Congratulations on booking your first massage appointment with Bristol Massage Therapy. All the practitioners here love what we do, are passionate about massage and look forward to working with all our clients. Some people book having had many many massages in the past, whilst others come in with no idea of what to expect, having never received a massage before. With this in mind, here’s a few things that you may be wondering about …
What happens before my first appointment?
Once you have booked your first massage appointment with Bristol Massage Therapy, you will be sent a New Client Consultation Form by email. If you don’t receive this after 24 hours, do check your junk mail folder because unfortunately they sometimes end up here!
The form will cover your health and medical history, along with any muscular aches or mobility issues that you might have. Your practitioner will need to know if you are on any medication at the moment, under medical supervision for any reason at all, or if you have had any accidents, operations or illnesses in the past.
If you can, print out this form and take some time to complete all the questions in as much detail as you are able to, and bring this to your appointment. If you haven’t got access to a printer, don’t worry - we have spare copies at our practice, so you can fill one in on the day.
What happens during my first appointment?
Your appointment will start with a 'consultation', which can also read 'chat'. It is not an interview, there is no right or wrong answer. Your practitioner will read through your completed New Client Consultation Form, discuss any particular areas of interest, concern or general questions which may arise, and then talk to you about what you would like from your appointment that day. Together, you will form a plan of action.
Once you and your practitioner have agreed what’s going to happen whilst you are on the table, they will leave the room to wash their hands, leaving you to undress and get onto the massage table in private.
So how much should you take off? The key thing is comfort and you feeling safe. You are very welcome to remove every stitch, safe in the knowledge that you will be covered and appropriately draped at all times to protect the modesty of both you and your practitioner. If you want to keep more layers on, please be aware that working directly on skin is the most effective way to receive massage, but we can work through drapes and thin layers of clothing if required. Working on the gluteal muscle or backs of thighs through jeans is possible but isn’t really advisable to get the most out of your massage!
Please note that no practitioner at Bristol Massage Therapy will provide naturist massage, draping is non-negotiable.
Down to business
Once you are safely on the table and covered up, the practitioner will return to the room and look to begin the massage. What form this takes will vary from practitioner to practitioner, client to client, and appointment to appointment. If there's something in particular you love - perhaps work on your hands - or something you loath - perhaps work on your feet - do please remember to mention this to your practitioner during your consultation.
Fairly quickly your massage therapist will 'check in' with you regarding depth and pressure, making sure that what you are experiencing is what you are seeking. Forget the mantra of "no pain, no gain", we are in the realms of working with your body, not seeking to raise your stress levels by beating you up. Some of our practitioners specialise in 'deep tissue' massage, but even here we aren't looking to hurt or bruise you - rather we are seeking that sweet spot of relieving discomfort ... if that at all! I often use the analogy of an itch ... when someone starts to itch that hard to reach spot just between your shoulder blades, it is glorious & you feel like Baloo in The Jungle Book but if they itch for too long or too hard, well that's then not nice. We are striving for delicious, each and every time.
More often than not, the massage will follow the plan that you agreed at the start, but occasionally something might crop up. This usually involves a particular area feeling as though it would benefit from more focus than the original plan allowed for. If your practitioner feels as though you may be better served by altering the original plan, they will discuss this with you, explaining their findings and their opinion - but the choice is entirely up to you. Indeed if there is anything that the massage therapist does which doesn't feel good, perhaps a little too much pressure, or so light that it feels ticklish, maybe they have spent so long on one calf that it's too much ... please just say. Your appointment is about you receiving the work that you require and desire.
Coming to an end
At the end of your massage, your practitioner will make it clear to you in a gentle and nurturing way that they have completed their work. They will invite you to take your time and to get dressed and then leave the room to wash their hands. Do take your time getting up from the table, don't feel rushed, but if you feel yourself drifting to sleep pull back! Your massage therapist will knock before they reenter the room, and if you aren't ready, just say so. Some rooms have a screen the practitioner can wait behind without seeing anything, in other rooms they will wait outside of the door, but do let them know when you are 'decent'.
Again, take your time. There is always water available, so do help yourself if you feel thirsty. If you feel a little 'out of it', don't worry. You won't be rushed out of the room so the next client can be whisked in on a conveyer belt, but please don't be offended if your therapist uses this gentle time to reset the room.
When you have 'come round', you and your massage therapist may talk about how things felt / what they felt / what you felt. This might lead to some suggested aftercare. Please forgive us if we give you homework, but as massage therapists we do have an understanding of how minor tweaks might contribute to significant improvements in how you experience your body. It might be as simple as to drink some water after your appointment, it might be that stretching or some foam rolling could benefit. You won't get told off if you don't complete your homework, but trust me when I say that I can tell when clients have or haven't undertaken my suggestions! Which sucks, because I am not great at doing my own homework!!
This is easy. Our fees are clearly indicated on our website. We take payment in cash or by card, and can also accept £B (Bristol Pound) in paper form or electronically. We will also have a little gift for you so that you don't forget us afterwards ... as if!
The topic of another appointment may come up, it may not ... whilst you know where we are, we also have experience of a large number of clients with a wide range of issues, complains and requirements. Regularity of appointments does depend on finances, diaries and logistics - but for guidance have a look at our article How Often Should I Get a Massage.