When you have work done on your body, you want to have the best. A qualified massage therapist has the ability to significantly reduce pain and stress and increase your sense of wellbeing. But not everyone is expert at massage. There are many factors involved that should be considered when choosing a massage therapist, some of which we examine here.
First of all, you want to find a massage therapist who has been adequately trained in their field. Massage therapy is regulated in most states, and each state usually requires either a license or certificate in order for someone to practice. Most massage therapists have completed a course of postsecondary education that requires at least 500 hours of study and experience before becoming licensed or certified. There are currently over 350 accredited massage therapy programs in the US.
However, not everyone with a license or certificate makes a good massage therapist. The other factors you should take into consideration include the following:
Proper Attitude — This might also be called “bed-side manner.” A therapist who is condescending, impatient, impolite, arrogant or rushed will not make their client feel very good about the experience. The proper attitude will include a strong sense of empathy with the client.
Excellent Communication Skills — A massage therapist needs to be able to listen actively and to respond properly. They will check with you periodically to be sure they are not causing you undue pain, or if their touch is too hard or soft for your taste. A good therapist will adjust their treatment to suit your particular needs.
Broad Massage Knowledge — An expert massage therapist should be familiar with most, if not all, of the massage techniques available, even if they themselves specialize in only a few. Each technique has its own strengths and drawbacks. Not every technique is appropriate in every situation.
Advanced Knowledge of Human Anatomy and Physiology — Knowing how muscles connect and where each muscle extends helps the therapist figure out what is causing the pain a client might feel, if it is entirely muscular. A massage therapist who also understands chiropractic science will have a greater appreciation for how the body works and how to alleviate problems of discomfort and pain no matter what their source. In fact, many massage therapists work with chiropractors for the greatest possible health benefit.
Love of Their Work—A massage therapist should love what they do. If not, then the client will suffer. At best, the client may not get the results he or she is looking for. At worst, the massage could create more pain than the client had when they came in. When someone loves what they do, it comes across as an extra measure of confidence. That love will compel the therapist to learn all they can to provide the best possible experience for each client. That love will also translate into extra tender loving care for each client, making them feel pampered.
Massage therapy—sometimes referred to as “therapeutic massage”—provides a wide range of health benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about what massage therapy can do for you, we encourage you to call or visit our office!