Massage and Acupuncture Etiquette
February 23, 2018 7:33 PM   Subscribe

When my treatment is done, my Massage Therapists and other wellness professionals have always told me to take my time, when they are done the treatment and are leaving the room to let me get dressed. Do they mean ‘please get up slowly, you’ve been lying down for a while’ or do they mean ‘by all means, lie there another minute or two before getting up’?

I’m hoping the Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists and other wellness professionals of Askme can help me decipher the meaning behind this phrase. I’m generally referring to relaxing treatments or those in which I sometimes verge on sleep. I don’t want to irritate them or otherwise interfere with their preparation for their next appointment, but sometimes I want to linger for a couple minutes.

Are they giving me their blessing to briefly lounge?
posted by scrute to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They mean both things. They know that getting out of massage headspace can take a minute or two, plus you need time to get dressed, so they have no expectation that you should leap up and GTFO ASAP. And they need a bit of time too, because it’s a change of headspace for them as well. (And they probably need to pee, wash the massage oil off their hands, change clothes, etc.) Don’t lay there and take a nap or anything, but a couple minutes, sure. A good professional will schedule their appointments far enough apart to have plenty of time between clients.

My last BF was a massage therapist and, while he had a solid clientele and made a comfortable enough living, he typically had only 1-2 appointments a day. It might be different for someone who is relatively new to the field and/or works in a chain (like Massage Envy) but generally the private practitioners will not book back-to-back clients that run the risk of squeezing for time.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:05 PM on February 23, 2018

The treatment room is cleaned and prepped for the next client after you depart. If you're concerned, ask the therapist to end your session five minutes earlier than they would have normally, as you'll need that time to gather yourself together. Then you won't feel rushed, or like you're setting their schedule behind. Or your practitioner has the opportunity to say, you can take your time, you're my last appointment.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:12 PM on February 23, 2018

My massage therapist doesn't always have back-to-back clients, but sometimes she does. She stops a minute or two early every time, so I have enough time to get up, get dressed, and then I pay her and she starts to prep the room. She always says to take my time, but I feel like "within reason" is implied. Occasionally her next client is waiting when I leave.
posted by clone boulevard at 9:43 PM on February 23, 2018

Your MT has to change the linens on the table and tidy everything away before the next client, so, while they don't want to rush you, they're not inviting you to take a nap.
posted by praemunire at 10:35 PM on February 23, 2018

I have always understood that as "don't rush, and don't stand up so fast that you get dizzy," rather than an invitation to relax and stay a while. If you need to lay down longer as part of your recovery, I'd definitely use the script suggested above about asking them to end slightly early so that everyone is on the same page.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:21 AM on February 24, 2018

We mean get up slowly because you might feel dizzy or wobbly. We do not mean lie around on the table relaxing, or otherwise linger unneccesarily in the treatment room. There's no need to rush, but it's not okay to linger. Sorry. You're more than welcome to relax in the lobby on our comfy couches.

(The time after your massage in the massage room is also not the time to nap, send emails, do your hair and makeup, make phone calls, etc.)

generally the private practitioners will not book back-to-back clients that run the risk of squeezing for time.

This is incorrect. Industry standard is anywhere from 0 to an absolute max of 15 minutes between appointments, and we have a LOT of things to do in that time, the majority of which depend on you being up and dressed. If you are spending more than five minutes in the treatment room after your massage it is a problem for me.
posted by windykites at 7:26 AM on February 24, 2018 [5 favorites]

Scheduling practices no doubt vary among different practitioners. Is there any reason you couldn't simply ask how closely appointments are generally scheduled?
posted by dancing leaves at 6:11 AM on February 27, 2018

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