How to Choose: 5 Characteristics of a Good Massage Therapist
Do you hop from massage therapist to massage therapist or feel like you’ve tried them all but can’t settle on one? Maybe there’s a good reason! Finding a massage therapist who is the complete package can be challenging, and depending on what is important to you, may seem near impossible.
Since the benefits of sticking with one massage therapist are so great, consider using these five characteristics when assessing the quality of your massage therapist the next time you find yourself on the table.
Your massage therapist’s education will be important to you the second their hands come down on you on that massage table, so before you get that far, save yourself the time and money and do some research. These days, it is common to find most of the information you’ll need about your LMT’s background on their website. However, there are still a few tech-stragglers in this industry and also those who consciously choose not to advertise online. If this is the case with the massage therapist you are considering, it is in your interest to call or email them ahead of time to ask for more information about their training. Since it is possible to be injured by your therapist on the massage table, and it is absolutely possible to waste your money on a so-so massage. Don’t risk it!
Another assessment you can start to make before you climb on the massage table is the level of professionalism of your massage therapist. Does she have a website, and if so, is it well done and comprehensive? If there is no web site, is their correspondence with you professional – is it timely and official? If so, this indicates they recognize they are running a professional business and are interested in earning yours, which usually indicates you will receive good customer service all around. If not, they may not be a dedicated massage therapist or have too much else going on in their business or private life, which could indicate you will be chasing them around for appointments in the future. Save your energy! There are plenty of other massage therapists out there to choose from.
Atmosphere is an interesting assessment tool. Is the space easy to find, clean and comfortable? It should be! As a massage therapist who runs a private practice, your therapist is in charge of his or her own space. But even if your massage therapist works for a spa or chain, how the contribute (or detract) from the atmosphere matters, too. When you meet your massage therapist for the first time, are they calming and welcoming or frazzled and rushed? Do you feel like they are in charge and comfortable in their surroundings or just ready to get through the massage? Even if you don’t invest much belief in energetic bodywork, a massage therapist who is late to a session or uncomfortable in their surroundings can sure churn up some air. If this happens, take your time getting undressed and on the table to allow the massage therapist some time to settle down – massage therapists are people, too, and sometimes things happen. If the atmosphere doesn’t improve when your LMT returns, you may have a problem going forward. Your massage therapist should not only be able to control the atmosphere both physically and energetically but also recognize if they are contributing to the potential dysfunction. Skip the turbulence!
Your potential massage therapist’s mindfulness may show up in their professionalism and even more so in how the affect their atmosphere, but certainly when they begin talking with you about your session and then lay their hands on you, you should be able to tell if they are being thoughtful about what they are offering you. Do their hands come off you frequently only to reengage somewhere you weren’t anticipating? Did they address the areas and concerns you asked them to? Was anything about the session rushed – do you feel rushed even just lying there on the table? Whether your LMT’s strokes feel jumpy or if you catch yourself feeling jumpy, this is usually an indicator your massage therapist is not truly “plugged in” to what he or she is doing and how your body is responding to their work. Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools a massage therapist has in this line of work.
If the whole session feels “off,” unplug! Look for a massage therapist who can stay connected to what is going on in front of them. The quality of work from a “plugged in” massage therapist is worth it.
In some ways, consistency is the most telling characteristic of a good massage therapist. A massage therapist who is continually well-trained, always professional, who has your room ready and makes you feel comfortable and who regularly mindful of their work and your body’s response to it is a good massage therapist. Yes, every massage therapist runs late once, has an “off day” or a massage session that doesn’t quite turn out how they’d like it to, but if you are considering each of these five characteristics when assessing them, you’ll be able to tell if your massage therapist is dealing with a chronic issue or a one-off disaster.
Good luck on your good massage therapist hunt! Remember, if you find a good one, sick with them! Seeing the same massage therapist regularly has huge benefits , and that, in and of itself, will lead to a more satisfying massage experience for you all around.