It's one of life's most indulgent yet necessary treats, helping us feel de-stressed and relaxed while also loosening tightened muscles that can cause discomfort and long-term pain. Professional massages don't come cheap, though, so make sure you make the most of the experience…
* Arrive early - both to allow yourself time to calm down after what might have been a stressful journey, and because you'll need to fill in forms about your health that will otherwise eat into your massage time.
* Think about any problem areas beforehand so you can ask your therapist to concentrate on, say, shoulders that become tense and painful from being hunched up over a desk at work. He or she will also need to know what pressure you're comfortable with.
* Therapists often include a scalp massage as part of the treatment, but if you're going out afterwards, tell them at the beginning that you'd like them to steer clear of the neck upwards or you'll end up with oil in your hair that will ruin your hairstyle.
* You need to take your bra off so the therapist can get to your back and shoulders, but you can keep pants on if you prefer. Ask your therapist for a disposable pair to protect your modesty.
* Drink plenty of water afterwards to help remove toxins from the body that will have been set in motion by the massage. And try not to bathe that day to allow aromatherapy oils to have maximum effect.