It might sound like a oxymoron, but there really can be such a thing as a bad massage. (Take it from someone who was once blasted with a fire-hose and jumped on by a barefoot Chinese man, all in the name of relaxation.) Here, how to make sure you get the rubdown you want:
1. Ask around for recommendations. Friends, personal trainers and yoga teachers are generally good sources. If you have serious aches and pains, ask your doctor or chiropractor.
2. Go in with a purpose, and be prepared to communicate. What part of your body is tight or giving you problems? Are you a big exerciser or do you just want to chill out?
3. Know the lingo. Swedish massage is gentle. Shiatsu, reflexology and deep tissue massage are not for the faint of heart.
4. If, you’re super-modest, specify whether you want a male or female therapist when you book your appointment.
5. Remember, it’s costing a lot of money so speak up (politely) if you don’t like the lighting, the music or the massage pressure.
6. But don’t feel compelled to talk during the massage itself. It’s perfectly fine to say, "Wow, this feels so good I think I’ll just go to sleep now."
7. When in doubt, find out what treatments massage therapists get for themselves. At the Lapis Spa in Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel, for instance, my therapist, Maggie, confessed that she and her colleagues love The Masters — a custom treatment combining Swedish, hot stones, facilitated stretching and deep tissue massage. Amazing. You can even ask the therapist to fast-forward through any type of massage you don’t like and cut to the ones that really transport you. (And don’t forget to check into the special deals at the amazingly sleek and gorgeous Lapis right now. There’s only 3 weeks left in Miami Spa Month!)
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