These are the most asked questions from my patients, as well as some information that you should know before receiving a massage.
Is tipping required?
In this practice:
The owner of the practice often does not receive tips (gratuity).
I certainly do not expect tips, and they are not required.
I always appreciate tips, and I know for many of my patients they really want to leave tips.
For those wondering about tipping massage therapists generally:
Gratuity (tip) is expected. It is customary to tip your massage therapist after each session, as their wages are all based on the expectation of tips.
A tip is usually not included in your gift certificate, voucher, coupon, or special offer. Even if the massage was a gift to you, the gratuity is your responsibility.
It is customary to tip on the regular price of the service, not the discounted price you may have paid based on a special offer or promotion.
For a 60-minute service, average gratuity ranges from $10-20. And for a 90-minute service, average gratuity ranges from $20-40.
Therapists always appreciate cash tips. However, many clinics and practitioners these days accept credit card payments, and that most likely includes gratuity.
For more on tipping massage therapists, or if you prefer a video, check out _____________
What time should I arrive for my appointment?
Your appointment begins at the time it is scheduled.
Time for paperwork, bathroom stop, parking, etc. are not built into your appointment time. This is particularly important for your first appointment, because you will need to complete your paperwork before the therapist can work on you.
Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete your paperwork.
Please be aware that if your appointment begins late, it will still end on time, as the therapist will need to move on to the next appointment as scheduled.
On rare occasions, the therapist may be running late from the appointment right before yours. In this instance, the therapist will ensure you receive your full time, so long as your schedule will permit it.
How long will my appointment be?
I do not rush anyone in or out of their appointments, meaning I do not rush you onto the table and then hurry you out the door afterward. Rather, I allow a full ten minutes for a thorough intake interview, during which I will ask you questions about how you’re feeling, what you’ve been up to since I last saw you, and any changes you may have noticed in your body.
For a 60-minute appointment, you will have 50-55 minutes on the table. Once the massage is complete, I will take as much as 10 minutes to explain what I found and accomplished during the massage, make suggestions about what you should be doing at home until your next appointment to get the most out of your treatment, get you rescheduled, and answer all your questions.
*Note: If your appointment begins late for reasons other than the therapist running late, table-time will be cut short. If possible, I will cut the interview short to get you as much time on the table as possible, but the interview is important, because it tells me where to work, and therefore cannot always be shortened.
What can I expect during my first appointment?
The first appointment is typically the longest. I will review your medical history with you and complete a thorough initial intake interview.
I find it is most effective if I treat you as a whole person with an interconnected body, so I take the time to ask a lot of questions and begin to put together as complete a picture as possible of your medical history, your current complaint, and parts of your lifestyle that play into whatever’s going on with you today.
During your first appointment, as well as subsequent appointments, I often use assessment techniques that allow me to pinpoint the trouble area and then measure progress.
I will make a recommendation for treatment that day, which will be targeted to your area of pain or complaint. After the focused bodywork, I will lay out a treatment plan specific to you and your treatment goals, which will include a rough timeline as well as the targeted changes you should start making at home, which always includes stretching.
Before you leave, I will make sure to have answered all of your questions so you know what we’re working on, what we’re working toward, what approach we’re taking and why, and why the things you should do at home will help you get better.
What can I expect during subsequent appointments?
All appointments will begin with an interview. During this time, I will ask how you’ve been since your last appointment, what if any changes you’ve noticed, how your homework is going, and anything else you’ve noticed or want to share.
This interview will allow me to continue to modify the treatment plan in order to hone in the problem with laser-like focus. I will also likely perform assessments. Some of these may be ones performed previously, or they may be new. Then I will make a recommendation as to what to work on during the appointment.
After the bodywork, I will review findings, make any necessary changes to your treatment plan and homework, and answer all your questions.
What do I do if I need to cancel or reschedule my appointment?
Please know I require a minimum of 48 hours’ notice of cancellation or reschedule.
In order to cancel or reschedule, you can simply email me directly at email@example.com. Or you can call our office at (970) 218-7179.
Please understand you may have to leave a message. I am practicing part-time right now and there may be a delay in returning your message. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
*NOTE: Do not reply to the text reminders you receive. Those never reach my office.
Should my massage hurt?
