When I tell people what I do for a living, they often ask me if I prefer my clients to be talking during a massage, or be silent. I will clear this up straight away – if you are getting a massage, that is your time, and if you want to chat or be silent the choice is yours. If you have ever been uncertain on what is the proper etiquette for the massage room, this blog explains the most common scenarios and how best to act.
1. A good therapist lets their client control the amount of talking during the treatment.
There will always be a small amount of conversation from the therapist when they checking in with you during the treatment. They might make comments or questions in regards to pressure of the massage, observations of the body, or perhaps ask a question or two relating to your medical history so they get a better understanding of your body. This is necessary for a professional and effective treatment.
Any conversation on top of that is just extra, and it should be decided by you when it starts and stops. In my experience most people start to feel the relaxing effects of massage after about 20 minutes, and will casually converse up until that point. It is natural to want to build a bit of rapport with whom you have entrusted your body, so getting to know a bit about them or share things about yourself (family, occupation, hobbies, etc.) is normal.
But what if the therapist is talking too much and I just want to relax?
This can happen from time to time. If you know straight away that you want to relax, it is best to set the expectation early so you can get straight into the “zone”. When you are having the “why are you here today?” conversation, just mention that you want to relax and aren’t feeling very talkative today. The therapist should respect that and hopefully only interrupt the massage to ask questions pertaining to the massage.
2. But I feel awkward when the room is silent, doesn’t the massage therapist feel awkward too?
Definitely not! We love a bit of quiet time as well, it lets us focus on you. For people who find it difficult to accept the silence and relax, bringing the focus to your breath and the calming music will definitely help. Calm your mind and enjoy the feeling of tension being massaged out of your body.
3. I love talking! I am happy to talk for the full duration of the massage!
That is fine, especially if you get along really well with your massage therapist and have developed rapport with them. The session shouldn’t be an interrogation into your therapist’s personal history, just as they shouldn’t be prying into your personal life. Try not to ask your massage therapist for their opinion on non-massage related things, as they are there to provide you with a professional massage, not give life advice. Try to keep the conversation light, just as you would with a work colleague.
Keep in mind why you are having the massage. Is it so you can relax, so your body can be rejuvenated, or to get a break from your children or work environment? Regardless, a bit of quiet time will help you get the most out of the massage, mentally and physically. It will allow the body to relax a little bit more, so you can feel a little bit better. Try spending at least half of the massage silent and enjoying the treatment to see if you feel the difference.