Here are some of the most important things for you to know going to a bodywork session with me:
Perfume: One of the most important things that a customer should not do for any massage session is wear perfume. In my case, I am extremely sensitive to smells and you do not want your therapist coughing or sneezing on you. Also, it causes my hands and the room to smell like your perfume potentially affecting any other clients I am working with after you.
Hygiene: Please shower within a reasonable time frame (= earlier on the same day).
Skin Creams: My primary technique is Myofascial Release which is an oil-less hands-on approach that requires being able to firmly grip and traction your connective tissue. Skin creams/moisturizers affect this so please do not put any on before coming in for a session.
Cell Phones: These are very disruptive to the massage session and should be turned off or in silent mode. Vibration mode is still distracting.
(Un)dress Attire: The last I checked, Illinois law requires that the genitalia and nipples are covered during a session. I find it funny that the latter is not sex-specific. So, according to the law, I am supposed to make sure that everyone wears at least underpants and pasties. As for what makes sense:
Anyone coming to me for a session that is mostly comprised of cranial-sacral bodywork may remain dressed in loose comfortable clothing for that part of the session. It is best to take off restrictive items such as belts and and watches.
As for the typical session, I have most clients undress down to underwear and use a top sheet if desired. I prefer that any bras worn are looser-fitted because more restrictive bras affect the ability to work with your rib cage and shoulders. However, if it is necessary for me to do more complex thoracic (rib cage and everything within) bodywork, bras will be in the way. For this, we can use a top sheet to try keep you covered for your level of modesty.
Women requiring breast myofascial/scar tissue release, implant work, and duct release/unclogging will need to be comfortable with a male therapist working with their breasts. If you are not, I know of a female therapist in Evanston, Illinois that I can refer you to when it is time for us to address the area.
As for the South end of the torso, I perform some very advanced external pelvic floor techniques that generate very profound changes in women (and are nice for men too). Some of it is from my Western training, some of it is derived from Thai ‘Karsai’ massage, and the rest is stuff that I figured out on my own to fill in the deficiencies that I found existing in my other training. These techniques usually can be performed through underwear and/or a top sheet depending on what is being done.
Exercise: There is a physiological effect that muscles will stay engorged with blood for up to four hours after a workout. This is often referred to as being ‘pumped up’. During this time, it is more difficult to perform ‘deep tissue’ massage because of the added hydrostatic resistance created by the extra blood being present in your muscles. The added time it will take to sink into the depth of your body will affect how much we can get accomplished in a session. Also, if you overexert yourself and traumatize the same muscles we need to work on, I cannot perform the necessary ‘deep tissue’ work on them without negating the benefit of your workout and our session. This doesn’t mean you cannot get massages near workout time. It just means we are not supposed to not be doing ‘deep tissue’/rehabilitative massage.
Alcohol: Alcohol is a blood thinner and it numbs your ability to feel if I am hurting you. Both of these effects may have bad consequences so it is really important that you do not consume alcohol before bodywork sessions.
Blood Thinners: It is really important that you tell me if you are on any blood thinners. Strong blood thinners, like warfarin/ Coumadin, can cause rapid swelling in areas receiving ‘deep tissue’ massage. I have heard of extreme swelling that required the client being rushed to the hospital because the client did not inform the therapist about being on these medications.