Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect if this is my first massage?
How often should I get massage?  
What kind of massage is best?
Do I have to get my whole body massaged?
How does Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) differ from regular massage?

What should I expect if this is my first massage?

Your appointment will usually begin with a brief medical history and standard intake form. Your therapist will then help you decide which issues should be addressed and by which forms of massage. You will undress to your level of comfort, and to the level necessary to get maximum benefit from your massage.  Your therapist will leave the room to allow you to undress and get under the sheet and will knock upon returning. You will be discreetly covered, other than the parts which are being worked on. During your massage your therapist will make sure you are comfortable with the level of pressure, body position, etc. After your massage, your therapist will leave so you can get dressed. When you are dressed you will have a little follow up conversation with your therapist and you are on your way to enjoy the rest of your day! You will want to be sure to drink lots of water on this day.

How often should I get a massage? 

Frequency of visits depends on your goals. If you are getting massage because of chronic pain or recent injury you may be advised to come more often until you are feeling some relief. This could mean once or twice the first one or two weeks and then checking in for follow up visits.  Your therapist will also hopefully be able to give you some stretching exercises which can help speed your recovery. For therapeutic massage and relaxation, most clients come once every 3 to 4 weeks. You may find that more frequent massage can help you cope during stressful times and that you can get by with less at other times.  Obviously, you may choose whatever schedule best suits your needs. (The treatment plan for lymphedema patients is different because of an initial intense phase to reduce and maintain edema – see Combined Decongestive Therapy for Lymphedema).

What kind of massage is best?

There are many different types of massage techniques. The modalities offered at Gentle Strength are  Swedish Relaxation, Neuromuscular/Medical massage, and Manual Lymph Drainage.  see Lymphatic Massage

Swedish/Relaxation:  Relaxation massage is geared to soothing not only tired and achy muscles but the whole person. Massage has been shown to reduce stress levels and calm the nervous system. It can reduce tension, improve muscle and skin tone and promote better sleep. Taking care of yourself with massage increases your ability to deal with day to day stress, keep up with your busy lifestyle and will benefit your overall health.

Neuromuscular/Medical Massage:  This form of massage is specific to address an injury or chronic dysfunction which is causing pain or discomfort. These techniques can be added to a general body massage, but usually require focusing on a particular area. Because the therapy hones in on a specific muscle, or muscle group, it is deep and effective. Deep tissue massage need not be painful. There are ways to affect deep tissue changes without causing pain, including incorporating muscle movement during the massage, alternative positioning, deep breathing, etc. You and your therapist will work together to find the right method to get maximum results.

Manual Lymph Drainage: This is a modality specifically designed to stimulate the movement of lymph. Because the initial lymph vessels lie just underneath the skin, it is a very light touch. It is very relaxing and pleasant for the client.  Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) has many useful applications, including a general boost to the immune system.

Do I have to get my whole body massaged?

Usually, for relaxation massage, the client undresses to a level of comfort. Remember, you will be modestly draped at all times so that only the area being worked on is uncovered.  If you are coming to get a massage to address a specific pain or injury, your entire session could focus on a single area.  If being massaged in certain areas makes you uncomfortable, be sure to share this with your therapist before or during your session.  You should never be made to feel uncomfortable and should not feel pressured to offer an explanation for your request. 

How does Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) differ from regular massage?

Swedish relaxation, neuromuscular therapy and deep tissue massage are all designed to affect the soft tissue, meaning muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as the skin. These techniques are generally deeper than MLD since they are addressing muscular issues. MLD is considered more of a skin technique. It is specifically designed to stimulate the movement of lymph.  Because the initial lymph vessels lie just underneath the skin, it is a very light touch. Clients find it very pleasant and relaxing. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) has many useful applications, including a general boost to the immune system.