In short, no. However, this question is slightly complex, so let’s go into a bit more detail. The old adage, “No pain, no gain,” does not apply to massage or bodywork. If the pain is so intense you have to hold your breath or grit your teeth, you need to speak up—it’s too deep.
Pain like that means the kind of tissue damage we usually don’t want. You need to tell the therapist it’s too deep. (No therapist will EVER be upset at hearing this from a patient, so don’t ever worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, appearing weak, or anything else!)
And you won’t be shorting yourself in your treatment either. We will actually make MORE progress if we stay away from this kind of pain.
Tissue damage is real. At its core, massage and bodywork is essentially a therapeutic form of tissue damage.
When you exercise, you are actually breaking down the muscle fibers. When they rebuild, they rebuild better and stronger; that’s how you build strength.
Something very similar is happening when you get a massage. We are intentionally causing controlled, limited, specific tissue damage which then allows the muscles and tissues to rebuild better than they were.
If the work is causing hold-your-breath, grit-your-teeth pain, we are no longer facilitating therapeutic tissue damage. Rather, the work is causing the kind of damage that comes from injury, and it goes without saying injuries take time to heal and set back any goals you might be trying to accomplish.
You and the therapist are a team. The therapist will often recognize the pressure is too deep, causing the wrong kind of pain, but not always. You have to help by letting the therapist know something hurts.
There is a kind of pain during massage we typically refer to as a “hurts so good” kind of pain. It’s different from the breath-holding, teeth-gritting kind of pain.
The hurts-so-good kind of pain is acceptable. It’s a kind of pain that does not impede breathing, cause limbs to jerk or tense, or otherwise force you to “just get through it.” It’s the kind of pain that you want to drink in or fall into, that’s just so good you could stay there a while.
This kind of pain is okay, and signals we are still in the therapeutic zone.
Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, and every therapist works differently. “Deep pressure” to you might not be the same as “deep pressure” to someone else, and that’s okay. That’s the beauty of massage. The principles are the same, but the techniques can be modified and tailored specifically for you, each time. That means you can get maximum benefit from each treatment.
To learn more about this or to watch instead of read, check out this video ________________
Is it normal to be sore the next day?
While it isn’t normal or desired to be sore the day after a massage, it’s not unheard of, either.
It’s important to differentiate between being sore and feeling like you had some work done on a specific muscle or area.
If you feel sore, meaning you have pain, the work was too deep. It caused the wrong kind of damage, and it will likely take you a couple days to recover. It will be important to tell your therapist this happened and to speak up during your next treatment when you experience the wrong kind of pain.
It is absolutely normal to feel as if you’ve had some work done after getting a massage. This feeling is different from pain or soreness. It’s just the feeling that someone was touching that muscle and/or something about that muscle changed.
When a muscle is so tight and short it’s causing you pain, or causing you to move in such a way you have pain, you will feel a change after work is done to lengthen and loosen that muscle. You will likely feel small shifts or other changes while your body continues to sort of unwind and settle back into a more proper alignment, or as other muscles no longer have to do jobs they aren’t meant to do, because the muscles just worked on are now functioning more as they should be.
This is an indication your treatment is working, and that you’re soon on your way to being pain-free and moving as you should be.
In either instance, drinking more water will help your body repair itself and can reduce both the feelings of pain and soreness as well as the awareness of having had work done. In the 24-48 hours following your massage, you should always drink extra water, meaning an amount of water above and beyond what you typically drink.
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA is a federal law that protects medical information. Any doctor, hospital, or other provider that collects and stores medical information is subject to HIPAA privacy laws, and this does include Catherine and Catherine Nelson Massage Therapy.
What this means for you is that all of the information you provide to me is kept completely confidential, including payment, billing, demographic, and scheduling information. Even the fact that you’ve held an appointment is private.
This is true of all my patients, and all those who interact with us in order to become patients.
I cannot talk to you about anyone else, including spouses, adult children, and friends, just like I cannot talk to anyone else about you.
Please be understanding of this when you ask about people you’ve referred to me. I treasure your referrals—and this is not an understatement. In my mind, there is no higher compliment you could give then to trust me enough to send someone to me for treatment.
