Odd experience at Massage Envy -- Or am I wrong?

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him8nc in Springfield, Missouri

55 months ago

I've had yet another questionable experience at Massage Envy. Here is what happened. Is this normal?

I went in for my first-ever 2-hour massage. I assumed the 2-hour massage would be the same techniques as 1-hour or 1.5-hour massage, but with more time spent on each area.

I was wrong.

I really think this woman ran out of moves and started making things up, because I have never experienced these techniques during a massage.

She began with my feet, which I had never experienced.

At one point, when I was face-down, she sort of stuck her thumb into my arm pit, left her fingers resting on the skin pointing toward my shoulder, arched her fingers almost like they were sitting on piano keys, and then started moving her hand like she was waving at someone, which ended up feeling like she was scratching the letter "C" into my skin.

She did the nail-scratching thing again on my legs.

I've never had a massage therapist scratch me before.

The really weird thing that she did was, when I was face-up and we were close to the end of the 2 hours, she put 1 hand on each side of my leg, rubbed straigt up toward my knee, then her hands separated with 1 hand going around the outside of the kneecap. Then she came back and made circles around the outer edge of the knee.

I was starting to feel like my kneecap was going to be popped like a giant zit.

Then, when I almost couldn't take it any longer, she started rubbing in circles going inward toward the middle of the kneecap and PUSHING on the kneecap.

I was ready to scream.

Is this normal?

Should I complain?

Last time I had a bad experience at Massage Envy I was totally honest when they sent their email survey, yet I never heard a word from anyone to find out more. That was when the massage therapist wouldn't stop talking and said things like, "You know, you should really have your thyroid checked." Um, I realize I'm overweight but it wasn't appropriate for her to say this.

Thanks!

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JJ in Portland, Oregon

55 months ago

The best thing to do is to talk with the manager after you get dressed. Tell them what happened and why you are not satisfied. They want to know and they should give you a credit of equal value for a future massage.

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G in Sanford, North Carolina

48 months ago

I am just wondering what you expect after a 2 Hr Massage? I think this is way to long for your body (as you experienced), and the Massage Therapist. 1 Hr is the Max to Relax the Body. Even longer Massages are offered, your Body will get to sensitive.

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Laura in Alexandria, Virginia

48 months ago

Had you told the therapist you are having range of motion issues with your shoulder or shoulder pain? I work subscap through the arm pit and the serratus anterior just below that area. Though I tend to let clients know WHY I'm doing it.

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Leti in Miami Beach, Florida

48 months ago

G in Sanford, North Carolina said: I am just wondering what you expect after a 2 Hr Massage? I think this is way to long for your body (as you experienced), and the Massage Therapist. 1 Hr is the Max to Relax the Body. Even longer Massages are offered, your Body will get to sensitive.

- I don't think 2 hrs is too much at all. It's just enough for a good deep tissue. And some trigger point.

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AaronHett in Miami, Florida

47 months ago

A massage therapist must be very talented and qualified to pull off a quality two hour massage. Techniques must be sustained and precise throughout the session. The therapist must be able to maintain effective techniques throughout the entire massage, without losing stamina and focus. www.southmiamimassagetherapy.net/

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L.M.T. in Coatesville, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

JJ in Portland, Oregon said: The best thing to do is to talk with the manager after you get dressed. Tell them what happened and why you are not satisfied. They want to know and they should give you a credit of equal value for a future massage.

NO,the best thing for you to do is communicate with your therapist that you are not responding positively to the techniques she is using and could she please change her approach. If she has adequate training she will have a significant skill set to approach and treat your soft tissues with the right modality to help make you comfortable. If that does not happen,please be aware: " Because of informed consent, clients have the right to know about and fully PARTICIPATE in their own care" (source Abmp).That being said, you may now see that it is a silly thing not to communicate with the therapist when receiving a massage session. The vast majority of us want to help, not hurt or cause a client to experience an abysmal time spent on the table. Bearing through a completed massage that was not approaching your unique physical needs and then getting dressed only to complain to a manager who most likely has no massage knowledge, is not why you went to receive massage, is it? To have the therapist give you their work for the completed amount of time, all the while your not verbally responding(either positively or negatively)is quite like you going to a restaurant, consuming the entire meal, and then getting up, going to the manager and saying how lousy the meal was, and expecting the bill to be waived.

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L.M.T. in Coatesville, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

AaronHett in Miami, Florida said: A massage therapist must be very talented and qualified to pull off a quality two hour massage. Techniques must be sustained and precise throughout the session. The therapist must be able to maintain effective techniques throughout the entire massage, without losing stamina and focus. www.southmiamimassagetherapy.net/

AMEN!

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SLong in Padre Island Ntl Seashor, Texas

42 months ago

Yes, next time please communicate with the therapist, about what you expect (just the usual but go slower and work longer on each area) and when something (anything) feels off or hurts. Sounds like she might have taken a short Thai massage class and to fill the 2 hrs tried to do some techniques from it, but didn't quite get it.

But also - you expected a good 2 hr massage from Massage Envy? in general they try to recruit people with little experience for low wages. New people probably 1) don't have the experience to fill a 2 hr massage in an extremely productive way 2) Might not be able to take care of themselves well enough to do a productive 2 hr massage. There are probably some great people at ME who are the exception to the rule, but if you just call up and get the next therapist I think you chances are not high.

