8 Things You Need To Do Before You Get A Massage (Plus, a giveaway of 1-hour Massage Envy massage!)

I'm sure if we sat down and had ourselves a little contest in deciding what 8 things you need to do before you get a massage, the judge would have a hard time picking a winner. Your 8 things would very, very likely be better than my 8 things, but there would be no denying the importance of my 8 things either. No, ma'am! The difficulty in this type of massage-list-judging task is exactly why it is hard to find judges specializing in contests such as these.

These 8 things must be done to ensure you have a good massage-getting experience. What purpose would there be in getting a massage if you let these things go? Before I go any further, know that I got a massage this past Friday courtesy of Massage Envy and that is part of the inspiration of this post. Unbeknownst to Massage Envy, though, I happen to like blogging about massages almost as much as I like getting them. One of my more popular posts is "The Very Frisky Masseuse: Should I File Charges? Kidding. Kind of". Ever since that experience, I make sure my masseuse is a) female b) not going to stand on my back and c) not equipped with debilitating body odor.

Luckily, I didn't have to worry about that with Marie, my masseuse at Massage Envy.

(Get this. "Marie"'s name is actually "Kelley", spelled exactly the way I spell my name, but she has to go by "Marie" because a "Kelley" already works there. Apparently, it would be too hard to have two Kelleys working there, even if you used a last initial. It makes sense. Just think about it. What if you wanted Kelley P. but you got Kelley T.? Customers would become irate! Massage tables would get upended! Lavendar oils would get spilled! Warm towels would get thrown into the air! The scene would be way too chaotic, so, naturally, the middle name is the way to go. It's a good thing Marie's middle name isn't Erthline, a name I saw on a historical plaque this weekend.)

The 8 things?

#1 Check the face cushion. As soon as you enter your dimly lit room, get your eyes on that face cushion thing. Your masseuse will be shoving your face right into that in the next few minutes. If the hole that you are to breathe through is as big as a Smurf's zit, how are you going to have a relaxing experience? No one wants to have to thread a straw between their mouth and the other end of the face cushion thing just so no passing out occurs as your masseuse goes to town on your back muscles. I have been to places where they have it so cushiony on that part that I feel like requesting a ventilator with my Swedish massage. (My face cushion was perfect at Massage Envy. No straw or ventilator needed.)

#2 Shave your legs. This is going to have to happen before you check the face cushion, of course. I should have put this at number one. If you are checking the face cushion before you've shaved your legs, well, you're outta luck, missy. You're already there! The massage room does not come equipped with a razor and a bucket of warm, soapy water in the corner of it. That would be a good idea, though. A very good idea. Luckily, I had shaved my legs the day I got my massage. It wasn't on purpose, though. It was just one of those days when I looked down and said, "Legs, you have got to get shaved." It was just a coincidence that my massage was on the same day. I had completely forgotten!

#3 Check yo' toes. It might be winter. You might not be paying attention to your toes, but your masseuse will be. I have to say that I was stressing about this one. I had not given myself a Kelleycure beforehand (girlfriend doesn't fork it over to the nail salons right now). What if the polish was all chipped? What if this? What if that? As soon as that massage was over and she had left, I looked at my toes. They weren't that bad. This is what I tell myself.

#4 Make sure you have tip money ready. I never, ever, ever carry cash. Ask the people at the stoplights. They'll tell you. Let me take that back, I sometimes carry cash but then it all goes away. It seems so futile to carry it. If I had my own ATM machine, I would carry cash. I wouldn't have to exert much effort to get cash that goes away really fast, so it would seem worth it to carry it. Anyway, before a massage, make sure you get cash so you aren't going back to the Ice Ages and writing a check, like I had to do.

#5 Practice relaxing. Apparently, I'm not good at relaxing. I thought to relax, you just close your eyes and dream about Adam Levine brushing your hair. That must not have worked because I was told that I kept contracting my arm muscles up when I should have been relaxing them. WHY CAN'T I EVER BE GOOD AT ANYTHING? So, practice relaxing, but don't get so good at it that you fall asleep. I know people try to fall asleep during massages and I so don't get that. To me, that's like feeding money to an alpaca.

#6 Clean out your ears. I'm giving this advice to you because it may actually help you. A good ear washing may help your situation. For me, it doesn't matter. My embarrassing hearing loss has been thoroughly documented on this blog. My ears can be as clean as a vegan's cheese and dairy drawer and I still won't be able to hear jack squat. I think this may be one reason I can't relax sometimes. The masseuse says something very routine like, "You can turn over now" and I'm all "The massage is over now? You just started! This is ridiculous! You guys engage in false advertising then, because this hour massage lasted 20 minutes. I'M SO OUTTA HERE!" I never did say that, but Marie did say a few things here and there that I just didn't hear. I had to pop up my face-cushion imprinted face with a "Can you say that again, please?" a few times. If you don't want to risk straining your neck and making your masseuse want to roll your massage table out into the parking lot, clean out those ears.

