Talking During a Massage - do you or don't you?
Talking or not talking during a massage is your choice, both are perfectly normal, and you can change your mind.
If you like silence, and/or if quietude helps you tune into your experience more fully, or if you just don't feel like saying anything it is perfectly appropriate to spend your whole massage without saying a word. You may even request during the intake that there be no talking at all during any massage, so that you may completely immerse yourself in the massage and connect with your body and mind.
Conversely, if you find yourself telling your new massage therapist about your damaging childhood experiences, the names of your kids and what you do on the weekends, this is also totally ok. Massage therapists aren't there to judge you or to give you life advice (scope of practice!). We're there to listen if you have something to say, and to support your silence if you want it. We're there to be compassionate listeners, allies, and conduits of positive vibes. Massage therapy can be a way to process through your body what life has thrown at you, and to leave on the table a part of what you no longer wish to carry. Ideally you get up from your massage feeling relaxed and refreshed, not put upon, worn out and distracted by too much conversation; not discounted or ignored.
In an effort to build trust and forge a connection, which is why some of us are LMTs, a massage therapist might also share something of themselves with a client during the course of a conversation, especially if and when a client has asked a direct question, as in, "So do you have siblings?" This can be a controversial issue amongst LMTs. More on that in another post, but suffice it to say for this post, that if an LMT wishes to reciprocate with a client, the trick - as always - is knowing when to stop talking. This is, after all, the client's time, not the practitioner's.
However, if you find that a massage therapist - and I have certainly been guilty of this myself - is talking too much, there are several ways to deal with this. You can ask outright that there be no more talking; you can sort of trail off to indicate that now you would like some quiet time; you may decide to simply stop responding to what your LMT is saying; and lastly for this list, you can say something, and then add, "Ok, I'm not going to talk anymore, I want to focus on the massage." This last approach is good for people who are less comfortable directly asking their therapist to be quiet and puts the focus on their own choice not to talk, while getting the point across without directly implying that their motor mouth therapist needs to dial back the word count.
Whatever you choose to do, share or not share, know that your time is valuable, and only lasts an hour or a bit more. So decide for yourself how you want to spend the time you've carved out for yourself, and do not for one minute feel guilty about asking for what you want.