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Don'tHaveOne in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

21 months ago

SLong in Padre Island Ntl Seashor, Texas said: Yes, next time please communicate with the therapist, about what you expect (just the usual but go slower and work longer on each area) and when something (anything) feels off or hurts. Sounds like she might have taken a short Thai massage class and to fill the 2 hrs tried to do some techniques from it, but didn't quite get it.

But also - you expected a good 2 hr massage from Massage Envy? in general they try to recruit people with little experience for low wages. New people probably 1) don't have the experience to fill a 2 hr massage in an extremely productive way 2) Might not be able to take care of themselves well enough to do a productive 2 hr massage. There are probably some great people at ME who are the exception to the rule, but if you just call up and get the next therapist I think you chances are not high.

No need to knock Massage Envy, I have a friend who works there and she is very talented and does not make low wages. It's important for clients to communicate what they want with a therapist. The armpit thing sounds to me like she was trying to work the subscapularis and the area around the knee cap does get work as well. I've been on both sides of the table and I've been confused as a client as to what the therapist was trying to do but it was partly because I didn't educate myself on the type of massage I was asking for and she didn't try to get in depth with the discussion about exactly what I was looking for. I believe most MT's want to give their clients the very best massage and communication on both ends is key. As a therapist, I do believe the responsibility for clarification is ultimately yours and you need to really find out what it is that the client is looking for.

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rgboggs in Sherwood, Arkansas

13 months ago

I'm a LMT and while those techniques aren't common they aren't wrong or bad. It does sound like you had an inexperienced LMT that may have decided to try out some new moves on you at the end. Also if those techniques bothered you that much an experienced LMT can usually tell by your physical response that you are stiffening up from disliking what they are doing or finding it painful, especially since you should have been pretty relaxed near the end of a 2 hour relaxing massage. even at the end of a deep tissue it should have been winding down and they should have been using flushing, flowing, gliding, calming motions to flush out all the toxins and fluids they had just worked up in the tissue. The main thing you as a client need to remember is that no matter how experienced your therapist is, we are not mind readers. While the more experienced we are the better we get at picking up body clues like, tensing up, unusual grunts/noises, changes in breathing, ect. we still need feed back from you if we don't pick up on your body clues. You won't offend us. If you do offend a therapist by telling them what you like, what hurts a little and what hurts a lot, GET ANOTHER LMT! When you first go to a therapist you will have to communicate more, even with experienced therapist, as they get to know you. As they build a relationship with you and get to know the issues your body has and needs addressed you won't have to talk quite as much, but still if there is anything you don't like or even just find weird tell them, ask about it. We are human too and sometimes get lost in our work and your body is our work so we may do something that sounds great in our head but may feel really weird to someone who has no clue why we are doing it, especially if it's not something we normally do. Also know what your LMT specializes in so you have an idea of what techniques they might use and you might be less surprised when you get a thumb in your armpit.

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Andrea in Orange, California

7 months ago

JJ in Portland, Oregon said: The best thing to do is to talk with the manager after you get dressed. Tell them what happened and why you are not satisfied. They want to know and they should give you a credit of equal value for a future massage.

I am a 14 year Therapist and sounds like you got a fairly new therapist. I would not advise Massage Envy to anyone. You pay for what you get and that place is a production line and therapists there are unable to personalize because of back to back time constraints.

More time to each area should be done. The back and neck is the area of most concern and where I begin my massage.

My suggestion is go to a therapist by referral if you can and one that personalizes the massage specifically to your needs and expectations. Blessings to you!

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Angie in Woolloongabba, Australia

3 months ago

Hi there,
I am a therapist and I have worked with many different therapists which all have unique styles, we pick up things a long the way. But nail scratching is not normal and pushing fingers under armpits in a moving c motion isn't either, maybe releasing muscle or pressure point in this area but what you describe it does sound weird.
Please do all massage therapists a favour and politely say I'm not comfortable even if it means you make up a white lie to get out of the treatment and then in private speak with the manage to get a refund and give feedback. To injur or make someone uncomfortable is not our goal. The knee cap technique sounds dangerous you should always be very gentle around the knee cap (around!!!!)... as people have commented earlier it is important to communicate and read cues... I usually start slow and after a while check in, and say? How's the pressure? Is this the right area? Some people are shy to be assertive. And starting on the feet is fine... there are reflex points there... I find in a long treatment I may put heat packs on the back and start at the legs to give time for the heat to penetrate. Also it's great for circulation as it helps release all fluid build up and toxin build up from lower extremities first.
Anyway if you don't like a massage get out, even if it's a bit awkward... IVe done it, they need to be told if they are not doing their job to the standard you are paying for.

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ABFranklin,LMT

1 month ago

Fingers in armpit, she was releasing the tension in the pectoralis muscles

The "c" that you felt is what we call a "j stroke". It breaks up connective tissue.

I can not explain finger tips
Cross friction strokes around the knee is normal, but if any modalities are uncomfortable ALWAYS request lighter touch or for the therapist to cease that part of the treatment.
She should have picked up on clues.
I also know that most 2 hr massages are usually intense. Usually deep tissue or done special modality i.e. Hot stones, wrap salt scrub etc
Deep tissue massage can be a lil uncomfortable especially with trigger points but rewarding when done correctly

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