Am I Supposed to Talk During a Massage?

It’s a common question that massage therapists hear all the time; “Can I talk during the massage?” Some clients are worried about talking too much or too little. They want to be friendly but not ruin the whole experience. But what do massage therapists say?

It’s up to you!

If you want to talk, go for it. If you want to be completely silent, go for it. If you want to talk a little, but not the entire time, that’s fine too. What a lot of clients tend to forget, is it’s your time. Whether you’re getting a 15 minute chair massage or a two hour full body massage, how much conversation there is, is completely up to you.

Many clients find it comforting to talk for the first few minutes of a massage, especially their first few sessions as we’re getting to know each other and build the trust that is really important to a great therapeutic relationship. Then as they get more comfortable, the conversations get shorter and shorter, and sometimes go away completely. For some clients, a large part of the relief they get from their massages is the ability to vent and get everything off their chest to someone they can trust, so they spend the entire massage chatting.

What you need to understand, is that as your massage therapist, my job is to facilitate your healing, in whatever way you need me to, within my skillset of course. For some that means silence, for others it means talking, and others are anywhere in between.


Go for it, but please be aware, that sometimes you may not get the full benefits of your massage if you’re talking the entire time. What I mean by this, is that calm breathing and a calm state of mind greatly emphasizes the benefits of the massage. So even if you prefer to talk, I may, at times, ask you to take some deep breaths to calm your body so it can better receive the work I’m doing.


Please understand that I may occasionally check in about my pressure, certain areas of concern, and things like that. I’ll do my best to keep quiet and not disturb your experience in any way, but I also want to ensure you get the most of your massage; and that means checking that everything I’m doing is what your body needs and you’re comfortable with it. Even though you may like to stay quiet, don’t hesitate to speak up and let me know if anything is uncomfortable. While your tissues and your body language may give clues as to a pain response, I’m still in the dark as to what exactly you’re feeling, so please let me know if I need to lighten my pressure, increase it, move to a different area, or anything else you feel is necessary. This is your massage and I want it to be perfect for you. The only way that can happen is if there is at least a little bit of communication throughout the session; more so if you prefer clinical or therapeutic techniques.

No matter how much or how little you prefer to talk during your massage, it is completely up to you. Please don’t ever feel obligated to talk unless I’m asking you a question, and don’t be afraid to speak up either.

Why is an Intake Form Necessary For Massage?

Why is an Intake Form Necessary For Massage?

For many, the idea of massage as healthcare is still a foreign concept, so often it’s not understood why massage therapists require all clients to fill out a health/intake form. However, this is a very important part of how we assess your needs for the session.

Massage and Cancer

Massage and Cancer

A cancer diagnosis is scary. Read our blog on how massage therapy can help.

How Does Reflexology Work?

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexology is so much than just a foot massage. As well as being super relaxing, a good reflexology session is an effective way to re-balance your body and address certain medical issues naturally and gently.

Four Reasons You Should Take A Break

Four Reasons You Should Take A Break

I know you’re busy. You rush through your days and probably right now have numerous browsers open or are only halfway reading this because you have so much on your mind. That’s life in the world we live in. But did you know that taking a break is far more beneficial than just a few minutes of downtime?

Whether it’s a 10 minute break in the middle of your workday or a full week away, taking breaks has numerous benefits. Here’s 4 of the best…

Seven Easy Self-Care Tips...

Seven Easy Self-Care Tips...

While massage therapy can have benefits that last days or weeks at a time, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your body every day in between appointments. To help the effects of your massage last longer and simply to feel better, you’ll need to practice some self-care. Massage therapy is not a luxury, nor is it selfish to receive. Daily self-care is no different.

Stress, Anxiety, and Massage

Stress, Anxiety, and Massage

Why get a massage? According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, 28% of Americans who get a massage do so for relaxation and stress reduction. That’s a lot of people in the US who feel strongly enough about their own experiences with massage for stress reduction to put their money on it. But aside from individual feelings, what exactly do we know about massage and how it relates to stress and anxiety? And what does the research have to say about that?

What is stress? What is anxiety?

Stress is your body’s response to demanding circumstances. Working late hours? You’ll experience stress. Prepping for a big competition? Definitely stressful. Toddler throwing a tantrum? That’s no doubt stressful for both of you. When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing and heart rate quicken, and you feel jittery and distracted. All this is useful if your stress is a result the big race you’re running, when you can put that energy to good use. It’s less helpful if your stressor is a friend in need of patience and comfort.

