My first professional massage

I treated myself tonight to my first professional massage!

I was very nervous about going through with it. I've been wanting one for a long time, but I always felt very intimidated by the thought of it. Going in to a strange place, not sure what to do or how to act. New situations make me feel a little self-conscious and awkward sometimes. But lately, I've been forcing myself to go ahead anyway. Like my friend Sue says, the magic happens outside of the comfort zone. Gotta love that Sue! :)

So I walked in and it kind of looked like a dental office. (Dental offices always seem a little nicer than medical offices.) It kind of comforted me. Not that I like going to the dentist, but since it looked like a familiar environment it put me at ease a little. The receptionist was friendly. I told her this was my first time. She handed me a medical history questionnaire to fill out.

Once I was done, my masseur was ready for me. He led me to a room and asked me what I wanted to focus on. "I don't know, I've never done this before" I told him. "Oh! Ok!" He asked me a few questions like if I hurt anywhere in particular, if I felt tension anywhere in particular. I told him that my neck, shoulders and back are usually very tense. But since I've never received a professional massage before, I wanted a full body massage.

He asked me to get undressed and get under the covers on the massage table. He stepped out of the room as I did so. When he came back in, I had to move up a bit on the table. I wasn't sure if I had to put my face in that little face donut cushion. Now I know. :)

He did concentrate a bit more on my back, shoulders and neck. At the beginning, my heart was pounding. I'm not sure if it was nerves or the tension he was releasing in my back that was making me react this way. I have a feeling it was mostly the tension release. As the massage was progressing, my heart calmed down and I relaxed. Once in a while I had to tell him to lower the intensity of the pressure he was using. It sometimes hurt. But I did tell him at the beginning that I expected to want medium to hard pressure.

When the session was done, he stepped out of the room as I got dressed. When he came back in, he gave me an assessment of where he noticed the most tension. My upper back, shoulders and neck (no surprise there), my hamstrings, and my right bicep. He showed me a few stretching exercises I could do to help relieve the tension. I had no idea that that was part of the experience. I'm glad it was.

So will I do it again? Absolutely! What have I learned from my first experience? 1 hour is not long enough for me. Next time, I'll book 1.5 hours. Also, next time I'll ask for medium pressure from the start. I will also remove all of my clothing. I had removed everything but my underwear because I wasn't exactly sure how it would go. But he was very respectful and only uncovered the area he was working on as he was working on it. And, now that I know what the experience is like, I'm sure I'll get way more out of the next session. I'll be much more relaxed about it all.

Seriously, if there's something you've always wanted to do but never had the nerve to do it, just do it! (As long as it's legal of course!) Don't wait until you can't! Feel the awkward and uncertainty. Speak up. Ask questions. And don't be hard on yourself. Everyone experiences a first time for whatever they've done.

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