Can’t shake that aching neck? Struggling to stay focused thanks to stubborn lower back pain? Nursing tight glutes and sore calves?
Whatever discomfort or tension you’re navigating, a full-body massage can be the perfect remedy. It’s your chance to lay back, relax and let an experienced massage provider relieve aches and melt the stress away.
But if you’re feeling confused about massage etiquette or unsure what to wear during your appointment, we’ve got you covered. Let’s run you through everything you need to know ahead of your first full-body massage and the tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the session.
What is a full-body massage?
As the name would suggest, a full-body massage works your entire body from top to toe. This means your massage therapist will be using a range of different movements, techniques and levels of pressure to relieve tension and stress across all parts of your body.
While your therapist will be able to tailor your session to your needs, a full-body massage typically covers:
- Your head, including the temples, crown, scalp and occipital muscles (at the back of your head)
- Your neck, including the nape and trapezius (a.k.a. The long muscles that run down the sides and connect to your back)
- Your shoulders, including along the collar bones, shoulder blades and upper back
- Your arms and hands
- Your upper and lower back, an area that commonly holds stubborn tension and tightness
- Your legs, including your buttocks, glutes, tights, calves and feet
There are stacks of different massage types, from sports massage to remedial massage as well as lymphatic drainage massage, pregnancy massage, couples massage, Swedish massage and even deep tissue massage.
If you’re looking for a gentle, restorative session that uses light pressure, a relaxation massage is going to be the perfect fit.
However, if you’re looking to unwind after a workout or get deep into tight muscles, a sports massage is likely to be a better option.
The ultimate aim of a full-body massage is to leave you feeling deeply resorted, energised and motivated to tackle your day pain-free. So whether you’re a massage newbie or a massage enthusiast looking for a relaxing full-body release, a full body massage is a great way to wind down and give yourself the self-care you deserve.
How to prepare for your full-body massage
Heading into your first full-body massage can be a daunting experience. So, we’re here to take the guesswork out of your first session and help you feel calm and confident before arriving on the massage table.
Book the right session length for your needs
Here at Blys, our massage therapists offer three session durations for full-body massages: 60 minutes, 90 minutes or an indulgent 120 minutes.
The length you choose often comes down to a few things, including how much time you have to spare in your schedule and your goals for the session.
If you’re looking to enter a state of deep relaxation and ensure all of your muscle groups are given plenty of attention, it’s worth booking a longer 90-minute or 120-minute session. This will ensure your therapist has plenty of time to relieve stress and tension across your entire body.
However, if you’re short on time or happy with a more focused approach that targets specific parts of your body, a 60-minute session can be a great way to add some bliss into your daily routine.
Hydrating your body ahead of your massage is a great way to ensure your muscles are ready to receive the full benefits of your session. This will make it easier for your therapist to release any spots of tension and tightness and aid detoxification after your session, too.
Give your digestion a break
It’s best to avoid eating in the hour or two prior to your session to ensure your body isn’t busy digesting food during your massage.
Steer clear of any big, heavy meals and opt for light snacks (such as fruit or nuts) before your booking to ensure you don’t feel bloated or sluggish going into your massage.
Along with picking the right outfit (more on that in a minute), it’s a wise move to take off any jewellery before your massage. This includes things like hoop earrings, watches, necklaces, and bracelets, which may get in the way of allowing your therapist to deliver the best experience possible.
Switch off all distractions
Whether you’re heading into a massage parlour or booking a relaxing in-house massage, it’s important to create a space that feels calm, relaxing and distraction-free.
That means switching your phone off or onto Do Not Disturb mode, closing down your laptop and preparing your mind and body to receive the benefits of your full-body massage. Remember: this session is about putting yourself first.
What should you wear during a massage?
One of the most common questions we hear from clients is this: what should I wear during a massage?
Here at Blys, we require all our clients to leave their underwear on for the duration of their massage. From there, you can choose what you feel most comfortable wearing.
Your massage therapist will come prepared with fresh towels and sheets to cover any parts of your body that aren’t being worked on during different parts of the massage. They’ll use an origami folding technique to maintain your modesty and make sure you’re covered, warm and comfortable.
During more intense sports massages, some people choose to wear comfortable activewear (such as leggings or cycling shorts). But for a relaxing full-body massage, it can be easier for your therapist to work your muscles using long, buttery strokes on an unobstructed body.
Your therapist will leave the room while you undress and will leave again to allow you to get changed after the session is over. If you do choose to wear clothing, we recommend loose-fitting clothing that your therapist can work around easily.
What to expect during your full-body massage
From massage technique to what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour, here’s a step by step guide of how your full-body massage will go.
Before you get on the massage table
Before your massage begins, your Blys therapist will set up in your preferred space (or the massage room will be ready to go if you’re heading into a parlour).
They’ll have a massage table, clean towels and sheets, massage oil and extra touches (such as candles, incense or a diffuser) ready to help you relax and unwind.
During your pre-massage consultation, you’ll be able to chat with your therapist about any particular areas of concern, any injuries or niggles you’re working with as well as any key muscle groups you’d like them to focus on.
Once you’re on the massage table
Your therapist will leave you the room while you undress and get comfortable lying on the massage table under a sheet.
To begin, they’ll start by warming up your body and will typically start at your shoulders, neck and back. Your therapist will chat with you about what level of pressure you’d like, so make sure to speak up if you’d like things changed throughout the session.
Depending on what areas of your body you’d like to work on, your therapist will then move through your major muscle groups and relieve stress, tension and tightness.
Feeling awkward on the table is really common, particularly if you’re new to massages. Therapists are totally aware that this is a new experience for a lot of people, and they’ll guide you into an optimal working position. When in doubt, rest in a position that makes you feel comfortable on the table.
Plus, you’ll usually be asked to flip halfway through your massage (but don’t worry, your therapist will keep your modesty preserved at all times).
It’s important to call out that a professional therapist should never provide a happy ending massage or conduct any sexual acts during a massage session (including touching your breasts).
They should also gain verbal consent from you before working on muscle groups around your buttocks, inner thighs, or hips to ensure you’re informed and comfortable every step of the way.
Here at Blys, all of our practitioners must abide by a Code of Conduct that spells out what kind of behaviour is required from our therapists. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any inappropriate behaviour.
After your full-body massage
This is the part you’ve been waiting for: it’s time to reap the benefits of your massage therapy session.
After your massage, you’ll feel deeply restored, relaxed and ready to roll into a warm bath or cosy up in bed. Any stress or tension will have melted away, and you might even feel a surge of energy and an extra spring in your step.
Plus, over the next 24 to 48 hours you’ll likely feel lighter, more energetic and might even notice extra mobility and flexibility.
To prolong that post massage glow, we recommend drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, jumping in a warm shower or bath to release any toxins, doing a short meditation to keep you in that relaxed and mindful state.
We know it can be tricky to find the time to make self-care a priority. It’s why we launched Blys, bringing wellness to your own home (meaning no more rushing to appointments or getting stuck in traffic).