People who regularly put themselves into stressful circumstances on purpose (public speakers, for example) often learn how to channel that stress response for their own benefit, but it takes practice over time. When stress goes from being an occasional experience to a chronic condition, health problems result.

Anxiety, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a reaction to circumstances. Most often, it’s related to anticipated future or potential stress. As with stress, anxiety isn’t necessarily an immediate health problem, although it’s unpleasant. Feeling a bit anxious about an upcoming exam, the imminent birth of a baby, or the quality of a presentation can give you a push to prepare as best you can. But anxiety becomes unhelpful when it is overwhelming, requiring you to focus all your energy on surviving your immediate feelings rather than addressing their roots. Pacing, nail biting, trembling, and vomiting are signs that anxiety is veering into unhelpful territory. Test anxiety, social anxiety, and decision anxiety are all common forms of anxiety.

Anxiety disorder is the general name given to chronic, excessive anxiety in response to everyday situations. Anxiety disorders include

Generalized anxiety disorder: excessive anxiety in general.
Social anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to interacting with others.
Separation anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to separation from specific people, often parents or caregivers.
Phobias: subset of anxiety disorders characterized by persistent fear of a specific thing.
Panic disorder: anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring panic attacks.

Many people discover that they have more than one type of anxiety disorder, or deal with anxiety combined with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, or substance abuse. While stress and anxiety are more general terms that you can probably identify in yourself, anxiety disorders can only be diagnosed by a physician.

What kinds of studies have been done on massage for anxiety and stress?

Stress: While stress levels are largely subjective, studies focused on pain, sleep, and other outcomes often find that patients report decreased stress levels as one of the major benefits they receive from massage therapy treatments. In one study on pain in acute care settings, more than half of the patients mentioned relaxation in their survey responses. One described the experience of receiving massage as “very helpful, soothing, comforting, and relaxing,” which is notable considering how stressful being hospitalized is. Improved emotional well-being and sleep were also mentioned by many patients and nurses, both of which are good indicators of stress reduction.

Anxiety: Most studies done on massage and anxiety have focused on specific populations. One study found significant improvement in both state (long term) and trait (immediate) anxiety in children with cancer and blood diseases who received Swedish massage. Another measured the physiological responses to stress (blood pressure and pulse) in hospitalized children and found similar results. Cardiac care patients were the focus of another study. Again, massage was shown to be helpful at reducing anxiety. Still, larger and broader studies on the matter still need to be done.

Anxiety disorders: There have been relatively few studies on massage therapy for anxiety disorders specifically, and those that have been done have been small and generally lacking good control groups. One randomized controlled trial found that massage therapy was significantly helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder, but no more so than thermotherapy (relaxing with hot towels placed in different locations on the body) or being in a special relaxation room with no additional treatment. This study only measured improvement over multiple weeks, and not feelings of anxiety in the short term, before and after treatments. Because this study didn’t have a no-treatment control group, they weren’t able to state whether all three were equally effective or equally ineffective.

What does all this mean?

People regularly feel that massage helps reduce their stress and anxiety. There are also other techniques that seem to be helpful to varying degrees, depending on the situation and the person. This is helpful to know, because not everyone enjoys massage. For some, touch itself can be a source of stress and anxiety, so it’s helpful to know that there are other complementary therapies available that also create positive results.

Stress and anxiety are closely tied to pain, sleep, and other factors. Reducing pain reduces stress levels. Reducing stress levels can also reduce pain. Improving sleep can impact both pain and stress, and vice versa. Does massage therapy work primarily through either pain or stress reduction, or does it impact both equally? This is an area for further study.

Massage therapy is a fairly safe way to manage stress and anxiet.y With relatively few drug interactions and a very low chance for injury, massage therapy can be helpful to a wide variety of people dealing with stress and anxiety in different situations. From the smallest infants to athletes to people in hospice, there are few who could not benefit from massage therapy.

There is a lot more to learn. While there is a lot of research on massage for pain, massage for anxiety (and especially massage for anxiety disorders) has less research to back it up. It will take time and money before a large body of knowledge has been built up.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, massage therapy is worth trying. The evidence is still rolling in, but what we have is promising. Are you ready to give it a try? Book your next massage today.

Why You Need to Get Mom a Massage Gift Certificate this Mother’s Day

Why You Need to Get Mom a Massage Gift Certificate this Mother’s Day

Give Mom (or Mom-to-be) some peace and quiet this year.

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

  In this blog post, we discuss sports recovery, pregnancy, chronic health ailments, and basic relaxation/stress relief with regards to how often you should schedule a massage for each!