Pro Tips for Receiving Bodywork

By Kristin Coverly

Scooch Up
Do you have a love-hate relationship with the face cradle and what it does to your sinuses, cheeks, and sometimes chin?

Scooch up your body on the table so your forehead is closer to the top of the cradle. Most clients are positioned too far down the table so their face isn’t positioned properly in the cradle.

Straighten Up
The majority of clients end up in some sort of diagonal position on the table after flipping over during a session, which means we have to move you around to get your body straight again (this move might be covertly disguised as a double-leg swaying-back-and-forth maneuver or a two-hands-under-the-shoulders lift-and-move technique).

After you turn, move both arms and legs out to the sides of the table. If you’re crooked, one side of the table will be a lot closer to one hand, or foot, than the other. Accordingly modify your body position. This tip is really about helping us, too, so thank you in advance!

Wipe Up
Have you ever felt like you were unexpectedly plunged into a pseudo-ice-skating move when you got off the table and onto feet with a little too much lotion on them? I call this the lotion luge.

Wipe those lotion-y feet on the sheet (but not the blanket!) before you get off the table.

Dress Down
Do you hate having to put uncomfortable or restricting clothes back on after your session?

If you’re not able to wear a comfortable outfit to the appointment—say you’re coming from work—bring one with you to change into afterward. You’ll be like Clark Kent, only instead of coming out of a phone booth as Superman, you’ll be coming out of your massage session super comfortable.

chill Out
Do you want to use your session time as a peaceful mental reboot, but have a difficult time clearing your mind of your to-do list, work projects, Facebook posts, and family dilemmas?

Create a personalized strategy for letting go of these random thoughts. Clients often think of a mantra, visualize a peaceful setting, or focus on the music. Find a strategy that works for you so you’re taking advantage of every possible benefit your massage and bodywork session has to offer.

Face Cradle Fixes
Ask your therapist to adjust the tilt and height of the face cradle. We can usually find a position that is more comfortable and helps with clogged sinuses/runny nose issues and will keep your chin from hitting the bar. Please don’t try to adjust the cradle yourself while you’re face-first in it. It’s too difficult from your body angle and that’s a perfectly awful recipe for breaking it.

Kristin Coverly has been joyfully working with her massage clients in Boulder, Colorado, for 16 years. Each of her clients is her favorite, and they have both inspired and mastered all the items on these lists (although they do end up crooked on the table after the midsession flip on a pretty regular basis). She is also the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals manager of professional education, which means she gets to provide education to help fellow massage therapists and bodyworkers learn, grow, and evolve their practices to better help you, the favorite client. Contact her at