Massage therapy is in what I would consider, a revival stage. Although its therapeutic value is undeniable, the general public is again realizing the value of massage as a potent, natural medicine. Massage had previously been associated with luxury and used by those with disposable income. Now, massage is being sought out by all for injury prevention, rehabilitation, pain management, stress relief, and more.
Though massage can be beneficial, the massage therapist must be skilled in order to provide an effective treatment. Otherwise, the client may end up with nothing more than a rub down with oil and a one hour nap. Therefore, choosing a massage therapist should be done carefully. A few things to be mindful of when choosing a massage practitioner or therapist:
1. The client should be comfortable with the therapist. Many clients feel that a massage is just a massage, no matter who is on the giving end. This is not true. A more effective treatment is possible, when both parties are comfortable. If the client feels uncomfortable during the massage session, the treatment is producing the opposite result. It is imperative that the client be able to relax while being massaged.
2. The needs of the client and the therapy of the massage practitioner should match. The massage patient looking for pain management should be looking for a therapist that works with pain. An individual looking for massage for injury rehabilitation should identify a massage therapist that works with trauma and injuries. There are different specialties of massage therapy and matching the treatment desired to the massage therapist is important to achieving a successful massage session. Many massage therapists will list the styles of bodywork they specialize in along with their credentials. Checking the skills of the therapist before a visit will reduce the chance of undesired treatments.
3. The knowledge and skills of the practitioner is very important. A massage therapist should be able to name most, if not all, of the aching muscles in the client’s body. Ideally, the therapist should know the origin and attachments of the major muscles to bones. Treating the human body correctly through massage requires an understanding of the structure and function of the anatomical parts. Along with the theoretical knowledge of the human body, a therapist should also have the massage techniques to apply a course of treatment. This is more important when dealing with injury, rehabilitation, or sports massage. Theory without proper application is as fruitless as application without understanding.
4. Working with the same massage therapist can eventually lead to a more customized, effective treatment. When a massage therapist is working on a client, he/she is learning about that person’s body. After a couple of sessions with the same client, the massage practitioner begins to understand where the aches and pains are typically located on the client. This understanding through repetition allows the therapist to gain knowledge about the client’s body and what techniques are most effective for the particular person.
5. The least expensive massage usually has the lowest quality. There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for. The same holds true for massage therapy. There are many massage offices providing cheap massages using less-skilled therapists. These offices provide a way to give treatment to those who cannot afford to pay higher prices. There are also massage offices providing expensive massages with all of the bells and whistles that come with pampered care. This spa-type establishment caters toward a more affluent clientele. This does not mean that the more expensive treatment is always better. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. The truth is that there is a market for both types of massage services. Though, one must pay closer attention to the massage therapists rather than the massage establishment. A suggestion would be to shop around and experience the different types of massage offices and spas available in the local area. That way, the client is more apt to separating the good from the bad, and more suited to finding the perfect massage therapist for them.