What To Expect
Where Will My Massage or Bodywork Session Take Place?
Your bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. An audio environment or music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort. Most often the session will begin with the patient lying face down and your face rested in the headrest. You should be under the provided sheet and blanket and have your body covered before summoning the therapist. (Alameda clients FYI: We are located next door to a Jiu-Jitsu Studio and there will be class on occasion. If necessary I can investigate their class schedule to accommodate sensitivities.)
Must I Be Completely Undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped during the entire session. My sessions are oil-based (Nutrogena Light Sesame Oil.) If you have sensitivity to that you must inform me ahead of time.
Will the Practitioner Be Present When I Disrobe?
The practitioner will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet.
Will I Be Covered During the Session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.
What Parts of My Body Will Be Massaged?
You and the practitioner will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders. For sessions requiring deeper work it will be necessary to work the glutes, hip flexors, and psoas muscles and may require palpation of the sacrum and coccyx. If working the chest area we will address the collarbone, pectoral muscles and rib attachments 1, 2 and 3 at the manubrium (breast plate) When this is necessary your therapist will describe the intention prior to performing the action and get your express permission to do so. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).
What Will the Massage or Bodywork Feel Like?
It depends on the techniques used. Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. A light sesame oil is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. This will include use of the therapists fingers, knuckles, forearm, elbows or other devices specifically designed for deep tissue or trigger point work. You may also experience “tapping” or “knocking” on certain areas. This technique is used to assist in the alleviation of trapped energies or tissue binding. There will be muscles and tendons that feel crunchy or gritty. This is a normal sensation and we will work on dissolving these adhesions and reduce or eliminate the causes of these sensations. Working on an “intensity level scale” of 1-10 (with 1 being no sensation to 10 being highly sensitive) your practitioner works between a 4 and 7. There will be an occasional 8 and you will be guided into it with breath work and compassion. It will usually only last for a moment just before the muscle releases and you should feel a sense of great relief immediately afterwards.
What Should I Do During the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. There will be times when the therapist requires free movement of the arms or legs to help pinpoint certain deeper muscles. If the patient attempts to “help” by lifting the limb additional muscles will get involved and obstruct the therapy. Other therapies will require the patient to perform certain movements requested by the therapist so as to actively involve the muscles in release. This is all a part of the open dialogue and communication that will take place during the session. Often, people are curious about what techniques are being used or what muscles are being addressed. Feel free to ask any questions before, during and after the session as I find that having knowledge about the process helps in the healing.
How Long Will the Session Last?
A full-body session with Raul Castro Bodywork lasts approximately 2 hours. A 1 hour appointment only allows time for a partial session to address specific areas such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer an 1.5 to 2 hour session for optimal relaxation.
How Will I Feel After the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity, which can last for several days. You may experience tenderness and sensitivity if we've opted to do deep tissue or trigger point work. Because we are manipulating soft tissue it can be expected to feel a bit sore afterwards. This is natural and will fade soon after the session. It is always recommended, if it's available, to take a hot bath with Epsom salts to relieve your muscles after a bodywork session. Also, it is important to drink plenty of water to assist the body in filtering out released energies from the session.
What Are the Benefits of Massage and Bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.
Are There Any Medical Conditions That Would Make Massage or Bodywork Inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of pregnancy, health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Your practitioner may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.
Should I give a gratuity to my massage therapist?
Massage Therapists are in the service industry just like Estheticians, Barbers, Food Servers and Bartenders. We are hands-on and at your service throughout the entire session and we do our best to ensure that you are comfortable by all means. Massage is physically demanding work and we are grateful for your considerations. If you feel that you have received excellent service you may choose to add a gratuity to the amount paid. It is customary to gift 15-20% depending on your experience.