Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of massage therapy?
  • Relaxation
  • Increased circulation of blood and lymph (immune system support)
  • Digestive support
  • Increased joint mobility and flexibility
  • Mental clarity/reduced anxiety
  • Emotional balance
  • Feeling of general well-being
  • Massage has been known, for thousands of years and throughout the world, to be very helpful for many different types of conditions; some of which include:
  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Neck and back pain
  • Digestive issues
  • Joint stiffness

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Do you work with children?

We are happy to work with bodies of any age, as long as a parent or guardian accompanies those under the age of 18 for their first visit, so that they can sign a parental consent form. We will not, under any circumstances, treat a minor without prior written parental consent. Parents are welcome to stay in the treatment room during the session if they wish, but it is not necessary.

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Do all of your massage therapists give the same massage?

We offer a wide range of massage techniques, however not every therapist uses every technique in their practice. While some therapists specialize in certain modalities, most use a combination of a few. If you are hoping for a specific type of massage (i.e.: Myofascial, Relaxation, Reflexology, etc) just let us know when you call to make your appointment. This way, we can better understand your needs, and place you with the appropriate therapist.

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What is the difference between deep tissue and shiatsu/acupressure?

Deep tissue is a technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue (hence the name). People frequently mistake the term “deep tissue” to mean, simply, the use of great strength/force, so they request a “strong” therapist. Deep tissue work is not so much about strength as it is technique. It involves a slow, purposeful “sinking in” to the muscle and surrounding connective tissue, along with specific intent focused on the area(s) of concern. Deep tissue work is not: forceful; painful; a test of strength. The purpose of this technique is simply to access and affect the levels of soft tissue that lie beneath the first layer, in order to restore function.

Shiatsu, on the other hand, is an Eastern form of body work, which focuses on encouraging the smooth flow of energy, or qi (pronounced chee), that runs through the body via pathways, referred to as meridians or channels. Along these channels, there access “points” that are manipulated with the practitioner’s fingers (these are the same points an acupuncturist places needles in); each of them correlating to a specific organ and its functions. There are several Eastern forms of bodywork that are based on this theory, with the common purpose of balancing the qi in the body by opening blockages along those pathways. The techniques used in a Shiatsu treatment can vary between therapists, depending on the region of study. Some forms of shiatsu are administered with clothing on, and some with the use of oil. Treatments usually involve some form of acupressure, and may or may not include particular stretches and joint mobilizations.

Acupressure is sometimes viewed as a more subtle version of shiatsu. While that is somewhat true, it’s more accurate to say that acupressure is one component of shiatsu. Like shiatsu, the goal of acupressure is to unblock stagnated energy throughout the body. This is accomplished by manipulating the same points as in shiatsu and acupuncture. It is not uncommon for a massage therapist to combine techniques such as deep tissue and acupressure, or shiatsu and Swedish, in order to attain several goals during one treatment session.

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Who is your best massage therapist?

The question, “Who is your best massage therapist?” is a common one, yet very difficult to answer. Choosing a massage therapist is a subjective process, meaning everyone’s body feels things differently. One therapist’s style may be loved by many, and disliked by a few. It all depends on your personal preference. At Om Chakra, we focus our efforts on finding competent therapists who have a wide range of techniques under their belts, with the hopes that the majority of our clients will be happy with any of our practitioners.

Our very capable staff of  massage therapists who come to us from varied backgrounds. All of our therapists go through a thorough screening and interviewing process before joining our staff. Eligibility of a prospective massage therapist begins with confirmation of their Maryland statewide certification, which ensures each therapist is adhering to the standards set forth by professionals in the massage and bodywork industry. Considerations are made based on the level of training, experience and applied techniques. After being invited in for an interview, candidates must then exhibit their abilities through a “hands-on” demonstration, given to our owner, who is also a massage therapist (with very high standards!). We settle for nothing less than the best for our loyal clients. It is important to remember, however, that what feels good to one person may not feel good to another. A massage that was not ideal for you, might be someone else’s favorite, so be sure to let us know what it is you look for in a massage treatment – this way we can try our best to match you up with the appropriate therapist.

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Which massage technique do I need?

In order to help you decide which type of massage will be appropriate, you need to think about what your needs are. If you let our receptionist know what outcome you’re aiming for (relaxation, pain relief, de-stress, etc) when you call to book your appointment, it will help us to point you in the right direction. It is quite common for our therapists to utilize more than one technique in a bodywork session, in order to accomplish a particular goal for our clients – which is precisely why we charge for the time, not the technique.

