Frequently Asked Questions
Before we get started:
This is your massage. Speak up! During the massage, if you want anything changed: pressure, areas worked, position, temperature; please, let me know. You won't hurt my feelings by asking for something that will make you more comfortable. My role is to help you relax and enjoy.
Could you explain your "Pay what you will" pricing model?
The standard "market rate" for massage in New York City is around $100 for a 60-minute massage, or $135 for a 90-minute massage. For many folks, this can be a day's wages or more - given this, I feel it's impossible to pick that, or any other amount, as a "fair" or even a "standard" price for my work. If you can pay this (or even add a tip on top of that), you're helping me to ensure that my services are available to everyone who stands to benefit from them. If that rate isn't realistic for you, that's ok too - pay whatever feels right to you for each visit. There are other ways you can support me - most importantly, by referring your friends to me!
What type of massage do you practice?
Some practitioners charge different amounts for different "types" of massages, often charging more for fancy-sounding "fad" treatments. I prefer to incorporate a variety of techniques into every massage, according to the needs and desires of each specific client. Some of the techniques I use include:
- Swedish massage: a gentle, flowing style used primarily for relaxation and stress relief.
- Deep Tissue: Firmer, slower, deeper pressure to maximize the physiological effect of the treatment on muscle tissues. Among other things, these techniques increase blood and lymphatic flow in the tissue, flushing out metabolic byproducts more efficiently and encouraging the body's natural healing process.
- Myofascial massage: A set of slow techniques designed to stretch and release any adhesions in fascia, the connective tissue beneath the skin and around the muscle tissue.
- Neuromuscular: Techniques designed to treat the nervous system's interaction with muscle tissues.
I have a variety ofunscented and naturally-scented massage oils and lotions available, including options for those with allergies or sensitive skin. (If you have your own favorite massage product, feel free to bring it.)
What should I expect from my first massage therapy visit?
When you first arrive, you'll need to fill out a health history form. (Or save time by filling it out online before you come!) The form will ask about things like health conditions, medications, past surgeries and injuries, and allergies. This information is important so that I can adapt the session to your specific needs while minimizing the risk of harm.
Then, I'll ask you some general questions about what your goals for the massage are, what areas you would like worked on, and whether massage is appropriate for you. After that, it's time to get started! I'll give you some privacy to undress and lie down, covered, on the massage table. Then, all you have to do is relax and make yourself comfortable!
Afterwards, most people feel very relaxed. Some experience a significant decrease or freedom from long-term aches and pains. Many feel a little slowed down for a short period and then notice an increase of energy, heightened awareness and increased productivity which can last for days.
Do I have to be completely undressed?
You should undress to the level you are comfortable. For a full body massage, many people prefer to undress completely. Others feel more comfortable leaving underpants on. I can give a massage even to a fully clothed client, but I don't recommend it - it won't feel as good, or be as effective. On the other hand, if removing all your clothes makes you anxious and unable to relax, then you are not getting the optimal benefit from the session either! I can work around or through whatever clothes you choose to leave on.
Know that you will be covered with a sheet throughout the massage, and only the area currently being worked on will be uncovered. Your genitals will always remain covered. (I don't do that kind of massage.)
How long does a massage take?
A full-body massage takes at least one hour. I allocate 60 minutes for a basic massage, or 90 for an extended massage. If you're in a hurry and only want a partial massage (say, neck and shoulders, or legs and feet), I can schedule a 30-minute session, but I don't recommend these unless you're getting massages weekly - the benefit may not last as long.
Will the massage hurt?
This depends on the type of massage and the depth of the strokes. A light, relaxing massage that doesn't probe very deep into the muscles, shouldn't hurt. More therapeutic techniques may be uncomfortable, but the pain should always feel useful and therapeutic - it should feel like "good pain." If you feel "bad pain," let me know - you may have an injury, and I can adjust my technique to avoid making it worse. And at the very least, if the pain makes you tense up, it negates the benefit of the massage.
After deep, therapeutic work, you may feel some discomfort, similar to the burn you might feel the day after an intense workout. If you bruise easily, you may even have light bruises. This is normal, and is part of the body's self-healing process. Some people report that increasing their water intake after a massage helps. A hot shower, or a soak in the tub can ease this soreness as well.
How often should I get a massage?
As often as you like! If you just want some occasional relaxation, you might go for a massage every couple of months. Once or twice a month is often enough to treat chronic muscle tension and pain, and to fight it off faster than it comes back. At the other extreme, if you have a specific condition you want to treat, I might recommend starting with 30-minute sessions twice a week, and tapering off to a maintenance level as treatment goals are met, over the course of a few weeks.
Is massage right for me?
In my opinion, there are few people who don't stand to benefit from massage. If you have had a recent cut, burn, or surgery, I can't work on that spot, but I can still work on the rest of you. However, some people should be careful:
- You should not book a massage if you have a fever, a cold or flu, or any contagious skin infection.
- I'm not certified to work with cancer patients without a note from a doctor confirming the treatment is ok, due to the effects of massage on lymphatic flow.
- Trauma survivors who are still in the early stages of emotional recovery may wish to receive some form of psycho-therapy or counseling before or alongside massage—it's common to protect your mental health by dissociating from your body awareness, and the psychological "grounding" provided my massage may be triggering, and could do more harm than good if you're not ready for it.