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Massages can be an intense and personal experience, in which there is an unusual amount of personal connection and physical contact compared to many other professions. For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that you choose the best massage therapist you can, and find one that you connect with and can relate to well. This will ensure that you have the most comfortable, relaxing, and enriching experience possible, leading to an overall healthier and happier life.
Finding the Right Massage Therapist
Determine why you want a massage
There are two main categories of people who are interested in massage: those with ailments and health issues that massages can alleviate, and those just looking to relax more deeply than usual. If you’ve suffered an injury like a pulled ligament or muscle strain, a massage therapist with a background in physiology would be an excellent choice.
If you are looking for real, tangible health improvements from a massage, then it’s worth shopping around to find a massage therapist who has a little more knowledge of human anatomy, more qualifications, and has studied the health benefits of massage therapy closely. However, since these specialists can often cost more, if you’re just looking for a better way to relax then you can focus more on an interpersonal connection, and what they offer like hot rocks, soothing oils, and aromatherapy instead.
Determine what type of massage you are looking for
There are plenty of different types of massages to choose from, with some of the most common being:
Likely the most popular type of massage in the world, Swedish massages use long, gentle presses and kneading to enhance blood flow and relax the muscles.
Deep tissue massage
Similar to Swedish massage, deep tissue massage takes it a step further and can be more intense, making it ideal for athletes or those suffering from chronic pain.
This type of massage comes from the ancient Eastern cultures of China and Japan, utilizing a series of pressure points and acupuncture techniques to enhance the body’s energy flow, known as “Qi”. Finding the right massage type for you will depend on your individual preferences and goals for the treatment.
Determine your massage preferences
This step largely depends on your personal comfort and preferences. Mostly, it will be about set and setting of the massage, such as:
- Do you want a massage at your home, an office, or elsewhere?
- What type of lighting do you prefer?
- What will you wear during the massage?
- What time of day will the massage be?
Try and determine these factors before talking to a potential massage therapist, as it will help you find one that works well for you more efficiently.
Ask about their qualifications
One important step to take is to make sure that your massage therapist is fully qualified and certified in your locality to perform massages. This will help make sure that you have a professional experience that leaves you feeling better than before. Some things to ask are:
- Are they licensed or certified to be a massage therapist?
- How long have they been doing massage therapy?
- What types of massage do they specialize in?
- Are they involved with any type of continuing education for massage?
Set up a pre-massage consultation
While some massage therapists might do this immediately before the first massage, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting before any actual massages happen so you can get a feel for each other. If you’re looking for health benefits, this might include a brief discussion of your medical history, diagnoses, or what you are looking to get out of the therapy. Communicating well is key, as well as setting up an actionable plan for improvement and goals you hope to meet during the therapy.
Set up specifics
Now, you’re ready to go! It’s time to book a date, place, and time, and make sure the cost is within your price range. Things to consider are:
- Are there any hidden fees you should know about?
- How long will the session be?
- Are these services covered by your health insurance?
- What clothes or other materials should you bring?
- If you’re doing massage therapy for an injury, do you need to bring any paperwork from the doctor?
Once you’ve done this, there’s not much left for you to do except sit back, relax, and let them work their magic! Massages are a tremendous way to enhance your health that have been used for at least 5,000 years. From ancient India to Julius Caesar, massage therapy has a storied and proud tradition of helping people achieve the highest level of health and vitality possible.
The proven and tangible health benefits of massage therapy are manifold, with far-reaching effects on your muscles, cardiovascular system, mental health, and more. Make this ancient and well-understood practice work for you, and take these steps to find the right massage therapist today.