3. Courtesy. How you treat and interact with your provider makes a huge difference in the quality of the massage you will receive. Whenever I see a negative review of a massage therapist who I know normally gets glowing reviews, I suspect that the client may have actually behaved in such a way that they negatively affected the massage. Yes, they may have actually gotten a bad massage from a therapist that normally gives wonderful massages, because they (the client) did not behaved themselves well. As much as I try my best to give all my clients a fantastic massage, I recognize that I am only human. If a client is rude, insulting, demanding and grabby, or if they cross any of my boundaries, then I will be forced into a defensive mode. I simply cannot give a fantastic massage when I feel vulnerable or guarded. Please be respectful and polite at all time, and I assure that you will get a much better massage. If you are not certain about what the expectations are; what is allowed or not allowed, then ask politely before you do anything questionable, and then respect his or her wishes.
I have encountered some so called "hobbyists" who actually make a sport out of trying to get a purely therapeutic massage therapist, who has clearly stated that she does not offer any erotic services, to touch them erotically. This so called hobbyist generally does not bring up their true interest until after the massage has already started. They may try to steer the massage down a sexual path in a subtle or sometimes not so subtle way. This behavior is disastrous on several levels. I could go in to depth about how potentially damaging this is to therapist, who may be constantly bombarded with sexually demeaning overtures on a daily basis. I could tell you about many potentially gifted therapists who have been discouraged and given up massage therapy as a profession all together over this issue. I could tell you about others who gave into to the pressure, but resented it and became bitter and cold. But more to the point, it is just not a good strategy for you to engage in if you want a top quality massage. You will most likely experience one of three less than optimal possible outcomes:
1. She may refuse to continue the massage altogether and send you packing on the spot (possibly without your money).
2. She may try to continue with a purely therapeutic massage, but the quality will suffer because she will be very guarded.
3. She may give in to the pressure. Even if you achieve some type of victory by wearing her down, if her heart is not in it, I can assure you the quality will not be good. Do you think a touch given begrudgingly, is really worth all the effort?
Another behavior that can diminish the quality of your massage is trying to haggle over the price. You may be able to politely ask if she or he is offering any specials, or ask if she or he offers a discount perhaps to military or senior citizens if this applies to you. But if the answer is no, you need to let it go. If you cannot afford the price asked, then I suggest moving right on to a different therapist who is already in your price range. If you continue to try to wear her or him down, this will not work in your favor. This is very insulting. It is extremely hard to give a good massage to someone who has just insulted you. I strongly suggest either pay the price asked or pick a different therapist.
4. Cleanliness. You might think this one would be common sense, but I can tell you from personal experience that more often than I would like to recall, I have had a client lie down on my massage table who was not hygienically savvy. Remember that in order for your therapist to do a good job, they are in very close proximity with you for generally an hour or more, with their nose all right up in your business. If you have bad breath, body odder, or dirty stinky feet, they cannot escape it. Please put extra care into your hygiene before getting a massage. It will pay off. It is extremely hard to do your best work on someone who is not clean or smells bad. If you take the time to brush your teeth, take a shower, use a little soap and deodorant, believe me, you will get a much better massage than if you do not. If you are unable to do these things before your massage because you are coming straight from a hot sweaty job, then please ask the therapist if there is a shower facility available to use on site. If the answer is yes, then bring your toiletries with you, use the shower before you get on the massage table and don't forget to brush your teeth.
Cleanliness also applies, in the broader sense of the word, to being drug and alcohol free. If you arrive intoxicated or under the influence of a mind altering drug, this is not acceptable. This puts both you and the therapist at risk. You are not only more likely to behave badly, but you actually are more likely to experience an injury when intoxicated. You are likely to be dehydrated and physically compromised in a variety of ways. You will have less sensory awareness and your perception will be altered affecting your ability to communicate your needs and physical limitations. This will adversely affect your judgment and your overall massage experience. If the therapist notices your altered state, she or he may ask you to leave.
To sum it all up; if you want to get the best possible massage, be aware that your behavior matters a great deal. First, do your homework. There are vastly different types of massages out there. You need to know what you really want. Don't just look at the pictures; take the time to read the words in the advertisement or website if one is available. Notice if what the therapist claims to offer seems to be in line with what you are seeking. Call and ask directly but politely if this provider offers the service you really want. If you get a bad vibe, or are suspicious that this therapist is not being honest, pay attention to your gut feelings and don’t go. Always be a gentleman. By all means, please do not arrive to your appointment smelly or intoxicated.
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