FAQ: Can I? (Your burning questions)

By Ian Chow, CErtified Massage Therapist

This is the next compilation of the FAQs with some of the questions of “Can I” that may come across your mind before, during or after going through a massage therapy session. Some of these questions have been asked by my client as well (throughout my experience as a therapist). Click here for the full set of FAQs. Or simply just click here to read about other massage related topics that I write about.

Can I lose weight with massage?

Jokingly, I think the therapist will be more likely to lose weight rather than the receiver due to the physicality of doing a massage. Honestly, if one is looking to lose your belly fat, shrink your thigh or getting rid of the flab on your arm just from massage, you will be in for a disappointment. But couple it with a strict diet and enough physical activities, massage can be the indirect way to complement your effort and make it easier for you to stick with your regime. It is like a reward for your body and massage can stimulate release of endorphin, our natural painkiller and one of the “happy” hormone to keep us going.

Can I have a drink (alcohol) before a massage?

It is a no for me unless it is just a glass of wine or beer (but all dependent on your tolerance as well). A massage will amplify the effect of alcohol in your body as massage promotes better circulation. So you don’t want to start out as tipsy at the beginning of the massage and drunk by the end of the session. Plus, alcohol dehydrates you and massage do moves fluids out from your muscle tissues into your vascular system. Hence, when you add both together, this certainly spells bad news and you may not feel good at all after the massage. Worse still, you then put the blame on the therapist of doing a bad job.

Can I be completely naked?

As covered in the other FAQs, you really have to gauge according to the establishment or the therapist. Best that you ask them directly. Some establishment also do not allow this at all and they have a signage stating so. For me as a therapist, I will always ask the receiver to undress until the level that they are comfortable with. They can be fully clothed or they can be fully naked only with the drape. I will adapt the technique accordingly.

Can I get a massage if I am suffering from certain condition(s)?

There are certain contraindication that will not allow a massage to be done. But in general, techniques can be adapted to a lot of conditions that you may have. Finding the right therapist who can adapt and who knows about the pathophysiology of certain condition is important. I always believe that unless it will make a condition worse, I don’t see why anyone cannot enjoy a massage session. Plus, massage has proven to be beneficial for a lot of mental and physical conditions that one may have. If you are unsure, do consult your medical practitioner beforehand.

Can I get a massage while I am going through chemotherapy?

Firstly, I am a massage therapist who are taught that massage is absolutely fine for cancer patient, if it is done with the correct techniques and the understanding of cancer pathophysiology. To note, massage does not cure cancer but it is to provide the comfort and much needed relaxation from all the distresses experienced by the receiver. It is to make difference in their quality of life with positive outcome especially on the emotional wellbeing.

And coming back to the question, we should not do it on that day itself where you will have your chemotherapy session. We can do it a day before. So, do plan accordingly.

Can I get a massage when I am pregnant?

Yes, certainly but do it with a trained pre natal massage therapist who are more well verse with the dos and don’ts. From my knowledge, there are also certain meridian points that may induce labor, hence some technique adaptation is needed when it comes to those areas.

On another hand, there is this constant argument about whether one should receive a massage during the first tri-semester. Especially in the Asian tradition, one will be advised to let the pregnancy stable before any physical activity that involves more movement than usual. Recently, I came across this point where one may already have receive their massage when they don’t even know that they are pregnant and yet, they are absolutely fine. A valid point but I shall still leave that to the receiver to make their call.

Can a massage release my emotions?

It is possible. One may start to experience certain emotions during the session. The comfort of touch may also make one display the emotion through crying or laughter. Or make you confront certain thoughts especially when you are relaxed and your mind is more open. You never know what may come out from a massage session. As a massage therapist, I won’t stop what is happening, I will just let it happen unless it turns violent. As a receiver, do not be shy if you have an emotional outpour but please do keep in check that it doesn’t turn into a rage.


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