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Finding the right massage therapist for your needs

August 26th, 2009

I have worked on thousands of clients in my many years as a clinical sports massage therapist. I have often adopted a concentrated style to suit a clients individual needs. The type of clients that usually seek me out are looking for very specific integrated muscle work or deep tissue therapy. My style does not suit everyone looking for a massage. There are so many types of massage that I often feel as though I am learning a foreign language as I describe the various modalities:

Tui na, swedish, esalen, neuromuscular, orthobionomy, hot stone, craniosacral, lomi lomi, trigger point therapy and the list goes on for miles.

The key is to find a massage therapist with adequate professional training, that is ethical and specializes in the type of massage you are looking for.

Swedish is not deep tissue. Neuromuscular is not shiatsu. It is important to ask the establishment you are going to if the therapist specializes in certain modalities. Otherwise you are likely to get the same swedish massage no matter what you ask for! I have had this happen over and over again.

There are various websites that rates spas and therapists. I often use to help me make an intelligent choice for my needs. I ask my friends and I look for referrals when I can’t find adequate ratings on the internet.

Identify your goals and health status. The first thing you should do is set goals for the massage session(s). Are you interested in:

Reducing stress?

Reducing muscle contractions or tightness?

Living without chronic or acute pain?

Helping to relieve edema?

Enhancing your general health and well being?

Improving your ability to participate in sports?

Lastly, think about your price point. Do your homework. Do you want an hour massage or an hour and a half massage? Do you want a professional full body massage or do you want specific work done? Is it 50 minutes or 60 minutes? Can I buy a package and save some money? These are all practical questions you should ask yourself if you are not familiar with the massage industry.

Alas, dress down to your level of comfort. In a professional setting you should always be covered between two sheets or a towel and a bottom sheet. Some clients prefer to keep their undergarments on and others are more comfortable disrobing to the skin. Both ways are common practice so do your homework, make that phone call and remember to breathe, relax, and rejuvenate.

Good luck!

Dana Oppenheim, CMT

“Of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest.”

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