Face Up Or Face Down?

face up or face down

The Usual Experience

For almost every massage I’ve had in my life, I’ve started face down. I didn’t have much of an opinion about it for a while, but then I went to massage school. KeKino Massage Academy is where I received my training. They taught us to start with clients face up.

Their reasons/theory for doing so are outlined in a short paper they handed out to students. I read over it again today, thinking I’d explain it all, but decided I’d just boil it down in an effort to keep it simple. (And because I’m tired, lol.)

The Reason Why

The bottom line is that, because the largest muscles are on the posterior side (think of back, legs and hips), the most relaxing part of the massage is when you are face down. The reasons the posterior massage, while on your stomach, is more relaxing, has to do, in part, with more venous and lymphatic drainage.

But here is the problem if you start face down….

If you start on your stomach, after that deep relaxation from the work on your posterior side, you have to flip over to your back for the rest of the massage. As you flip over, you will almost certainly open your eyes. This makes your “fight or flight” responses increase, which is not very relaxing. In other words, when you start out on your stomach, the deepest relaxation of the massage is interrupted by flipping over. 

But if you start face up….

If you start on your back, you will still open your eyes to flip over, but the theory is that it isn’t nearly as stimulating to your nervous system to go from face up to face down as it is to go from face down to face up. 

When you start on your back, the most relaxing part of the massage will be the second half of the massage. Starting on your back, you will be more gradually led into relaxation than if you had started on your stomach. In addition, the paper claims that the overall relaxation effect for the entire massage is greater if you start on your back.

Having said all this, I, personally, prefer to start out on my back when receiving a massage. Some of my clients prefer to start out on their stomachs for various reasons. And, if you have read these emails before, you know what I’m about to say….

If you’d rather start on your stomach, that is just fine with me. Just be sure to ask. I promise I won’t take offense.

I hope that helps explain why I usually start with clients face up. Do you like that approach? Feel free to reply to this email and let me know.

Want to book a massage?

You can continue to book your next massage on my website, as always. If you are a new client or want a particular time that doesn’t seem to be available, please text/call 972.813.9083. Remember, just because you don’t see the time you want doesn’t mean it isn’t available.