Have you ever gone for a Massage with high hopes for relief, only to leave wondering why you just paid someone for doing nothing more than slathering oil all over your skin? This unfortunate experience is more widespread than you might think. You should never leave an appointment feeling frustrated and without having your therapeutic needs met. Here are 5 Tips to help you find the best Massage Therapist possible:
1) Listen to What Others are Saying / Read Reviews. Consumer reviews can be very honest and revealing about the quality of therapy provided. If there are multiple reviews of a Massage therapist and they all repeat a similar theme describing a collective experience of complete awesomeness........ believe it. Pay attention to the details that each reviewer shares. Fake reviews will be broad and general, not giving any unique insight about the actual therapy. But you will know a review is the the real thing when it goes into very specific depth. Yelp and Google+ are both excellent sources for authentic Massage Reviews.
2) Choose a Massage Therapist with Experience. It's a sad fact that the average career life of a massage therapist is about 5 years. And many only practice part time. This is not enough time to develop real skill and mastery. Therapists become great only through extensive experience. The more people they touch, the more sensitive and skilled they are likely to be. There are countless therapists, fresh out of school, potentially providing low quality service. Find out how long your therapist has been in practice and choose a Seasoned Pro.
3) Choose a State Certified Massage Therapist. Unfortunately, there are people practicing with no certification at all. Some work for low wages at those ubiquitous "Foot Spas." It might sound tempting at first because the price is cheaper. However, these places should really be viewed like the "Wal-Mart of Massage Providers". That is exactly the quality of therapy you will receive from an untrained therapist and the price reflects it. You cannot be certain that they have studied anatomy and physiology. And the massage may be quite painful and ineffective. A State Certified Therapist has to meet specific training & experience requirements. Ask questions before you book a session.
4) Choose a Therapist Trained in Advanced Modalities. When it comes to Massage, one size does not fit all! And a Swedish Massage alone is usually very ineffective and unsatisfying for most people. You need to find a therapist who can customize the session with a wide range of pressure and expanded therapeutic knowledge. Ask them what kind of pressure they can deliver and what techniques they are trained in. Minimum training / offerings should include some of these: Deep Tissue, Swedish, Acupressure, Myofascial Trigger Point Release and Energy Healing.
5) Choose a Therapist with a Large, Repeat Client Base. This is an area where size really does matter. How large a therapist's client base is speaks volumes. If someone is seeing 3 - 4 clients a day, 5 days a week and has a ton of repeat business, there is a good reason why: They are great enough to be in high demand! Ask your potential therapist how many people they see on average each week and what percentage are regulars.
Once you are lucky to have found a wonderful and effective Massage Therapist, stick with that person and give them your support. Know that the quality they deliver is truly rare and can be difficult to find. And always make sure to clearly communicate your needs in order to receive the type of healing you need the most. Enjoy!
Owner of Banyan Tree Healing Center in San Luis Obispo. Massage Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher, Intuitive Healer