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I’ve never had a massage before - what can I expect?

When you arrive for your massage treatment, you will first fill out a short intake form, which covers your medical history, physical complaints, and other pertinent information – so please be sure to arrive 10 minutes early on your first visit to allow time for this. It’s always a good idea to use the restroom beforehand, so you won’t have to interrupt your massage if the need should arise. A few minutes before your session, your therapist will greet you in the our comfortable waiting area, and escort you to your treatment room, where he/she will discuss with you any issues, questions or concerns you may have regarding your treatment. At this time, you should verbalize any specific treatment goals you may have, areas of focus, medical issues that might be contraindicated (not safe for massage), and any other pertinent information. You may simply want to tell your therapist, “I just want to relax”, and that’s fine too! After the verbal intake, the therapist will step out of the room and allow you privacy for disrobing and getting comfortable on the massage table. After a few minutes, your therapist will knock on the door; to be sure you are situated on the table, and covered with the sheet, before entering. Your therapist will only expose the area of the body being worked on, so that you will always feel safe and warm.

Since one of biggest effects of massage is an increase in circulation, we always suggest that you drink plenty of water for 12-24 hours following your treatment. This helps your body to flush out metabolic waste and fatigue toxins, which are normal byproducts of muscle contractions, but are also the culprit of some of your aches and pains. Massage gets them moving, and it’s your job to flush them out with plenty of water.

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Should I eat before or after my massage?

Remember when your mom used to make you wait an hour after eating before you could go swimming? She actually did have a valid point. Massage gets the blood flowing, which is a good thing. Your stomach and related organs require extra blood flow to aid in digestion; therefore it would not be ideal to have blood flowing in all other directions during that time. We recommend waiting at least 45 minutes after a meal before receiving massage, to allow your digestive system to function efficiently.

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What is an appropriate gratuity?

Generally speaking, in the service industry, 15% is the standard minimum. 20% shows you really appreciated the individualized attention. A gratuity is just that – a thank-you, if you will, for the care and effort that went into your treatment. Gratuities are not required, but our massage therapists do graciously appreciate them.

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Can I receive a massage if I am pregnant?

Absolutely!* Who better to receive a massage, than a woman whose been carrying around a baby in her “belly” all day. We have a team of therapists who specialize in pre- and post-natal massage, and are here for you whenever you need them. You will be positioned on the table in a side lying position, with lots of cozy pillows to support you. (We choose not to use the tables that have a hole cut out for the belly, because it puts a strain on the muscles of the lower back. Side lying is a much more natural position for the pregnant body). Pre-natal massage is an excellent way to relieve lower back pain, headaches, fluid retention, and help promote circulation and restful sleep.

*PLEASE NOTE: Always check with your doctor before scheduling a pre-natal massage appointment, to be sure you are cleared for massage. He/she might have reasons for your particular pregnancy to be approached with caution.

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I’ve just injured myself or am not feeling well.  Should I come in for a massage?

Any recent injury or illness should be examined by a medical professional, before massage is administered. Massage would not be appropriate if your injury or illness presents any of the following signs: severe pain, heat, redness, fever or swelling.

It is important to remember that colds, flues and the like are very contagious. Please do not come in for massage when you are sick. Think about receiving a massage from someone who is sniffling, sneezing, blowing their nose every 5 minutes…. There are times, of course, when you don’t yet realize you’re sick, and you receive a massage which then pushes that cold through a little faster. So don’t be surprised if your sniffles before your massage turn into a massive head cold that evening. Ahh…the miracles of bodywork. But seriously, if you’re aware that you are sick, it is not wise for you to receive massage. We will always extend that same courtesy to you if one of our therapists is sick – they are not permitted to touch others while contagious, so please do the same for your therapists.

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Do you bill insurance for massage treatments?

Most insurance companies these days cover acupuncture and chiropractic. Some will cover massage therapy if it is prescribed by a medical doctor or chiropractor in conjunction with ongoing physical therapy or chiropractic treatments. We cannot provide insurance forms for your massage unless you are worked on by one of our LMT‘s and you are referred by a doctor.

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How do you keep your prices so affordable?

While we put a great effort into providing a tranquil, spa-like atmosphere; we are in fact, not a spa. We have no sauna, steam room, wet room or Jacuzzi to jack up our overhead. Therefore, we are able to keep our costs down enough so that we can provide necessary holistic bodywork at prices everyone can afford.

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