Paula DeCrescenzo, Licensed Massage Therapist

Clinical Massage Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions



Where will my massage or bodywork session take place?
Your massage session can take place in either in your home or at my office.

Although I can bring my massage table to most clients' homes, there are a few limitations: Carrying the massage table up a flight of stairs isn't feasible, so if you have any stairs it would be best if you come to my office. If your home has water damage, mold, was recently painted, has indoor pesticides, or many synthetic chemicals/fragrances (such as scented candles or febreeze), I can't work on you in your home. I would be happy to see you at my office. 

What do I need to provide?
If we are doing the session in your home, you will need to provide enough space for my massage table (8 by 4 feet), a set of sheets and a pillow case, and, if you would like music, an outlet. If we are doing the session at my office, you don't need to provide anything. For both office and home sessions, it would be helpful if you could print out and fill out the Health Information form and the Screening Questionnaire form before your session begins. 

Must I be completely undressed?
Most Western massage techniques are performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped during the entire session.

Will you be present when I disrobe?
I will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with your clean sheet.

Will I be covered during the session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.

What parts of my body will be massaged?
Although a typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders, my goal is to customize your massage session to your specific, individual needs. Therefore, we will discuss your goals before we begin your massage to ensure that all of your needs are met. I'm happy to avoid any areas you don't want worked on. I'm also am happy to spend the entire session on one particular area, if this will be most beneficial to you.

What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
A relaxing Swedish massage is often a baseline for clients. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension.

As your body becomes more relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relieve specific areas of muscular tension. I will check in with you periodically to ensure that the pressure is good for you, and will adjust accordingly.

Deep tissue massage can be painful, but usually it is a ‘good pain.’ If the pain is ever sharp, numb, or burning, lighter pressure should be used — these sensations shouldn’t happen during a massage. An aching, dull, or spreading pain can be indicative of a trigger point being worked on — usually, this is beneficial.

Generally, I use a light oil to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting. Pain during a massage isn’t necessary for it to have a beneficial effect, and can be counter-productive. 

Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?
There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, pace, and patterns of movement, application of pressure to specific points, and more. Different cultures and countries also have different types of massage and bodywork. I'm primarily trained in Western techniques, including Swedish massage and deep tissue massage, which often incorporates myofascial release, trigger point release.  

We can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.

What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
Prior to the massage, feel free to ask me any questions about the technique or the upcoming session. During the massage, make yourself comfortable. I will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm).

Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. Some people prefer complete silence during their massage, while others prefer conversation. I'll take my lead from you. 

If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask. If you want me to do something differently, please let me know. If anything that I do hurts, or doesn't feel effective, please tell me so that I can modify my technique to ensure that it is helpful for you.

How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity, and an increase in range of motion. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Some people experience an increase in pain, especially after a deep tissue session. This usually dissipates after a few days.

Does your office have a shower?
My office doesn't have a shower. If desired, I can provide a towel for you to remove excess oil. However, I use pure jojoba oil, which many people find to be moisturizing for the skin. 

What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve local circulation during the session, increase joint flexibility for a period of time, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure for a period of time. Anecdotally, massage is believed to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.

Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, you fill out a brief massage intake form which asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform me of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required. As per HIPAA regulations, all health information that you provide to me will be kept confidential.

Although massage therapy appears to be beneficial for a number of health conditions, one case study showed a negative outcome in association with hashimoto's thyroiditis. Therefore, if you have this autoimmune condition -- please let me know, as we should limit work on the neck and upper back to ensure no harm. 

Will you give a massage to a minor?
If a minor (somebody below 18 years old) would like to schedule a massage with me, I need the minor's parent/guardian to contact me on behalf of the minor, and to sign a consent form giving me permission to work on the minor. The minor will also have the opportunity to fill out an assent form, in which they go over their needs and give assent to receiving massage.

What information do you need to schedule my appointment?
I need your full name and your desired massage modality.

What forms do you need me to fill out, why do you need me to fill them out, and and when should I fill them out?
For your first massage, I need you to fill out the Health Information form and the Screening Questionnaire form. I need you to fill out these forms to ensure that it is safe for me to give you a massage, to modify it to any medical issues that you may have, and to design the massage around your specific needs. It is best for you to print out the forms and fill them out prior to our first session. 

What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, check, and electronic payments through venmo. 

Why go to an independent practitioner instead of a spa?
With a spa, there is often a rush to get clients in and out. I manage my own scheduling, which means that my clients aren't being rushed on and off the table.

Additionally, you'll know who you're working with in advance -- rather than randomly being assigned to whomever has an opening. I have more time to do a thorough intake to truly customize each client's massage, which is rarely possible in a spa or franchise-based setting. Working with an independent practitioner means receiving next-level attention from your massage therapist, which is especially important when addressing chronic pain, complex health conditions, and/or any conditions with a neuropsychological component.

You'll also know that you're working with a local business owner, rather than a large corporation, which is an important factor for many people. 


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