How to prepare for a massage (at home)

How to prepare for a massage (at home)

So you’ve decided to treat yourself to a massage! Great stuff. I love massages, but I am one of those types that enjoys running, enjoys stretching less, and is naturally inclined to have muscle tension. Massage is as a consequence a pretty basic needs for me. One of the main things I find annoying however is that once your massage is done, you have to get all dressed again, brave the cold weather, go home, do errands, cook, clean, and whatever else needs to happen. It is rare to get an evening appointment, get home, do nothing and then just have a lovely sleep and bask in the relaxation.

Last year, I discovered Urban Massage and wrote a review of my first massage with them. After that first time, I’ve never looked back. Well, once. I had received a massage as a gift from someone, and going in to an office for the therapy just reminded me of why I really don’t like this way of doing things. Whether you are getting a massage at home or not, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your experience!

Top tips on preparing for massage therapy

  • Choose the right massage. Most massage therapists are able to offer a variety of massage options. Urban Massage, for example, offers many massage therapist with a variety of massage options. Such as sports massage, the Urban Classic (relaxing), and even pregnancy massage or reflexology. Know what you are looking for, because it is one of the main things that will affect how much benefit you get out of it. Massage therapy is not cheap, it is good to get the best possible ROI. It starts by selecting the right approach. I always pick a sports massage or a deep tissue massage, but you might need a more relaxing and soothing approach.
  • Prepare for your massage. If you are going to a massage therapist’s office, make sure you are there a bit earlier than your appointment. This gives you time to use the restroom. If needed, it gives you a chance to freshen up as well. Tip: wet facial wipes from the drugstore are great to freshen up if you need it. If you are getting your massage at home,  have at least two large clean towels available. One is for the massage table, and one is to cover you with. If your massage is happening in your home, it is nice to get undressed (keep your bottom underwear on) before your massage therapist arrives and wear a dressing gown (or robe) while waiting for the appointment. It makes everything run more smoothly. I also like to take a nice bath or shower before my appointments. This helps me feel completely relaxed. I can then hop into bed for a nice long sleep after the massage is finished. You might have guessed it already, but my preferred time to have the massage is in the evening. It is not uncommon for me to book the last possible time slot.
  • Communicate with your massage therapist. This is also why you want to arrive on time, to have a few minutes before the start of the treatment to discuss what you need and like. Perhaps you enjoy complete silence during the massage? This is the time to communicate this so you are both comfortable. Perhaps you have muscle tightness in the backs of your legs, your neck, or you need more focus on your shoulders. Maybe there are areas you rather not have massaged. Whatever your preferences are, let them know so they can give you the best experience possible. During the massage keep communicating if the pressure is too hard or too soft.
  • Drink a lot of water. Massage detoxes your body, and being well hydrated also helps your muscles relax during the treatment. Drink a lot of water on the day (well, really drink a lot of water always), both before and after the massage.
  • Try to shut off completely and enjoy the experience. Turn off your phone, turn off anything that may shout notifications at you (computer, ipad, TV, etc).
  • If you live with a partner, communicate with them in advance that you are having a massage and make sure they are either out of the house doing something else, or have everything they need from the space where you plan to have your massage. I always have my massages in my living room, so my partner tends to hang out in our bedroom and read a book or watch Netflix. I just make sure he doesn’t need to come into the kitchen for the hour during which I have my massage therapy.


Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".


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