Both talking and massage therapy are well known methods for reducing anxiety and avoiding depression, but should you actually talk whilst receiving a massage? Find out what's right and what's not.
Along with many other “should I …” questions about what to do before, during or after a massage, whether to talk or not is a common question but one that can sometimes be difficult to answer.
So exactly what is the correct etiquette and, more importantly, is talking during massage therapy beneficial or not?
This is a key consideration. Conversational clients are one thing and chatty therapists another. So let’s deal with each of them in turn.
Standard advice is that once you have got conversational pleasantries out of the way, it is best to simply lie down, close your eyes and enjoy the rest of your massage in relative silence.
For most clients that is great advice. But for some people, this may not be the best thing to do.
If, for example, you have been feeling unusually lonely in London, overly stressed or in need of a mood lift to improve mindfulness, then chatting during your massage might actually be beneficial to your health.
Good therapists are actually trained and experienced at recognising and dealing with such needs. A warmly applied therapeutic touch together with appropriate short verbal responses can very effectively but subtly encourage someone who is feeling wound up to offload some of their stresses through verbal sharing.
As the saying goes, it’s good to talk.
But there’s nothing worse than realising that each time you say something, your therapist shoots off on a tangent and replaces massaging with chatting! If that does happen to you, nip it in the bud straight away with a friendly reminder.
In fact, always speak up immediately if you feel uncomfortable in any way at all during your massage. Professional mobile masseuses and masseurs are trained to listen, not to take offence and to adapt to meet the needs of each individual they visit.
We have a firm view on this one: massage therapists should not talk excessively during a session. Period!
Of course they should introduce themselves when they arrive. They should also briefly discuss your conditions and any specific requirements you may have before starting the treatment.
Experienced therapists may even initiate a short period of small talk. This is designed to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed before your massage commences. This technique can be especially useful if it is your first ever treatment or you have never met that particular masseuse before.
Once the massage has started, your therapist may also ask whether the pressure being applied is good for you. But a good therapist should not need to ask repeatedly.
Experienced therapists can both feel and watch your body’s reactions to their touch and adjust the pressure accordingly.
Overall, a decent therapist should aim to keep the overall ambience serene and silent. Playing background music during your massage helps avoid any feelings of awkward pin drop silence.
If a client is keen to talk then the masseuse’s focus should be to provide a sympathetic but primarily listening ear.
Even if you encourage your masseuse to chat, it should go without saying that she should never spend more time talking about herself than you.
If you do come across an overly chatty therapist, it can be difficult to know how to shut them up! Especially since you are in their hands and will wish to avoid any unnecessary tension or discomfort during the remainder of the session.
Remember, your masseuse is human too. She may simply be talking too much because she is nervous, mistaken about your preferences or having a bad day.
The best massages happen when your therapist feels happy in your presence. So make sure your therapist likes you by remaining friendly and respectful, even if asking them to stop talking too much. Just say it with a smile and it will probably sound just right.
The answers to many frequently asked questions about what is most appropriate during a massage often depend on whether you follow general protocol or consider your personal situation.
Just like there is no absolute answer to “should I undress completely?” or “how much should I tip my therapist?” , whether or not you should talk during your massage very much depends on your own particular circumstances rather than any predetermined rules.
So the very best advice is to enjoy your massage in silence or whilst chatting – whichever feels best for you!