#7 Practice undressing. Before you get yourself into a dimly lit massage room with these instructions, "Okay, go ahead and undress. I will be back in a few minutes. I will lightly tap on the door when I return", you must be prepared. If you are struggling for more than a half-second with the clasp on your *Wal-Mart slacks, Ms. Masseuse is going to round that corner and catch an eyeful of you mid-dressed. Mid-dressed is not a good look for most. If you are going to catch me mid-dressed, I'm going to need a ding dang second to make sure I've got my pants pulled up just so. You can't be barging in catching me with my pants all cockeyed hopping around on one foot. This is why you MUST practice getting undressed before you even get to the spa. Practice getting undressed FAST and then sliding underneath a sheet. Having the masseuse walk in while you are violently struggling to get all covered up is not going to start your session off right.

(*I bought some a couple of months ago. I knew that I needed some new dress pants before starting my new part-time job. I didn't want to buy a ton of really expensive ones, as I knew my size was changing. I took a chance with Wal-Mart. Besides the time that I got locked in by the clasp of those pants at Cracker Barrel for the better part of a year, those pants served me a well! Viva la Pants From Wal-Mart!*)

#8 Get in front of a mirror and practice your happy, grateful face. There is going to come a time during your massage when it is over. Sixty full minutes will pass by and you will be signaled or told that it is over. You cannot scrunch up your face like you just ate a lemon sandwich. You must show that you are a mature person that can accept bad news. Put that happy face on. Try your very best. Try your absolute darndest.

 I could, of course, go on with advice, but I will stop here (don't forget to bring a ponytail holder!). You are a smart (use the hooks on the back of the door so your bra doesn't fall onto the floor!) person and really don't need (earrings aren't basketballs! take them off before you get on the massage so you don't have to throw them across the room!) me to tell you anything else.

As I mentioned above, this post was graciously sponsored by Massage Envy (Thank you, Massage Envy, for that awesome massage!). All of this input and opinions and observations are, of course, all mine. Right now, they are offering a pretty awesome holiday special. If you buy two gift cards that total $150, you will receive a free one-hour massage. This offer is only valid at the 30 Houston area Massage Envy Spas. I guess you could buy a massage for a friend and then buy the other one for you. It would be like a buy one, get one free deal, plus a gift card. Or you could give both gift cards away. The gift cards can be used nationwide. Also, there are 14 Houston area Massage Envy Spas that offer Murad "healthy skin facials". I'm all about those facials. They are so, so relaxing! Massage Envy also offers packages where you can pay a monthly fee so that you can regularly receive massages and pay less than you would if you just received them sporadically.

Massage Envy wanted me to take a picture of myself there, but I missed that part about my face being in the picture. I did take these pictures, however! I asked the manager if she wanted to be in the picture but she declined. Her name was Kim, I believe, and she was super awesome. She was very friendly, knowledgeable about the facility, helpful and encouraging. She said I didn't look 38, but I think I might have seen her cross her fingers behind her back as she said it.

So, last thing, THE GIVEAWAY. I so wish that I could open the giveaway nationwide, but this is just a Houston deal going on. If you are interested in receiving a FREE ONE-HOUR MASSAGE, then all you need to do is comment below, like Massage Envy on Facebook and like Kelley's Break Room on Facebook, too. You can let me know that you have entered by leaving a comment below. If you leave a comment, I will assume that you have liked both pages.

If you would like an extra entry, share this giveaway on your Facebook page and come back to let me know in the comments.

If you'd like to follow them on Twitter, look for them at @MassageEnvyHou.

I will pick the winner using random.org in one week on Sunday night by 10 p.m. central!

*After this post went up yesterday, I was informed that the CORRECT term is not masseuse but licensed massage therapist. Please take note, class. The former is apparently associated with prostitution.

**A, ahem, LMT informed me that they don't care at all if you don't shave your legs. She massages men's legs, after all! She's been doing this for 10 years! She's sick of people saying that! She's fed up! So, go prickly with pride, if you wanna.
(If you had read my blog before, you may notice that I just got a Facebook commenting feature on my blog! Yay!! I'm really excited to try it out. Hopefully, this will encourage those of you who find it cumbersome to comment with other systems to comment using the Facebook feature. I had A LOT of people enter the last giveaway that I had by leaving Facebook comments. People love them some Facebook. I'm hoping that it will be just as easy to leave those comments using Facebook on this blog. You can definitely disable the feature where your comment shows up in your newsfeed by unclicking that box. I would love to hear more from the people who read the blog. I see you are there! I would love to hear from you, too!)