This article by Annie Oksendahl, Licensed Massage Professional, shared with me in 1980, shares how to lean into the benefits of therapeutic massage.

Because massage is not a common part of our cultural experience, many people do not get the most out of a massage through lack of knowing a few simple do’s and don’ts.

  • Your only job is to relax as completely as possible. For those who find this hard to do, here are a couple of hints: breathe deeply and regularly, stressing the exhalation. Allow your body to become heavy and sink into the table. As your therapist’s hands locate areas of tension, consciously try to let go and relax these areas.
  • Talk, for the most part, can be distracting. A good massage requires concentration on the part of the therapist.
  • Feel free to give feedback if any manipulation is uncomfortable or if you would like something done longer or differently.
  • Just lie there. Allow your therapist to move your limbs into whatever position required. Be a rag doll. Don’t try to be helpful; instead be receptive and just receive.
  • If emotions surface, do not be afraid to give them expression. Your body stores many emotions. Sometimes during a massage these emotions will come up and it is of great benefit if you can let these go or work through them. At the very least, don’t be afraid to sign with relaxation or hum with sensation.
  • Close your eyes. See with your sense of touch. Feel your body both inside and out. Simply allow thoughts to come up and go, shifting your concentration from the thoughts in your head to the experience of your body.

Enjoy the experience of therapeutic massage!