How to Choose A Skilled Massage Therapist
I get asked this question a lot.
“How do I find somebody good?”
“I don’t live in the Bay Area. Can you recommend anyone?”
“How can I tell if someone knows what they’re doing?”
The world of massage therapy is still inconsistent. Some states regulate a lot, some a little. Even regulations won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll find what you’re looking for. So here are some questions to get you started. If you are looking for a wellness practitioner other than massage therapy, this tips will still apply.
Who do you know that appreciates massage therapy? Ask for a referral.
My practice has been built 100% on word of mouth, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A happy client is the best advertisement there is. When someone recommends me, he or she is putting her reputation on the line. People don’t just do that. If you ask someone you trust, they will think hard and give you a referral she feels good about.
Check with the professional organizations.
For Massage Therapy, they are the American Massage Therapy Association or the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Both maintain practitioner directories, and you can get specifics about what skills and modalities offered. Both organizations require continuing education, so you are assured that the therapist you choose to follow up about is committed to staying current. Even if you have a referral you trust, I suggest making sure that your potential therapist belongs to one of these.
Most, but not all healing disciplines these days have a professional organization. If the one you are considering does, look there after you’ve sought out a referral.
Do they give good phone?
When you speak with your prospective practitioner, do you feel listened to? Is the therapist curious about what made you decide to set an appointment? Does your potential therapist inspire confidence in her or her skills?
So, you’ve booked a massage. Is your therapist grounded and focused, or she late and distracted? That’s enough for me not to return right there.
How about the assessment? I am always startled when a Massage Therapist just plunks me on the table without asking me any questions. I want the person who is going to touch me to have some understanding about my body and it’s unique needs. If the therapist doesn’t bother to ask, I will volunteer to tell, and I won’t reschedule. A cookie cutter massage is fine one time, but I know I can do better, and I insist.
After the session, does your therapist re-assess? Do you leave with any instructions or insights?
Beware the flaky practitioner.
They come in all disciplines, including but definitely not limited to Massage Therapy. A flaky practitioner is someone who hasn’t absorbed yet that all of us are teaching what we need to learn, and that our healing work is our soul’s journey. The skilled therapists are aware that they must be committed to their own self care, and to show up for themselves and their clients.
If your therapist shows signs of being in La-La land, find another. I was supposed to receive from a therapist who had passed all the other criteria on my list, but then she no-showed. I wrote about that, and why therapists can be flaky, on my other blog, the Thriving Massage Therapist. If you yourself are a Massage Therapist, it’s worth a look. Awareness changes everything.
Now, go schedule yourself a massage! You deserve it. I’m going to schedule mine immediately.