Dec 102010

Does the thought of getting a massage make your muscles tense up? These relaxation tips will help you get the most out of your visit to a registered massage therapist.

“Massage used to be considered an unnecessary luxury,” writes Larry Costa in Massage: Mind and Body. “Today, it is valued as one of the most effective methods of combating stress and inducing relaxation, but also for its many other physical and mental benefits, including expelling toxins, relieving muscle soreness, increasing flexibility, easing chronic pain, reducing tension headaches, boosting the immune system, promoting restful sleep, and improving concentration.”

Boy, am I glad I got a massage today! I’ve been going to a registered massage therapist sporadically – once a year – but my New Year’s Resolution is to get a massage every two months.

If you can’t afford a professional massage (I pay $90 an hour, but it’s worth it), get a book on massage. You don’t need a partner to give and receive relaxing, effective massages – you can exchange massages your sister, friend, or parent.

The Complete Book of Massage is a bestselling massage book on Amazon, probably because it’s a comprehensive guide with step-by-step instructions.

And, here are several tips for relaxing when you’re getting a massage…

Tips for Relaxing When You’re Getting Massaged

Remember that you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last

Do you feel uncomfortable when getting a professional massage from a registered massage therapist? If so, you’re not alone. I couldn’t really relax until my fifth or sixth massage. I still feel a bit awkward sometimes, especially when I remember I forgot to shave my legs! But I keep telling myself I’m not the first body she’s ever massaged. And, my body is no worse or better than any other body…she’s seen it all.

Don’t talk during the massage

This is a tough tip for me – but it’s one of the most relaxing ones! When I talk to my massage therapist, my mind is all over the place. I’m thinking, planning, remembering, and relating to her. That does not help me relax. I’d much rather be silent, completely quiet, when I’m getting massaged. If your massage therapist is a talker and you feel awkward asking her to be quiet, try a new one. Talking isn’t relaxing (unless perhaps you’re an extrovert!).

Keep your eyes closed

When your eyes are open, you’re more likely to be distracted. Your eye movements keep you alert and focused on what’s happening in the room – not on the therapeutic touch of the massage of therapist. This is a relaxation tip for meditation and yoga, too.

Focus on your breathing

One of the best ways to relax during a massage is to focus on the in and out of your breathing. Take deep breaths in – in fact, stop and take a deep breath right now! See how good it feels? Doesn’t it relax you, make you feel calmer and less stressed? When you’re getting a massage focus on breathing in and out. Notice the rhythm of your breath, what it sounds like, what it feels like to fill your lungs with air.

Repeat a mantra, affirmation, or prayer

The first few times I went to my massage therapist, I repeated the words “freedom” and “forgiveness” to myself, over and over. It distracted me from thinking (and thinking is what makes one feel awkward while getting a massage). This relaxation tip requires a bit of advance preparation. That is, you should set your mantra or affirmation prior to getting the massage – and avoid the stress of having to think one up while you’re trying to relax.

Getting a full-body massage from a registered massage therapist is one of the healthiest things you can do for your mind, body, and soul. But if you can’t relax during the massage, then it may not be as effective. So, take lots of deep breaths, and enjoy the touch of a professional, registered massage therapist.

This is how I relax when I’m getting a massage: I keep reminding myself how effective massage is for curing common health ailments. Research proves that massage can prevent illness and improve the immune system…and it feels great!

For more tips on relaxing, read What Makes You Laugh? 5 Easy Ways to Laugh More.

What do you think – do you have any relaxation tips for massages? What works for you? I welcome your comments below…

About Me

quips tips love relationshipsI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.

  2 Responses to “How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage”

  1. HI Tobi,

    I’m not sure if that book about massage therapy is accompanied by an instructional video or CD. But, if you look on Amazon for DVDs or books on professional massage therapy, you might find what you’re looking for! I suspect there are several DVDs like that.

    Good luck!


  2. I loved your book, Massage:Mind and Body, but was wondering if you have any instructional video or CD that I can buy from you or from Amazon, etc? I would really like to see your step-by-step massage moves in motion. I appreciate the still photos, but would much prefer something to watch in motion. If there is anything you have, please send me an e-mail at I am interested in any massage modality. Your book left me craving a video! Thanks.

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