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Massage therapy is becoming recognized by other health care professionals as viable source of treatment for stress and chronic pain management. It is a holistic approach that will improve an individual’s health and well-being. Now that you have decided to try massage therapy; you need to make an informed decision as to what type of establishment and who would best suit your needs. Movement 101┬áhas some nice tips on this.

First, you must decide what type of massage therapy office you want. Will you be comfortable going to a “spa” that provides a lot of frills and extra’s. These establishments are alright, but you will probably have additional charges for the extras; or the extras will be “built in” to the price of the massage. This is nice, and preferred by some people because they like to be pampered. The other side of the coin is a professional massage therapy office. These establishments are usually simple in design, clean, and comfortable. Anyone will feel at ease when entering one of these establishments. A benefit of a professional massage therapy office is the services are priced lower, because the office has a lower overhead compared to Day Spas.

The massage establishment has been chosen, now you have to choose a therapist. The first thing to consider is will you be more comfortable with a male or female therapist. This is strictly a personal preference, but it can limit your choice of massage establishments. Not all places will have both male and female therapists available.

After deciding on the preferred gender of your therapist; now it’s time to do some research. First, ask friends, family, and co-workers if they can recommend a good therapist. These personal referrals are some of your best starting points; but keep in mind, massage is very personal and what one person likes another may not like.

Most states require licensure for massage therapists. Check your states laws, if it is required, then make sure the therapist you choose is licensed. You can also easily check if the therapist has had any complaints lodged against them through the state massage board.

Meet your therapist. This can be done in person (the preferred method) or you can talk to him/her over the phone. Ask as many questions as you feel necessary. Asking how long they have been practicing is ok, but a better question is to ask how many massages the therapist has performed. Now don’t expect an exact number, but a ballpark figure will suffice. The reason for asking this question, in this manner, is some therapists do more massages than other therapists. A therapist who has only been in practice for a year may have more actual hands on experience than someone who has been in practice for 2 or 3 years.

Professional massage therapy is an intimate form of holistic medicine. There will be some things can not be asked; they have to be felt intuitively. Do you feel a connection with the therapist you have chosen? Does the therapist exhibit confidence in himself/ herself? Do you feel comfortable with the therapist? It doesn’t matter what credentials the therapist has, if you don’t feel comfortable, you will not be able to relax during your session. The client/ therapist relationship is similar to patient/ doctor relationships. They are built on trust.

After your massage therapy session you should evaluate your experience. Did the therapist treat you as you expected? Did you feel comfortable during the massage? Was it a positive experience? Would you recommend the therapist? If you answered yes to these questions, you should relay your feelings to your therapist. This can be done by leaving a gratuity, booking another appointment, or leaving a written testimonial/ thank you note. Choosing a massage therapist should not be taken lightly. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Trust your intuition above all else. Communication between you and your massage therapist should be open and free. A good professional massage therapist will meet your needs, make you feel comfortable, and treat you with respect.