circulation and mobility, eases pain, and is thought to strengthen the immune system.
Besides all of those reasons, massage feels wonderful! Please visit other pages on this website to find out about the specific benefits of various forms of massage. You may also e-mail me or call my office (503-526-0734) and I would be happy to discuss your massage therapy questions.
I've never had a massage. What should I expect?
On your first appointment, you will be given a confidential health history form to complete; it usually only takes a few minutes. I will then show you to the treatment room, answer any questions and leave you to undress privately and relax on the massage table.
Please remember to silence any cell phones, pagers, or alarms before your session. You will certainly be more relaxed if you are not at the beck and call of your electronics.
When should I arrive?
Please arrive as close as possible to your scheduled massage. There will be plenty of time for paperwork if it is your first visit, and you will still receive the full time you have booked on the table. For instance, if you booked a one hour Swedish or Pregnancy massage, you will receive 60 full minutes of massage time. Please be aware that any time used for paperwork, and dressing and undressing, will be in addition to this and adjust your schedule. If you are late, every effort will be made to accommodate you, but please be aware that lateness could reduce the length of your massage.
Do you use oil or lotion? What kind?
Shiatsu and many orthopedic methods are applied over clothing, and do not require any oil or lotion. Most forms of relaxation massage, such as Swedish, and Pregnancy massage, do use oil or lotion. I tend to use as little as we need to help techniques be comfortable on the skin. My base oil for general use is either pure jojoba oil, or a salve blend of light natural oils (no nut oils) and pure essential oil. My massage creme is a coconut-based, all-natural, unscented blend. Please let me know if you have sensitivities to essential oils (scent), or to coconut oil.
If you are concerned about oil in your hair, please let me know at the beginning of your session.
Do I need to remove all of my clothing? What should I wear?
Depending on the type of massage you are receiving, you may or may not need to undress. If you are receiving Shiatsu, you will leave your clothing on. Please wear something lightweight, loose and comfortable, such as yoga/soccer pants and a t-shirt.
For an Orthopedic session, you will be asked to leave your underwear on, or to bring swimsuit bottoms, lightweight athletic shorts, or other clothing that allows for assisted stretching and easy movement. If you are receiving Orthopedic massage, please inquire before your first session, whether clothing is needed for treatment of your areas of concern.
Other types of massage are traditionally applied to bare skin, using oil or lotion. For a full-body Swedish (relaxation) massage, many people undress completely. I use sheets and blankets, as needed for warmth and modesty, as well as standard draping methods, during the entire session.
Some clients receiving relaxation massage, choose to wear their undergarments or even some of their outer clothing. Certain massage techniques need to be modified in order to work through clothing; however, I am always happy to adapt in order to your comfort level, either working through your clothing, or if you prefer that I only massage certain areas. I am trained in many techniques that can be applied over clothing, or through the sheets or blankets, so you will still receive the benefits of massage therapy.
What parts will you massage?
The extent of a massage will depend on several factors, including the length of the session, the specific need for treatment, the techniques used, and your comfort level with receiving massage.
When there is an injury or condition to be addressed, the entire session may focus on a single area. There may also be a need for treatment of other body areas that are affected by an injury. For example, if you have a sprained ankle and are using a crutch, your arm and shoulder muscles may need to be treated, as well as the non-injured leg which is compensating for the injury and temporary loss of function.
If you wish to have massage for stress-reduction or relaxation, we will discuss what will best help you accomplish that. A typical full-body session includes work on your back, arms, legs, glutes, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders with the abdominal area as optional.
If you find you are uncomfortable for any reason with being massaged over particular area, just inform me of your wishes and I will adjust the massage accordingly.
You will not be touched on your breasts, or on your genitals. All massage I offer is non-sexual, and I have the right to terminate a session in which the client is behaving inappropriately. You, as the client, have the same right.
What should I do during the massage?
Just relax, it’s your massage! Other than asking you to adjust your position so I can apply a specific technique, you can change your position at any time to make yourself more comfortable.
Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask me questions about massage in general or about the particular technique you are receiving. Your feedback is important, so please speak up if you are cold, need more or less pressure, or have any questions or concerns.
If you find thoughts or emotions surfacing during massage, feel free to express them if you wish.
Does massage hurt?
Massage on healthy tissue feels good. The normal response is to relax and breathe deeply. I will generally start out by applying firm, but gentle pressure, preparing you for deeper massage. “No pain, no gain” is not necessarily true for massage. Massage can be deep without being forcible.