However, in order to follow up on that person and learn whether or not he or she came for an appointment, you need to ask that person directly. It is a HIPAA violation for me or any employee, contractor, or affiliate of Catherine Nelson Massage Therapy to even let you know if that person scheduled an appointment, and HIPAA violations are a really big deal.
That being true, when you ask me about your referrals, I will always encourage you to follow up with the referral directly. That person can not only confirm she had an appointment, or not, she can tell you how it went, how she feels, and anything else she thought about it, if she’s so inclined to share. I could never give you so much information.
Why will my therapist give me homework, and what will it be?
In nearly fifteen years of doing massage and bodywork, I have found that patients get better at lightening speed when they do a few basic things at home.
Knowing that to be true, I include homework as part of all treatment plans.
My philosophy is to get people out of pain and moving better fast, so I’m always looking for ways to do in three appointments what I’ve been able to do in four, or to do in six appointments what I’ve been able to do in eight.
I have found the key to be a few specific things patients need to do at home.
Homework always includes at least one stretch, a water goal, and magnesium.
It may include any number of other things as well, and all of them are specific to you, your complaint, your goal, and your lifestyle, and everything is re-evaluated and sometimes tweaked every time you come back for another appointment.
I give you targeted stretching to capitalize on any gains you’ve made in specific muscles each appointment, and these often change over the course of your treatment. Generalized stretching is wonderful, and I advocate a regular stretching practice.
However, I am all about targeted, specific work in order to accomplish targeted, specific results, so I give you targeted, specific stretches.
How long will it take me to get better?
This question is impossible to answer, especially without doing a thorough intake, evaluation, assessment, and palpation assessment.
There is no other body just like yours, which means there is no other body with exactly the same pain or problem.
However, I can say that eighty percent of my patients are pain free after three appointments.
The treatment process is usually 3-6 weeks-however there are plenty of outliers, so do not take this estimation to heart!
It’s worth noting here that the people who get better the fastest are the ones who jump into treatment with both feet. Meaning they do everything recommended in the treatment plan. They put in the work-for a short period of time, so they get better, and they get back to their lives.
When treatment drags on, it is often because the patient is not doing their part at home. What a person does or does not do to care for their bodies at home is far more important than what happens in the treatment room, and a full, fast recovery is rarely possible if nothing is being done at home.
To learn more about this or to watch instead of read, check out this video ________________ (How often should I get a massage?)
How will CranioSacral Therapy help me?
CranialSacral Therapy works to decrease and eliminate pain, allows your body to make postural and structural corrections, elevates and regulates mood, helps facilitate learning and cognition, aids sleep, and a lot of other things.
CST works on the central nervous system, switching it from from fight-or-flight mode to rest-and-digest mode. Rest-and-digest mode should be our normal default state, but usually isn’t. It’s often why people experience pain, anxiety, depression, and a host of other problems that can wreck every day life.
For people with stubborn, chronic pain that just won’t go away, low-level pain that is always just under the surface, or who have hit a plateau in the healing process, CST is a technique to seriously consider. It will give your body the chance to heal in a way no other therapy can, and it will allow us to make greater progress with the other techniques we’re using.
For people with anxiety, trouble sleeping, PTSD, and other similar or related issues, CST can change your life, and that is not exaggeration. There is no better therapy for helping soothe your central nervous system, get you out of fight-or-flight, and help you regain control of your body.
Will CranioSacral Therapy help me with what I have going on?
Yes! Because this treatment works on the central nervous system and enables the body’s ability to heal itself, this technique is indicated in a wide variety of treatments. To name a few, it’s effective for pain, stress, anxiety, sleep problems, trauma recovery, headaches/migraines, TMJ, mood and cognitive issues, structural and/or postural issues, numbness or tingling, fainting, fatigue, and whiplash.
What is a CranioSacral session like?
During a cranial session, if we’re only using cranial techniques, you stay fully dressed. It is a hands-on technique, so you will feel me touching your head, neck, torso, pelvis, legs, and feet.
The techniques are very still. Unlike a massage, where I would use gliding, moving strokes, cranial techniques involve holding a particular position for several minutes.
And the touch is very light pressure, so while the technique has a profound impact, the touch is very gentle. Quite often, patients relax so much they fall asleep.
Patients often experience sensations of relaxing or unwinding within their bodies. Pains shift and dissipate. Patients experience feelings of peacefulness, contentment, and balance.
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