7 Things Your Massage Therapist Wishes You Knew

Kathleen Lisson
3 min readDec 19, 2016

I am a Board Certified Massage Therapist with advanced training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage to reduce swelling after plastic surgery procedures like tummy tuck, facelift and liposuction. I practice in San Diego. Here are my top seven things I wish clients knew about massage.

1 — I probably cannot fix months worth of pain in one hour. Yelp reviews are full of massage miracle stories! Some clients feel 100% better after one session, but if the pain is chronic, it is more likely that symptom improvement will take several sessions. This is also true for post-surgical swelling. Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatments for facelifts, tummy tucks and liposuction should be given twice weekly for several weeks as the body’s lymphatic system heals.

2 — It’s important to list all your medications on the intake form — Coming to me for help with tightness and heaviness from swelling in your body? Surgery and some diseases can cause swelling, but some prescription medications can also cause uncomfortable swelling! Listing all your medications gives your massage therapist a more complete picture of your health.

3- Is Your Massage Therapist Board Certified? — Different states have radically different qualifications for practicing massage therapy. California therapists have to have a minimum of 500 hours of education. Board Certification requires 750 hours of education, passage of an advanced written exam and 250 hours of work experience.

4 — Does your massage therapist have specialized training? As the massage therapy profession becomes more advanced in California, many massage therapists are investing in advanced training in an area of specialization. For instance, I took over 180 hours of training in Manual Lymphatic Drainage. It is natural to be confused when the website of a massage therapist lists several different specialties. Be sure to ask how many hours of training he or she has in the type of massage you would like to receive, and also how many of that type of specialized massage he or she gives to clients each month. For instance, if I was interested in getting a tummy tuck, I would want my plastic surgeon to perform tummy tucks all the time, not just one or two times a year.

5- I don’t care about your hairy legs — I hear this a few times a month from clients. You don’t need to apologize for not shaving.

6- Massage is Not a Prize — Please don’t just ‘treat’ yourself to a massage if you’ve been very good. Massage is a powerful way to reduce stress and chronic pain. Use massage to bring balance to your body on a regular basis, not just when everything is going right.

7- But, Massage Can be a Goal — I have clients who are able to handle daily stress in their lives much more easily because they know a pain-relieving massage is booked on their schedule. Would knowing you have a massage booked make your week seem easier?

To book a Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage session in San Diego, visit http://www.solacesandiego.com



Kathleen Lisson

San Diego lymphedema therapist, Massage CE provider. Author, Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook & Lipedema Treatment Guide, Stress Reduction for Lymphedema.