My own worst massage ever was the time I went to a local massage mill; at the time I was desperate for a massage. I had let my issues go on too long and I didn’t do my research as I had in the past. So I made an appointment with the first place that had availability. Big mistake!
When I arrived, the receptionist asked me to fill out an intake form. It had the usual questions about contact information, basic medical history, the reason for the visit etc. Okay, so far, so good. The establishment itself was huge and I had been led to a waiting area in the back to fill out my form. I was sure I wouldn’t find my way back to the front without someone to guide me out.
I knew I was in trouble when I was approached by my massage therapist; she looked like she hadn’t taken any steps between getting out of bed that morning and going to work that day, her appearance was not clean or neat (I care about professionalism, especially when that person is going to touch me). When I stepped inside the room, it was what appeared to be the couple’s massage room, too big and not cozy at all. She instructed me to get on the table and she would be back in a few minutes. At this point the she had not consulted with me about my intake form, if I had any medical issues she needed to be aware of, and most importantly; why I was there.
The room was blasting with AC, there were tiled floors and there was no table warmer. I was freezing. During the massage I was asked way too many personal questions and still none about the actual goal of the massage. The therapist talked about her long day and how she couldn’t wait for it to end … um ok. She didn’t check in with me to see how the pressure was, she barely spent anytime on my neck (my main concern). The pressure was that of petting a cat and she YAWNED, a lot, throughout the entire massage and didn’t even try to hide it. At this point I found myself more stressed than when I came in and I was screaming in my head “GET UP OFF THE TABLE AND JUST END THE DISASTER OF A MASSAGE!” I didn’t get up, I lay there angry and upset that I just wasted time and money for not doing my homework and I didn’t bother with communicating what I wanted because there were just too many things wrong with the massage session, the environment and the therapist. NEVER AGAIN. There is the good old adage “you get what you pay for.” Yes, my bad; I should have known that the $30 for an hour massage would be NO BUENO.
A Little Research Goes a Long Way
Throughout the years, I’ve needed to look for a new massage therapist for different reasons. Having gone through this already quite a few times, let me share some helpful tips to consider when looking for the right fit for you.
Consider these questions when looking for a massage therapist. What results are you looking for from your massage session? Stress relief, treatment of chronic pain, managing old injuries that continue to flare up, or maybe it’s just a simple as needing “you time” and want to relax. It may take you a few appointments with different therapists in order to find the right fit.
A referral from a friend or neighbor is always a good start. But another’s needs for a massage may be different than your need; ask them questions to determine if the referral is along the lines of what your looking for. Either way you’re going to use Google and look for more information on your referral, or you’re going to look for a massage therapist based on your needs. Are you looking for a male therapist, female or doesn’t matter? Does the establishment or office need to be close to work, close to home or in a neighborhood that you enjoy visiting?
Once you have some options, consider that a good massage starts before you walk in the door. Is it easy to book an appointment? Is the website up to date? Are they active on social media? Do they have a newsletter? What about a blog? Are they licensed and what certifications do they have? How long have they been a licensed massage therapist? Take a look at their reviews on FB or Google, but don’t use those reviews as the end all be all to your decision, use your judgment, sometimes there can be a disgruntled client or two. If you have questions call them or send them an email. Did they get back to you in a timely manner? Did they sound friendly and knowledgeable?
Great, you finally made your choice! But, there are still a few things to check off on the mental check list when you’re at your appointment. Is the massage space clean, well decorated, cozy, and relaxing? Is the restroom maintained? Did you fill out a form that asks about your medical history and did the therapist go over it with you? Did the therapist ask you questions about goals for your massage? How was your massage session? Did she/he communicate about the pressure? Were you able to relax? Did the therapist talk throughout your massage or give you quiet time? Some clients like to talk through the entire massage, and that’s ok; but other clients want to unwind and not talk. Here is where being a good therapist and reading a client is essential; a great therapist will always know that you want to talk or they will know that you want quiet. Here are a few more things to consider. Did your therapist go over the importance of regular massage? Do they offer series packages? Go over after-care and self-care tips?
Aaaah, your massage is over … so, how did it go? If it went well, rebook and continue your therapy sessions with your massage therapist. As time progresses your sessions will get better because not only will you be getting the benefits of regular massage, but the therapist will learn what your needs are when working regularly with you and your body!
To sum it up; be able to identify your goals, get some references, do your research, reach out to the therapist before making your appointment and ask questions via phone or email. Once you’re at your appointment, determine your comfort with the therapist, and the environment. Remember, if the therapist is good, s/he will learn your likes and your needs. Whether it’s the pressure of the massage or room/table temperature, talking or no talking, style of massage; a great therapist will adapt to your needs and know what you like.
Go ahead and book your next massage appointment now! We’ve made it easy you can book online at: www.IslandMassageOnline.com if you’re not tech savvy or just like to talk to a human, call us: 727-864-6688
Written by: Patricia Iorio, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Thai Yoga Practitioner. (MA64728) She has been spreading the power of touch for 12 + years and is now using the power of words to encourage massage and live a healthy lifestyle.