First Time to Massage

By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist / Infant Massage Instructor / Oncology Massage Trainer

Length: 4 mins read (842 words)

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My first massage experience was possibly in my mid 20s at a wellness centre known as Wynter Spa at Subang Jaya (that would be in the early 2000s). I can vaguely remember that it was a Swedish massage modality and the package also include a facial session. As soon as I walked into the front door, I was mesmerized. The smell, the sound and the interior design, all so serene and calm.

After the greetings and welcome drink, I was given a questionnaire to fill. When they asked in the questionnaire on which part would I like to avoid being massaged, I recalled that I circled in the diagramme the entire leg portion cos I was afraid of the ticklish sensation. Lol. In the end, I did allow them to try on my leg and it wasn’t so bad. The session went on fine and in fact, I enjoy it so much that I even bought vouchers for my siblings to try.

The first time of doing anything in our life can be a daunting experience. And if you have anxiety or the type who worry about every single thing in your life, going for a massage initially can be scary, especially when you are naked (to a certain degree) in front of a stranger whom you have just met (we don’t even do this at most of the time with our first date…. :p)

If you are first timer to a massage, below are some tips that you may consider in order to have a more enjoyable session. On another hand, even as a first timer, you can certainly tell whether you have just been through a good or a bad massage session, which I based it on my five senses experience.


a). Choosing the right massage modality: Do you generally want to go for a relaxation massage or are you aiming to treat certain conditions? There are differences between a wellness massage with treatment massage. Most establishments in our country offer wellness massage but if you are specifically into a form of specialized massage to look into your conditions, you have to do some research on individuals or establishment which offer that.

If you really can’t decide, for a start, go with modality such a Swedish massage or Balinese massage where they used a lot of broad and relaxing strokes instead of modality that can be painful or uncomfortable for first timer such as traditional Thai massage, Tuina or acupressure based modality.

b). Choosing the right location: I feel this is just as important as choosing the right modality especially with the traffic and parking situation in Malaysia. You certainly wouldn’t want to be worked-up by being in the traffic for hour before getting to the destination or arrived at the the location, only to find out that there is no more parking left.

Plus, sometimes, you may want to consider what is in the vicinity because you may want to go to eat, a movie, shopping, buying grocery after the massage.

Alternatively, you may also engage a therapist and do the massage at the comfort of your home. There are many mobile spas or individual therapists that cater to such requirement.

c). Health declaration: This works both ways especially with the pandemic, that not only you should declare your health status or risk but you should also check on the therapist themselves or the hygiene level of the establishment. Rule of thumb, if you are sick even with a mild flu, you should not be receiving a massage or giving a massage. You surely want your first session to be safely conducted so feel free to check out prior on how the establishment or therapist handle the health SOP.


d). Communicate: All of us have different pain threshold or ticklish points. Don’t be shy to tell your therapist to exert lighter / stronger pressure depending on your liking during the session. And, if you don’t feel comfortable being massaged at certain areas, don’t just freeze and lie down still. Just tell the therapist politely that you wouldn’t want to be massaged at that area.

e). Price: With the sector reopened, there are a lot of price range that you can find. Some are a bit more premium but some are very affordable. A lot of establishments or individual therapists are also having promotions. I am sure you can find one that fit into your budget. But at times, the saying goes, “you pay peanut, you get monkey” when it comes to the massage quality, customer service, the quality of oil used, the hygiene level etc.

Alright, there you have it, some tips that you can consider to make your first session more delightful. Hopefully, you will be a massage enthusiast and we will meet one of these day for my treatment massage. For more tips as a massage “virgin”, do check out my other articles in this section especially on the dos and don’ts and FAQs.

Before: Oh My Client! Which One Are You?
Next: Good Massage vs Bad Massage Session


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Ian Chow 周 奕 延

Your personal massage therapist

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