Anyone who has received a professional massage knows that one of the first things you do beforehand is fill out the intake form. This form is designed to give your therapist an overall, brief overview of the following:
- Name and other personal information
- Reason for visit
- Medications you are taking
- Things that exacerbate your symptoms
- Where you are experiencing discomfort
Knowing these things, they can then start to work on customizing your session for you that day.
This isn’t all the information that is needed, however, so during the initial interview you’ll be asked more questions, which are designed to help the therapist assess the best way forward to address your symptoms quickly and efficiently.
You may be asked questions while you are on the table, too, especially if you have come in for post-operative massage or are in acute pain. These can be anything from “Is this where you feel the pain?” to “Do you feel this anywhere else other than where I am working?”. These kinds of questions help your therapist pinpoint exactly where the pain may be originating from. We have a saying “The problem isn’t where the pain is”, meaning that pain can originate in an area that is on the opposite side of your body, or further up along the line of fascia and nerves which is causing pain to radiate to a specific area.
Your therapist may also ask you what you do for work. This seems to be a more personal question, but it lets them know if you have any kind of activities at work that are repetitive and that can cause your body to tighten in specific areas.
Someone who works at a desk 8-10 hours a day will most likely have tension in their neck, shoulders, and arms.
A mechanic will have tension in their neck, shoulders, pectorals, and lower back.
Someone who works in retail will have tension in their lower back and will have sore calves and feet from standing all day.
A dental technician will have pain mainly in the neck and shoulder of their dominant hand, as they sit at an angle above and to the side of their patient for an hour or more.
Alternatively, if you come in and talk about your skiing or hiking trip, your therapist can quickly figure out why your legs are feeling sore and tight.
During the outtake interview, you’ll again be asked questions about how you are feeling after the massage, and your therapist will most likely make suggestions to you about stretches or the use of heat or ice to complete the relaxation of the area you’ve had worked on. If you’ve come in for a relaxing massage to ease your stress, you’ll be sent off with a friendly reminder to rebook. This ensures that you remember that spending time on your self-care is important, and to make sure that you can come back to destress once more.
Once your therapist has worked with you several times, often just a quick “Has anything changed?” or “What would you like me to focus on today?” are sufficient to help bring you where you want to be.
Please remember that if you don’t tell us something, we can’t help you as well as we can.