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Center for Holistic Care, PLLC

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Anatomy 101


The draping is the coverings (sheets/blankets) that are on top of the client when they are on the table. The therapist is skilled in moving the draping in such a way as to allow access to your muscles to be massaged without exposing your private area.
Draping can be modified during the massage. If the room is a bit chilly and as the massage continues you are getting cold, you can ask the therapist to add another blanket so you stay warm. Or suppose it is the middle of summer and you are very hot. You can tell the therapist to leave your back uncovered at all times to allow you to stay cooler during the massage.

There are also different styles of draping. Where the two styles differ is draping the back of the leg and the lower back. I have termed the two styles as therapeutic and conservative draping.

THERAPEUTIC This type of draping allows greater access to the muscles, therefore it is more therapeutically beneficial because the therapist can massage more of the muscle to include the insertion and origin of the muscle. This type of draping would be good for someone who is more comfortable with more of their body being exposed during a massage (remember, private areas are always covered). The back of the leg is uncovered along with the back of the hip (the butt cheek). The lower back is also uncovered down to the middle of the gluteus muscle. This style of draping allows for the full hamstrings to be massaged as well as the gluteus muscle and the full lower back muscles. Also, for this style of draping to be effective, the client should be nude under the draping.

It takes more of a comfort level to allow the therapist to use this type of draping. So if you are not comfortable with it then opt for the conservative draping. If you are comfortable with it then you will find the massage to be more beneficial with this style of draping.

View the therapeutic draping used at CHI.
View Pre-natal Draping used at CHI.

CONSERVATIVE This type of draping is used for people who just do not feel that comfortable being nude under the draping. Just remember, there is nothing wrong with keeping any clothing on to allow you to feel comfortable. Your comfort level is the most important thing here. So if you are not as comfortable, then ask the therapist to keep the draping more conservative. And if while the massage is taking place you feel uncomfortable with how you are being draped, then tell that to the therapist and they should adjust the draping to your comfort level.

Now because more surface area is being covered with draping, the therapist may use more compression to work these areas or they may skip some areas all together based on your preferences.
Remember that these terms are terms that I have coined. If you get a massage from me and you say that you would like Therapeutic draping, I'll know what you mean. But if you go to another therapist and say that, they might say "therapeutic draping?... what's that". As far as I know there are no industry standard for terms to describe draping.

After the massage...
Depending on how deep of a massage you received, you could be sore for a day or even two after getting a massage.  Say for example you came in for a relaxing Swedish massage and during the massage the therapist found some tender areas that needed a little deeper work.  Those areas might be sore for the next day or two after the massage.  For most relaxing Swedish massages, where you do not have any deeper work done, you should not be sore at all or have very little soreness.

Drinking water is very important.  Why?  Because it is important regardless of whether you get a massage or not.  And since most people do not drink enough water, that is why you hear massage therapist say "drink plenty of water today" over and over like a broken record.  After a massage you should make sure you drink enough water.  Hydrating your body allows your body to recover from a massage more quickly.  Now if you are like me, and drink plenty of water on a daily basis, then you do not have to drink any more water.  The whole warning by massage therapists to drink plenty of water only applies to people who do not drink enough water on a regular basis, which applies to most of the people.

Keep in mind how you feel the day after or even two days after the massage.  Usually by that time you can tell if the therapist went too deep or maybe they did not go deep enough.  If they went too deep then you will be sore for at least two days.  If they did not go deep enough then you will still feel tension in the area the massage therapist worked.  So keep it in mind and then the next time you visit your massage therapist you can either tell them to go deeper or lighter based on how you felt.  Remember, massage therapy is a science but just because it is a science does not mean that each individual does not have their own unique circumstances that needs personalized attention.