Home > Health & Wellness > Stress Management > How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage

How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage

Does the thought of getting a massage make your muscles tense up? Here’s how to relax when you’re getting a massage, so you can get the most out of your visit to a registered massage therapist.

How to Relax When You're Getting a MassageThe Complete Book of Massage is a bestselling massage book on Amazon, probably because it’s a comprehensive guide with step-by-step instructions. If you can’t afford a professional massage (I pay $90 an hour, but it’s worth it), get a book on massage. You don’t need a partner to give and receive relaxing, effective massages – you can exchange massages your sister, friend, or parent.

“Massage used to be considered an unnecessary luxury,” writes Larry Costa in Massage: Mind and Body. “Today, it is valued as one of the most effective methods of combating stress and inducing relaxation, but also for its many other physical and mental benefits, including expelling toxins, relieving muscle soreness, increasing flexibility, easing chronic pain, reducing tension headaches, boosting the immune system, promoting restful sleep, and improving concentration.”

Boy, am I glad I got a massage today! I’ve been going to a registered massage therapist sporadically – once a year – but my New Year’s Resolution is to get a massage every two months.

How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage

If you’re getting a massage to help you sleep better, you might find the relaxation techniques in Acupuncture for Snoring – A Natural Remedy for Good Sleep helpful.

Remember that you’re not the first, and you won’t be the last

Do you feel uncomfortable when getting a professional massage from a registered massage therapist? If so, you’re not alone. I couldn’t really relax until my fifth or sixth massage. I still feel a bit awkward sometimes, especially when I remember I forgot to shave my legs! But I keep telling myself I’m not the first body she’s ever massaged. And, my body is no worse or better than any other body…she’s seen it all.

Don’t talk during the massage

This is a tough tip for me – but it’s one of the most relaxing ones! When I talk to my massage therapist, my mind is all over the place. I’m thinking, planning, remembering, and focusing on our conversation. That does not make the massage relaxing, nor does it help me sleep later. I’d much rather be silent, completely quiet, when I’m getting a massage.

If your massage therapist is a talker and you feel awkward asking her to be quiet, get a new massage practitioner. Talking isn’t relaxing (unless perhaps you’re an extrovert).

Keep your eyes closed

When your eyes are open, you’re more likely to be distracted.

getting massaged

How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage

Your eye movements keep you alert and focused on what’s happening in the room – not on the therapeutic touch of the massage of therapist. This is a relaxation technique for sleep, meditation and yoga, too. This tip on how to relax when you’re getting a massage will help you slow down and focus inward.

Focus on your breathing

One of the best ways to relax during a massage for sleep is to focus on the in and out of your breathing. Take deep breaths in – in fact, stop and take a deep breath right now! See how good it feels? Doesn’t it relax you, make you feel calmer and less stressed? When you’re getting a massage focus on breathing in and out. Notice the rhythm of your breath, what it sounds like, what it feels like to fill your lungs with air.

Repeat a mantra or prayer when you’re getting a massage

The first few times I went to my massage therapist, I repeated the words “freedom” and “forgiveness” to myself, over and over. It distracted me from thinking (and thinking is what makes one feel awkward while getting a massage). This relaxation tip requires a bit of advance preparation. That is, you should set your mantra or affirmation prior to getting the massage – and avoid the stress of having to think one up while you’re trying to relax.

Wear wireless headphones

How to Relax When You’re Getting a MassageOne of the best ways to relax when you’re getting a massage is to wear Wireless Headphones or earbuds. This way, you don’t feel the need to make conversation – which I always do – and you won’t feel weird about the silence between you and the registered massage therapist. And, you can listen to what you want!

Getting a full-body massage from a registered massage therapist is one of the healthiest things you can do for your mind, body, and soul. Massage for sleep feels great, too. But if you can’t relax during the massage, then it may not be as effective. So, take lots of deep breaths, and enjoy the touch of a professional, registered massage therapist.

What prevents you from relaxing when you’re getting a massage?

This is how I relax: I remind myself how effective massage is for sleep and curing common health ailments. Research proves that massage can prevent illness and improve the immune system…and it feels great! I always have to remind myself to relax during a massage – and the more massages I get, the easier it is to relax.

Do you have any relaxation tips or ideas about massage for sleep? What works for you? I welcome your comments below…

On a slightly related note, I also wrote How to Relax When You’re Getting a Pap Smear on Blossom Into Health.


Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 thoughts on “How to Relax When You’re Getting a Massage”

  1. I have developed an Immersive Massage system which has 3D screens both below and above the massage couch showing journeys over tropical coral reefs and classical balinese legung dance, I believe this is more effective than closing your eyes as it gives your mind a relaxing experience

  2. I am right there with you when it comes to feeling the need to make conversation while getting a massage! I can see how having headphones would be really helpful in being able to disconnect from the moment and really relax. I’d probably listen to something without words to make sure I could relax completely.

  3. These are a great list of tips on how to relax when you’re getting a massage. Usually I feel relaxed whenever I think about getting a massage but some people need help relaxing. Thank you for sharing.

  4. That’s a great question, Rachel. When my massage therapist talks too much, I offer very short answers to her questions. Usually they’re really good at “intuiting” when a client isn’t interested in conversation. The massage therapists I’ve used are very quiet, and only talk when I initiate conversation. In fact, I think that’s part of their training…how to read clients and know when they need silence.

    Honestly, if your massage therapist is talking too much, I suggest asking her if it’s possible to work in silence. I know this might be awkward, but you might lead with the fact that you’re learning how to relax during a massage, and talking tends to wind you up a bit. Another suggestion is trying another massage therapist. I’ve received many massages over the years, and I daresay all of them are mostly quiet.

    Thanks for your comment – I look forward to visiting your blog! 🙂

    In peace and passion,

  5. Rachel Z Cornell

    Ha. I’m relaxed just reading this. I can have a bit of a hard time relaxing when I get a massage when a therapist works on my neck. What would you suggest if a therapist is talking too much and making it hard to relax?

  6. I absolutely love having a therapeutic massage! Your tips on how to relax when you’re getting a massage are perfect!

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    HI Tobi,

    I’m not sure if that book about massage therapy is accompanied by an instructional video or CD. But, if you look on Amazon for DVDs or books on professional massage therapy, you might find what you’re looking for! I suspect there are several DVDs like that.

    Good luck!


  8. Tobi Swartz, LMT

    I loved your book, Massage:Mind and Body, but was wondering if you have any instructional video or CD that I can buy from you or from Amazon, etc? I would really like to see your step-by-step massage moves in motion. I appreciate the still photos, but would much prefer something to watch in motion. If there is anything you have, please send me an e-mail at tobiann12@yahoo.com. I am interested in any massage modality. Your book left me craving a video! Thanks.