First time at the spa? Here’s what to do before a massage

Getting a massage can be one of life’s most relaxing and enjoyable activities. All the tension in your muscles gets worked out and you get time away from your stressful day-to-day. But what if you’ve never had a massage? The prospect of having an almost-stranger getting up close and personal can be overwhelming, but there are ways to avoid massage anxiety. This guide will give you tips on how to prepare for a massage, so that you can enjoy the well-deserved break. 

What kinds of massages are there? 

There are many types of massage readily available: Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, shiatsu, to name a few. You can have a full-body, half body or a localized massage, targeting areas such as feet, scalp, or shoulders. Not sure what goes into a full-body massage? Read more here. You should be told what type of massage you will be getting when you make your appointment, but if you’re unsure, you can call to confirm.

Why prepare for a massage?

A massage is designed to relax your body and mind. However, many people feel anxious about having a massage for the first time, or even if they’ve had one before. Mentally and physically preparing for a massage can help alleviate some of your worries and allow you to make the most of it. 

When to prepare?

For the majority of massages, preparations can be done in the morning or in the hours before your appointment on the day of your massage. You can check with the location of your massage beforehand to see if they have additional preparation suggestions. 

Massage at salon

How to prepare for a massage?

  • Stay hydrated – Toxins will be released into your circulation as a result of the massage. Make sure you are properly hydrated before and after the massage to flush them out of your system. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or other stimulants before and for a few hours afterwards to prolong the benefits. 
  • Eat lightly – If you’re worried about a noisy tummy during a massage, don’t eat for the hour leading up to your massage. Tummy gurgles do happen, and even if you feel awkward, the massage therapist won’t mind; it’s only natural! If you do get hungry before your massage, eat easily digestible foods such as fruit or other foods high in fiber.
  • Hot shower – The heat from the hot water will help relax muscles in preparation for the massage, as well as give you a chance to mentally prepare. It is also my hygienic for you and your massage therapist for your skin to be clean and fresh before the massage. Depending on oils or gels used, you may have to shower again afterwards too.
  • Dress comfortably – Being comfortable will keep you relaxed before and after the massage. Avoid high heels or tight fitting shoes to prevent unnecessary contraction of the leg muscles.
  • Communicate your needs- If you have questions or specific health concerns, speak to your massage therapist before you begin so they can give you the best and most comfortable massage possible.
  • Arrive early – Give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the location and relax. If you’re relaxed before your appointment, you can enjoy the massage as soon as it starts. Rushing to get there on time will make your mind and body tense and take away from your relaxation.

What to do during a massage

After you’re fully prepared, it’s time to enjoy your massage. Regardless of what kind of massage you’re having, these next massage tips will help you enjoy it.

    • Breathe deeply – Take long deeps breaths and put your trust in the massage therapist. There is next to no effort from you required during a massage so feel free to enjoy the time to yourself. 
    • Speak up – If something is uncomfortable, either the pressure, the oils, the music, the lighting, or anything at all, mention it to your massage therapist. The atmosphere should be just right for relaxation, but if it’s not, don’t just put up with it. 
    • Practice letting go – Focus on something in the room during your massage, perhaps the feeling of tension leaving your muscles, or the scent of the essential oils. Use the time to not think about things outside of the room, let them go. Allowing yourself the time to enjoy a massage will help your mind as well as your body feel more relaxed.


Will massage prep help?

Being thoroughly mentally and physically prepared before a massage will help you alleviate any massage anxiety. If it is your first time or you are unsure about anything, talk to your massage therapist. They want you to enjoy the massage as much as possible so they will help alleviate any concerns or worries you have. After all, nobody wants to go back to a place where they didn’t like the massage!

Now that you’ve read our tips before a massage, you’re fully prepared to make the most of your “me time.” These tips also apply if you’re having a massage therapist visit you at home, or if you’re going to a spa, health center, or other massage facility. The benefits of a massage last long after the appointment has ended, and you can prolong the good feelings with these post-massage tips:

  • Rinse off the oils – If essential oils, gels, or other products were used during your massage, take another warm shower to remove them before you continue on with your day.
  • Keep hydrating – For the hours following your massage, you should keep your water or herbal intake high to help continue to flush out the toxins stirred up during the massage. 
  • Stay comfy – Loose fitting clothing and shoes will help prevent any restrictions of circulation, allowing your body to make the most of the muscle manipulation. 
  • Keep moving – Don’t just lay down after the massage. Take a walk or do some gentle exercise to keep your muscles flexible.