How To Choose A Massage Therapist
Finding a massage therapist who meets your needs can be challenging. It’s probably easier to find someone to date…then again, it’s probably a tie…although you’ll end up undressed with one of them! Ha ha ha!
When I was shopping around for someone to work on me, I thought I could take someone who had very little experience and teach him/her how to give me MY massage. No such luck!
However, that experience did make me appreciate my special gifts and talents, and I am quite certain there are many other talented therapists who have special gifts to offer…just like there is probably a Super Hero man waiting to date me – OK, that last part is not really true.
These criteria are listed in order of importance.
The therapist should LISTEN and RESPOND to your needs and requests. When I first see a client, I ask if there is an area where I should focus, and that’s where I start, or I’ll have a reason for starting somewhere else and explain that reason. If your area of focus is “legs, especially quads,” and the therapist asks you to lie face down and begins with your back, that is someone who is just getting through his/her “routine” massage and likely didn’t hear what you said. STRIKE 1.
There should be a connection, relatedness, and intuition. It’s like the elusive “chemistry” when dating – a spark. It’s a little extra something that makes you say “Wow.” The intuition on the therapist’s part is another form of listening and responding. Personality and zip are important to me too. Keep in mind that there is energy exchange taking place, so if there is “negativity” or “drippiness” in your therapist, you’re probably going to receive a little bit of that. One of my regulars, whom I visited while he was receiving home hospice before he died, told me that he wanted me there so he could be surrounded by my personality and my energy…I was a dying man’s request…his piece of peace. That is the greatest compliment I have ever received. I cherish those words.
Education and experience. If you’re having deep tissue/injury work done, you really want to have someone who has some experience and really knows what he/she is doing. If the first items are in place (listening, responding, and intuition), then you’re off to a good start.
There are many styles and techniques used in massage, and each therapist will put his/her spin on them. It’s a dance, and it’s as unique as the dancer. I prefer to use hands and prefer that hands are used on me. If I wanted a forearm to plow up my back, I’d use a foam roller! Not all therapists have the strength or endurance in their hands to do what I do, but not all of my clients are linebackers for the Cardinals either. Also, if the therapist specializes in energy work, that’s not where I am going for deep tissue/injury work. I go there for chakra realignment or Reiki.
Going back to the “dance” reference, tempo and rhythm are very important, and so is music selection. Some therapists rush and make very quick movements throughout the massage. Others move very slowly, like me. Spacy spa music doesn’t do it for me. However, some therapists do not have control of the music. I like real music with real instruments, and that’s what I provide. I do take requests also. One of my regulars asked if I get tired of hearing the same music. I said, “No.” He said, “Well you can play whatever music you want when I come in.” He sees me a lot, so I asked him if HE was sick of the music. He said, “No. I’m just looking out for YOU. If I had to listen to that 9 hours a day, I would take my head off.” I gave him a new playlist the last time he came in, and we had a great time. I wanted to see if he knew Prince – he named “Purple Rain” in less than 3 notes!
I value a professional who “walks the walk,” and this is a profession of facilitating healing, so I have some standards and expectations. If my therapist was outside smoking, I would leave. I expect my advisor to practice the directives he/she imparts upon others…not to perfection…but to own the process at least.
There is always the question of male versus female. Honestly, it shouldn’t make any difference. That’s a matter of a personal preference and comfort level.
The bottom line is ~ Who communicates well with you? Who makes you feel comfortable? Where can you relax and give yourself a healing space? Who is going to give you a little slice of heaven for an hour and a half? Who is going to coach your body to healing?
Good luck with your search.
~The Goddess of Healing