How to choose your Massage Therapist

So, now that you’ve seen some of the benefits of Massage Therapy, it’s time to find a Massage Therapist that suits your needs. All Massage Therapists should , in theory, be familiar with the basics of Massage Therapy, and that should make it easy to just pick one randomly and go there. However, this is not always the case — different therapists may specialise in different areas, some may be more experienced, et cetera, et cetera. So, here’s a handy guide on how to pick one for that first visit.

neck-shoulder_massageAre they certified? This is not the most important factor, as qualification and certification are two different things, but it is definitely worth checking out. A certified therapist has to go through different types of training in different techniques, as well as learn human anatomy to aid in his/her development. Certification, ideally, ensures that, at the very least, the Massage Therapist has some basic idea of what he/she is doing. However, when checking certification, you should also check the credibility of the certifying institute, as some are more thorough in their education process than others. This brings me to my next criterion.

Experience matters. This is the difference between qualification and certification. An individual may go to a formal school, learn within a spa or just be an apprentice to an experienced therapist and learn to become a Massage Therapist. Of those three options, only a formal school will certify the individual. What you want to find out is the therapist’s experience. This can be measured in years as a therapist, hours practicing his/her craft or number of clients he/she has worked with. The learning process is more practical here as the therapist is actively working with people who have problems and learning what treatments are better and how to tweak his/her technique for various individuals. Some schools give you that experience, while some are more theoretical. Either way, ask what types of massage the therapist does, how long he/she has been working with people, and anything else that may pertain to what you want out of the massage.

sports_massageFind out through word of mouth. This method is probably one of the biggest factors out there. Testimonials will tell you whether a Massage Therapist is just “rubbing you down” or actually providing real therapy. All Massage Therapy is real therapy, even when it is not focused on relaxing tense muscles or treating injuries. Swedish Massage helps relax the mind. Lymphatic Drainage helps to clear the body of toxins (which are transported by lymph). Of course there are Deep Tissue, Trigger point, Sports and a host of other types of massage that work on the muscles more directly. Whatever you’re looking for, ask around about whether the therapist you are interested in has done a good job in that area. Visit his/her website/social media page and look for testimonials. Ask the therapist directly for references from his/her past clients. Find out what people have to say.

Following these three tips should help you on your journey to a successful first-massage experience and, hopefully, a lasting and fruitful relationship with a talented and effective Massage Therapist. Good luck!

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