The most effective massage works with your body’s natural reponse, not against it. Working in the area of injury or chronic pain may at first cause discomfort, which usually lessens in the first few minutes. You may also have tender spots in muscles that are injured or have been tight for a long time. This tenderness should never be intolerable, however, and you should immediately tell your therapist if it is. Pain is the body’s signal of potential tissue injury, so it should not persist throughout the session. It is important that we communicate not only when there is not enough pressure, but especially when there is too much.
I am mobility challenged. Is your location wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the building is accessible, is one level throughout, with very low profile saddle thresholds for the private rooms, and grab bars are installed in our restrooms. We have reserved accessible parking; please use the door on the 1st Street side of the building. My table features an electric lift. It lowers to a height of just 19″ to facilitate transfer from your chair to my table.
Do I need to shower before my massage?
If you have been exercising or doing strenuous activity, it is best to shower before receiving your massage. Oils and lotions used for massage also work better on clean skin, so less can be used for your treatment.
I'm 39 weeks pregnant. Can I still have a massage?
Absolutely! Massage is especially beneficial during late pregnancy. It can help make this phase of your pregnancy less stressful on your body, relieving backache, shoulder discomfort and sore feet. No, it probably won’t “jumpstart” your labor, but it can help with your anxiety and anticipation. Besides, the last few weeks of your pregnancy is when your baby is interacting the most with the world outside your belly, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to greet your little one.
What if I don't like the music?
By all means, say something! If you prefer, we can work without music, (I often do this,) or you may bring yours to suit your own preferences. My stereo includes a CD player, an older style 30-pin iPod dock, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
What should I expect after massage? Do I need to drink lots of water?
Massage can be profoundly relaxing, affecting all your body’s systems. Give yourself a moment to re-orient before you sit up. After an initial “relaxation” period, people often experience an increase in energy that can last for several days. Sometimes you may not feel a dramatic result right away. Watch for changes over the following days, like pain relief, increased mobility, or better sleep.
Sometimes people are sore after massage, especially after deep therapeutic work. This is normal, and should go away in a day or two, especially if you take care of yourself by staying hydrated, eating well and doing your recommended stretches or exercises.
Speaking of water, if you are well hydrated before your session, drinking extra water is unnecessary. There is no solid evidence that massage “flushes toxins.” However, certain types of massage can increase both blood circulation and lymph flow. As long as you are well hydrated, these systems function properly, even if you feel a bit of soreness or malaise after deep tissue work. If you are dehydrated, these symptoms might be improved by drinking more water after your massage.
In general, your cellular fluid balance is quite stable, a physiological process called “homeostasis.” This means that it is much more effective to drink enough water each day to avoid chronic dehydration, than it would be to drink extra water immediately after a massage.
Do you take credit cards? FSA/HSA? What about tipping?
I accept cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, when services are rendered. Some FSA or HSA accounts may also be used for massage, and I can accept those cards. Check with your plan administrator for benefits and any special requirements, such as a prescription, before using your FSA/HSA accounts.
Tipping is unnecessary. The referral of your friends and family is the best compliment. If you are writing a check, please make it out in the amount of the session fee. Tipping is a complicated issue for massage therapists. If you’d like my extended thoughts on why I’ve chosen not to solicit tipping in my own practice, I’ve written about it here.
I have an older Gift Certificate or Pre-paid Package. Is it still valid?
Gift Certificates and packages do not expire. Gift Certificates issued with my old address (3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd,) are valid at the new location. If you are no longer in the area, or have moved on to other forms of bodywork, you may also transfer your remaining balance to another person.
Will you bill my health or auto insurance?
No. I do not offer direct billing to your health insurance, or for auto injury claims. If your massage is covered by a prescription and insurance, you may be able to seek reimbursement for your out of pocket expenses. If so, please ask for a detailed receipt. It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company or human resources department for plan information, as I do not know the specifics of your policy and cannot guarantee reimbursement.
What is your training?
I received my license in early 2005, and have been actively working as a professionally licensed therapist ever since.
As with all Licensed Massage Therapists in Oregon, I completed the basic 500 hours of required training. I have more than 450 additional hours of training in orthopedic and remedial massage techniques, anatomy and physiology, and over 200 additional hours in Shiatsu training and five-element theory. I am certified in Orthomassage technique.
Currently, I am continuing my formal studies in orthopedic massage methods such as Advanced Myofascial Techniques (AMT), neuromuscular therapy and Myoskeletal Alignment Technique®. I have a deep interest in the mechanics of movement and exercise physiology, and try to stay up to date with the latest movement and fascia research, especially as it relates to manual therapies.
The State of Oregon requires massage therapists to receive a minimum of 25 hours of continuing education every two years.